When we think about where fine wines are created, many places come to mind. We might imagine France or Germany, Italy or the United States. If, however, you didn”t think of Chile, think again. Chile has been producing wine for more than four centuries.

Over the past few years, Chilean wines have gained worldwide attention. In addition to winning 67 medals for export wines in 1999, recent studies suggest that wines from Chile have higher levels of flavanol than any other wines in the world. Flavanol is a natural anti-oxidant that is important to health. This gives health-conscious wine lovers around the world another reason to enjoy wines from Chile.

Chile: The Right Climate for Excellent Wines

With warm temperatures, long, dry summers and excellent soil, wine grapes thrive in Chile. Wine-growing regions can be found along the west coast and throughout many inland areas. You can find Chilean vineyards in:

  • Aconcagua
  • Bio Bio
  • Casablanca
  • Chimbarongo
  • Curico
  • Maipo
  • Maule
  • Panquehue
  • Rapel.

Many of the popular wine grapes grown in California are also grown in Chile. The grapes most commonly grown in Chilean vineyards are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot/Carmenere
  • Pinot Noir
  • Sauvignon Blanc.

The White Wines of Chile

For those who enjoy a good white wine, Chilean Chardonnay is sure to please. This wine has a rich flavor with added tones of tropical fruit and citrus.

The Sauvignon Blanc wines of Chile are refreshing and zesty. While many are made from the pure Sauvignon Blanc grape, some add Sauvignonasse or Sauvignon Vert grapes to their recipe. The Casablanca Valley is well-known for its fine Sauvignon Blanc.

Chilean Red Wines

Many red wine enthusiasts enjoy the bold taste of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has a complex flavor with intense black currant.

Many red wine lovers find Chilean Pinot Noir perfect. These wines have a silky-smooth, sweet taste with a berry flavor.

Chilean Merlot/Carmenere wines have something for almost everyone. There are fruity, youthful varieties as well as more mature wines that have complexity and a smoky, earthy and robust taste.

Chilean Wines: A Great Value, at Least for Now

Chilean wine, with its characteristic balance of fragrant fruits and acidity, is one of the best values for your wine dollar. You can purchase most wines from Chile for less than $20 per bottle.

With the growing popularity of Chilean wines, however, the prices have been steadily rising. The time to enjoy this world-class wine at bargain prices may be limited.

Chilean Wineries

If you are traveling in South America, you might want to consider visiting one or more of the many beautiful Chilean wineries. Chilean wineries offer natural beauty, as well as history.

While the wine-touring industry in Chile is booming, if you plan to see a winery during a trip to Chile, always contact the management ahead of time to be sure that visits are permitted and tours are available.