I constantly get asked how does this or that Chilean wines tastes like. And how does the Cabernet Sauvignon differ from the French or the Aussie ones? What is Carmenere? Carmenere is similar to what other grapes? Chilean wines nice meh? Hahahaha…… I for one love Chilean wines. Here are few fun and interesting facts that I would like to share with you about them.
Photo by: smithsonianmag.com
The first Vineyard in Chile was established by Spanish missionaries during the 16th century. But it was the French that greatly impacted the Chilean wine industry. For example, the Carmenere is the national grape of Chilean wine, a varietal that was born in France Bordeaux region and thought to have died in France during the Great French Wine Blight in 1857, which wiped out most of the wine grapes. Carmenere was thought to have extinct and luckily right before the Blight, a few Carmenere cuttings were exported to Chile and they grew them in Santiago, where it flourished.
Traditionally, Carmenere was used for blending and initially was mistaken as Merlot and its identity was revealed by a French oenologist. Chilean wine makers soon discovered the beauty of this varietal and started creating single varietal labels. What I love about Carmenere is the peppery and spicy flavour and sometimes it might come with hints of spiciness. It also can be fruity with cherry and blackberry. Very nice to have with Vaddai I tell you!
While Carmenere is Chile’s national grape, the most grown varietal is Cabernet Sauvignon and some of the world most famous Chilean wines have been cabernet sauvignon, especially from Maipo Valley. During the 19th century due to the Blight, many of unemployed French wine makers moved to Chile bringing different wine varietals and their knowledge of wine making to Chile. Most of the grapes were brought from France like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere with heavy influence from Bordeaux region. So, I must say, some of them do taste quite like a French Cab Sau! But they’re much bigger (if you like kau kau wine) and French are more elegant.
Map by: Wine Folly
Chilean main wine regions are situated close to the sea and at low altitude. Well protected from the costal range mountains and receives constant supply of water from the snow that melts from the Andes. And due to this I find them to have one of the most delicious white wines and I especially love Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which comes with a hint of saltiness that they get from the breeze from the sea. So, if you ask me how Chilean whites’ tastes like……it’s like the Sea!
Again, do not take my word for it. Be open to try all!!
Hey! Covid numbers are getting seriously high. Order online and get all these different varietals from different labels. Be adventurous and try them from the safety of your own home!
Till I see you again, stay home, stay safe, drink more wine!