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Published on February 22, 2023.

Explore Chilean Wine

High-quality variety and grapes. Something for everyone. 

There is a deep-rooted history in the conquest of Chile that brought European Vitis Vinifera to their country. Ferdinand Magellan first landed on the shores of Chile in 1520, and was closely followed by Spanish conquistadors and missionaries. They were coming from Peru, earlier conquered in 1532, in search of precious metals such as gold and silver. However, it was Francisco de Aguirre that planted the first vines of the ‘common black grape’ in Chilean soil. 

The country’s dry, warm climate with plentiful irrigation water has seen the continued growth of these vines over the centuries. Entering the 21st century, Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, adopting modern viticulture and vinification techniques. Chilean climate is strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, with the cooling breeze of the Antarctic Humboldt Current in the west and the mountainous region of the Andes to the east. This results in three key regions: the cooler coastal regions, the warm interior Central Valley and the warm, high vineyards of the Andean foothills. 


The coastal region is developing a reputation for fine Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, the Andean foothills for full-bodied, high-quality Cabernets and Carmenères, and the Central Valley for simple to premium quality highly drinkable wines. All wines are created with pure fruit aromatics that are lifted and bright; from simple, easy drinking wines to fine wines with depth and complexity

“Purity of fruit, accessibility and value at all quality points are the key attributes of Chilean wines and, fortunately for wine drinkers, the Chilean wine industry keeps developing and exploring new regions. The Sheridan Coopers portfolio is home to some fantastic offerings from the country and they over deliver at their price point. I would like to introduce you to four of my favourites, which stand out from the rest.

Firstly, if you are looking for a great value Sauvignon Blanc you need search no further than the Alameda Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has that typical fresh green fruit beloved by so many drinkers and then a fresh, clean palate that sings with grass, gooseberry and tropical fruits. The fruit is sourced from the central valley region of Chile, a viticultural paradise of a warm climate with irrigation from the snow melt of the Andes, allowing a steady ripening of the grapes whilst maintaining quality focused yields. A great wine to drink by the glass and at a terrific price point.

The next wine to focus on is the Vistamar Sepia Reserva Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is my favourite red grape because it offers a weight of fruit way above the weight of the body. Again, plenty of flavour on a supple, caressing palate. Pinot Noir needs a cool climate to do really well and the Vistamar vineyards are to be found in the Casablanca region, famed for the cooling breezes coming of the Pacific Ocean. In this environment, the Pinot fruit ripens slowly developing red cherry, raspberry and Kirsche notes with supple light tannins. The winemaking preserves these delicious fruits resulting in a smooth, red fruited wine with a touch of sensual spice. Again. Plenty of flavour in a most accessible drink. Great by the glass and a fantastic partner for spicy foods.

As well as delivering entry level wines, Chile has gained a reputation for premium quality. The next two wines really show the direction of travel for the premium focussed producers. The Tabali Viognier Gran Reserve comes from the northern vineyards of Limari, just south of the Atacama Desert. Altitude helps to moderate the climate and limestone soils assist in keeping the wine fresh. The wine delivers a nose of fresh apricots, tropical fruits and honeysuckle whilst the palate is rich, smooth and voluptuous, yet cut by a lemon freshness. The wine is a classic partner of scallops, chicken and monkfish but will match any rich white meat dish. 

Last, but not least, is the biodynamic Odfjell Orzada Carignan made from 80-year-old vines grown in the southerly region of Maule. The Carignan vines were neglected during the 1990s and 2000s in favour of the more classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but have now been re-discovered as a vinous treasure. Whilst their robust and rich nature will not be enjoyed by all, those looking to explore big, rich, ripe reds of depth and length will adore this wine. Sometimes, wine is not about playing safe but about exploration and adventure; this wine has both in spades. A great partner for red meats and hearty dishes it makes a great addition to any quality seeking wine list.”

Clive Barlow, Master of Wine

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About the author

Chloe Lewis

Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine. 

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