There are so many wines out there from so many different parts of the world, that if you’re not a wine expert, you probably have no idea about the little things that make each country’s wine special. In an effort to help you make more educated choices at the wine shop, we wanted to hone in on one specific country for today: Chile.
Wine came to Chile in the 1500’s when conquistadors and missionaries brought vines to produce wine. It wasn’t until the late 1700’s that wine exports really picked up and made them a worthy competitor with other European wines. Then in the 1800s, production rates boosted when it was the only country in the entire world whose vineyards were unaffected by phylloxera louse, a bug that eats grape vines. The phylloxera destroyed most vineyards in Europe and put Chilean wine on the map.
When you’re searching for a Chilean bottle, don’t be surprised by the small variety. Chile is known for only a handful of wine varietals. Their white wines are fresh and fruity and mostly Sauvignon Blancs with some Chardonnay. The red wines are fruity, spicy and bold and include mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère. Different from wines of Europe, Chilean wines have a distinct flavor that is definitely worth a try.
Today, Chile has a reputation for producing good, inexpensive wine. You probably wouldn’t show up to a super classy dinner party with a bottle of Chilean wine, but for a low-key night with a few close friends, a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc would definitely fit the bill.