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Tasting notes of Chilean wines

(Notes are arranged in alphabetical order by producer. Prices and stockists in the UK are listed in brackets; as a rough guide £1 = US$1.70. Date of tasting is indicated at the end of each note as month/year)

see also: 

Viñedo Chadwick 2006 Maipo, Chile 
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Smooth, elegant, pure focused blackcurrant fruit nose is ripe, lush and pure. The palate is dense with lush blackcurrant fruit. Nice complexity, but still distinctly Chilean. 91/100 05/09

Viñedo Chadwick 2005 Maipo, Chile 
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Very sweet lush blackcurrant fruit nose is ripe, forward and very Chilean. The palate shows attractive, accessible ripe fruit with a bit of spicy structure. But it’s in a distinctly Chilean style. Forward, focused, tasty. 90/100 05/09

Don Maximiano Reserve 2005 Aconcagua, Chile
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Sweet, lush, blackcurrant fruit nose is quite creamy and ripe with a hint of mint. Very Chilean. There’s a nice savoury olive-like character, though. The palate is big, super-ripe and concentrated. Very lush, very forward and very Chilean. Delicious but simple. 90/100 05/09

Don Maximiano Reserve 2006 Aconcagua, Chile 
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Sweet, lush pure blackcurrant fruit nose with a slightly spirity edge. Stylish and more-ish. Very Chilean. The palate shows ripe, forward blackcurrant fruit with very attractive fruitiness and good acidity. A lighter style. 89/100 05/09  

Seña 2005 Chile 
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Sweet, lush, forward blackcurrant fruit nose. Ripe and lush, and quite Chilean. The palate shows dense open fruit which is nicely spicy. Perhaps a bit of evolution here? Warm, rich and sweetly fruited. 89/100 05/09

Seña 2006 Chile
(Tasted blind, note as written.) Ripe, sweet, forward blackcurranty nose with lush fruit and some spiciness. High quality Chilean? The palate is quite fruity and friendly with sweet blackcurrant fruit and some spice. Very Chilean. 88/100 05/09  

Matetic Coralillo Syrah 2006 San Antonio, Chile
Lovely dark, sweet, pure fruit on the nose: violetty and fresh, with a bit of meatiness. The palate is pure and quite sweet with lovely definition to the fruit. Complex, fresh and alive. 92/100 (£10.50 Genesis Wines) 02/08

Matetic Coralillo Merlot Malbec 2005 San Antonio, Chile
Sweet, pure, ripe dark fruits nose with liqueur-like richness. Bold and full with deliciously fresh ripe palate showing good tannin and acidity. Fresh, pure and structured. 90/100 (£10.50 Genesis Wines) 02/08

Matetic Syrah 2005 San Antonio, Chile
This isn’t the EQ Syrah, but rather a special selection of just 4 barrels (100 cases), aged for 18 months in new French oak and bottled in May 2007. It has a fantastic dark, concentrated nose that’s really pure and aromatic, with complex dark fruits and hints of spice and meat. The palate is bold and concentrated with lovely freshness to the very ripe dark fruits. Some tannic structure is evident with well integrated oak. An impressive effort. 95/100 02/08  

Dona Dominga Andes Vineyard Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Cochagua, Chile
Sweet blackcurrant pastille nose with some creamy notes. The palate shows pure, sweet blackcurrant fruit with a creamy edge and a hint of herbiness. A little rubbery on the finish. 85/100 (£9.99 Waitrose, Oddbins) 02/09

Anakena Ona Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Carmenere 2006 Rapel, Chile
Deep coloured and seductive, with sweet blackcurrant fruit as well as notes of cloves, tar and rubber. Smooth textured and quite pure with some spicy structure. A good effort. 88/100 (£9.99 Oddbins) 02/09

Cantavida Carmenere 2007 Rapel, Chile
Unoaked, this is a delicious example of the Carmenere grape variety - one that I'm keen on. It shows sweet blackcurrant fruit with a lovely gravelly, earthy, autumnal edge to it and some smooth but grainy tannins. This is the sort of easy drinking wine that Chile does really well, but there's also a hint of seriousness here. 87/100 (£6.99 Oddbins) 02/09  

Anakena Viognier 2008 Rapel Valley, Chile
A really stunning new world interpretation of Viognier. It's fresh and aromatic, combining richness and exotic fruit notes with lively vigour. The nose shows ripe peach and fresh tangerine notes, with a hint of vanilla. The palate is richly fruited with apricot and peach fruit meshing well with livlier citrus notes. It's just a beautifully balanced, full flavoured, fresh expression of this grape. 91/100 (£8.99 Thresher) 02/09  

Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Attractively packaged, this Sauvignon comes from the cool-climate coastal Leyda region in Chile. It’s quite impressive, with a mandarin and grapefruit notes, as well as some green pepper and a bit of minerality. Concentrated but smooth and quite understated, this is sophisticated rather than showy. A serious effort. 91/100 (£8.99 Waitrose) 07/08   

Matetic EQ Syrah 2006 San Antonio, Chile
Incredible stuff. Very deep coloured. Intense, pure blackberry and blackcurrant nose complemented by spicy, meaty, earthy notes, as well as a hint of olive and tar. The palate is earthy and dense with plenty of structure, but also lots of blackberry and plum fruit. There's lovely fresh acidity. Just a tiny trace of that Chilean rubbery greenness, but overall this is a really serious effort and I'll be buying some more with a view to seeing how it ages over the medium term. 92/100 (£12.75 Oddbins, reduced from £17)  09/08  

Maycas del Limari Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2007 Limari Valley, Chile
Super-fresh, this is a bright Sauvignon with a nose showing gooseberry, grapefruit and green pepper. The palate is crisp and fruity with vivid fruit and a hint of greenness that comes across as almost spicy. A beautifully expressive, lean, concentrated Sauvignon that's quite extreme but works really well. Think Awatere Valley with even more edginess. 90/100 (£8.99 Tesco) 08/08

Maycas del Limari Syrah Reserva 2007 Limari Valley, Chile
Amazingly deep colour. Beautiful nose of sweet brooding blackberry and raspberry jam with complex spicy notes and lovely purity. On the palate there's a hint of rubbery greenness, which along with the pure blackcurrant fruit which makes it taste a bit Chilean, but there are also warm spicy notes. It's a ripe, fruity wine of broad appeal, and overdelivers for its price point. 90/100 (£8.99 Oddbins, Tesco) 08/08  

Morande Edicion Limitada Carignan 2004 Loncomilla, Chile
Dense, rich and spicy with a powerful palate. Quite savoury and tightwound in the mid palate. Interesting stuff. 89/100 01/08

Montgras Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Colchagua, Chile
Aromatic blackcurrant fruit nose leads to a palate showing attractive fresh blackcurrant pastille fruit. Ripe but still quite fresh. 88/100 01/08

Anakena Ona  Viognier Riesling Chardonnay 2005 Rapel, Chile
This striking wine is a rather unusual blend of three varieties that are normally bottled on their own. It is lively, ripe and herby with some toastiness and a bit of richness. There's some oak, too. 84/100 01/08

Estempa Reserv 2005 Colchagua, Chile
A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Petit Verdot. Broody blackcurrant fruit nose is rich and spicy. The palate is quite dense and rich. Savoury and quite intense. 88/100 01/08

Castillo de Molina Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Elqui, Chile
Very bright and fresh with delicate aromatic notes and fresh acidity, as well as a bit of green pepper character. Expressive, fresh and lively, this is really good. 90/100 01/08

Perez Cruz Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Maipo, Chile
Aromatic blackcurranty nose with sweet fruit dominant. The palate has a nice sweet blackcurrant character with a spicy twist. Very attractive. 89/100 01/08

Cayao 2003 Botalcura, Cantral Valley, Chile
Very intense: rich, spicy and bold eith an expressive character. Tarry and quite rich – delicious. 90/100 01/08

Loma Larga Syral BK-BL2006 Casablanca Valley, Chile
Rounded, tarry, slightly reductive rubbery nose. The palate is full, spicy and a bit rubbery, but there is lovely sweet fruit here, and the overall impression is of richness. 90/100 01/08

Vina Leyda Falaris Hill Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 Leyda Valley, Chile
Toasty and rich but with lots of tight, crisp, herby, minerally fruit. A concentrated style – bold yet restrained. 90/100 01/08

Vina Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vineyard 2007 Leyda, Chile
Greassy, green and herby with string green pepper character. Quite full and intense. Really fresh and vigorous with great acidity. Very assertive. 90/100 01/08

Vina Leyda Sauvignon Blanc Garuma Vinyeard 2006 Leyda, Chile
Powerful and pungent with a lovely herb and green pepper freshenss. Intense and concentrated with taut fruit and nice freshness. A lovely wine. 91/100 01/08

Maycas del Limari Chardonnay Reserva Especial 2006 Limari, Chile
Bold and refined at the same time, with fresh, intense herb and mineral and spice notes, with a vanilla edge. Crisp and fresh with lotes of flavour. 91/100 01/08

Porta Winemakers Reserva Pinot Noir 2007 Bio Bio, Chile
Fresh, bright cherry and coca cola nose is quite berryish. The palate shows bright berryish fruit with some sweetness. 87/100 01/08

Vina Casablanca Nimbus Estate Syrah Single Vineyard 2006 Casablanca, Chile
Dark, sweetly fruited and spiicy. The palate is concentrated and rich with sweet, smooth, ripe tarry, spicy fruit. Very attractive 88/100 01/08

Matetic Corralillo Syrah Reserve 2005 San Antonio, Chile
Dark, savoury, spicy nose with a nice freshnmess and some meatiness. Great focus and purity. Lovely palate is quite dense and spicy with lovely expressive fruit character. Dense and quite serious. 90/100 01/08

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Casablanca, Chile
Lovely fresh, spritzy Sauvignon with some generous ripe fruit. There's a lovely, lively character here: bright, almost transparent. 90/100 01/08

Maycas del Limari Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2006 Limari, Chile
Very stylish: there's deep herby fruit with some figgy depth and a minerally edge. Quite a complex new world style of Chardonnay. 92/100 (£10.99 Majestic, Oddbins) 01/08

Ramirana Reserva Syrah 2006 Maipo, Chile
Lovely modern, ripe, lush Syrah with a nice spicy twist and good tannins on the finish. Lots of complexity, in a modern style. 90/100 01/08

Chocolán Syrah Selección 2005 Maipo, Chile
Quite full, with some spice and tannin. Good density, but there's a bit of rubbery greenness in the background. Dense and quite focused. Tannic finish. 87/100 01/08

William Cole Alto Vuelo Pinot Noir Reserve 2007 Casablanca, Chile
Sweet berry and cherry nose is fresh and vibrant. The palate combines sweet ripe fruit and a fresh herbal character. Juicy and fresh with a hint of seriousness. 90/100 01/08

Arbloeda Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Leyda, Chile
Crisp, fresh and focused with high acidity Tiingling and zippy; focused and pure. Quite stylish. 89/100 01/08

Von Siebenthal Parcela #7 2005 Aconcagua, Chile
Deliciously rich and ripe, but nicely balanced, with blackcurrant and berry fruit. The palate has a nice density of berryish fruit with some complexity- a really attractive wine. 91/100 01/08

Montes Pinot Noir 2007 Casablanca, Chile
sweet herby, cherry and spice nose. The palate has some freshness and nice aromatic notes. Some interest here. 88/100 01/08

Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Merlot 2005 Cachapoal, Chile
Very ripe sweet blackcurrant fruit here with a nice tarry edge. Very seductive style. The palate is ripe, rich and spicy with a bit of greenness on the finish. A seductive wine. 86/100 01/08

Millaman Reserva Zinfandel 2005 Central Valley, Chile
Lifted, high-toned berry fruit nose leads to a sweet palate that is rich with a rather confected character. Very sweet. 80/100 01/08

Odfjell Orzada Carmenere 2004 Maule, Chile
Lovely rich blackcurrant fruit nose with some spiciness. Nice freshness. The palate is smooth, concentrated and sweet with dense blackcurrant fruit. Rich but with nice definition. 90/100 01/08

Sol de Sol Chardonnay 2005 Traiguen, Malleco Valley, Chile
Ripe, rich and herby, this is quite expressive. There's a bit of vanilla spice, but otherwise it's fruit driven, with pungent melon and fig notes. Bold and aromatic, this isn't subtle, but it has a lot going for it, 89/100 01/08

Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Casablanca, Chile
Lots of presence here: fresh with a bit of herbiness. There's some green pepper on the palate. Fresh, tasty and food friendly. 88/100 01/08

Cono Sur Reserva Gewurztraminer 2006 Casablanca, Chile
Lovely balance: it's fresh with a nice grapey nose and some interesting textural elements. 88/100 01/08

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Rapel, Chile
Interesting. Slightly reductive with a clementine skin freshness. Very bright The palate has nice fresh, bright, almost spicy flavours. There's some alcohol here too. 87/100 01/08

Casa Martin Estero Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007 San Antonio Valley, Chile
Crisp and quite bright with some sweetness to the fruit, but very high acidity keeping it in check. It's quite richly textured, but everything is kept fresh by the acidity. Fruit driven, with some grapey richness trying to fight its way through 88/100 01/08

Amayna Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Leyda Valley, Chile
Barrel fermented.
Interesting stuff. Rich, bold, herby, smoky and with a bit of toast. There's real complexity here. Not typical Sauvignon, but I like it. 90/100 01/08

Morande Terrarum Reserva Pinot Grigio 2007 Casablanca, Chile
Really perfumed and aromatic. Crisp with some herbinesss. The palate is rich and bold with some sweetness. Combination of herbiness and perfume. 87/100 01/08

Vina Litoral Ventolera Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Leyda, Chile
This is quite dense and herby with a fresh greenness. It's dense and quite full but there's not a lot of expression at the moment grassy and weighty. 88/100 01/08

Cono Sur Reserva Riesling 2006 Bio Bio, Chile
Nicely aromatic with a lively nose. The palate is dry but with some sweet fruit and a bit of limey, spicy crispness, Simple but attractive. 88/100 01/08

De Martino Quebrada Seca Chardonnay 2006 Limari Valley, Chile
Very rich, creamy and bold with a lovely smooth toastiness. The palate is creamy and rich but with nice freshness. Rich but quite serious with it. 90/100 01/08

Casa Marin Miramar Vineyard Riesling 2007 San Antonio, Chile
Precise and limey, but delicate, too, with lovely balance. Quite richly textured A lovely expressive wine 91/100 01/08

Cono Sur Ocio Pinot Noir 2006 Casablanca, Chile
Quite dense and sweet with a firm, spicy structure. Dense. Not confected, but shows nice structure. Not too elegant, but this is really stylish stuff with good fruit and structure. 91/100 01/08

Cono Sur Chardonnay 2006 Casablanca, Chile
Quite powerful and rich, but fresh. Tropical fruit combines with vanilla oak. Smooth and rich with a hint of coffee. Very big, but fresh. 89/100 01/08

Porta Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Bio Bio, Chile
Assertive, fresh and grassy on the nose. The palate is quite rich and fruity with an accessible, rounded, slightly tanky quality. 86/100 01/08

Tamaya Special Reserva 2003 Limari, Chile
A blend of Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely rich texture on the smooth, broad palate with some nuttiness and a hint of vanilla. Stylish, rich and creamy. 88/100 01/08

Morande Terrarum Reserva Pinot Noir 2006 Casablanca , Chile
Warm, rounded berry and cherry fruit nose with a tarry, rich edge. Rich cherry and berry fruit palate is bold and dense. 89/100 01/08

Vina Leyda Las Brisas Pinot Noir 2006 Leyda, Chile
Southwest facing vineyard planted in 1998. 60% crushed, 40% whole berry ferment. Lovely fresh sappy aromatic nose with a hint of greenness. The palate is really fruity with a nice greenness and some sappy character. Perhaps a little too green? 90/100 01/08

Casa Donoso 1810 Carmenère Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 Maule Valley, Chile
An interesting, full-throttle Chilean red. Smooth, dark black fruits nose with an intriguing rubbery, chocolatey edge. The palate is firm and dense, with sweet dark fruits and a herby tang. There’s lots of concentration here, but the slightly bitter, plasticky finish spoils it for me. 82/100 (£9.99 Laithwaites) 04/08  

Secano Pinot Noir 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Made for Marks & Spencer by Vina Leyda. This is a really vibrant Pinot Noir with lovely pure, sappy cherry and raspberry fruit, complemented by a subtle spicy, medicinal note that remains in the background. It's perhaps a little too green and herbal, but the fresh, bright fruit here has a lovely purity to it. It's a delightfully fresh wine that tastes like Pinot. Very primary, but quite joyful. 88/100 (£6.99 Marks & Spencer)  05/08

Corralillo Chardonnay Reserve 2005 San Antonio, Chile
This biodynamic white comes from Matetic, one of Chile's most exciting producers. It's almost overpowering, with intense flavours of nuts, vanilla, figs, citrus fruits and spice. Super-rich and very ripe, this wine almost has too much flavour for its own good. It really comes into its own with richly flavoured food, where the weight of the wine isn't quite so obvious. It would also work quite well with cheese. A big, complex Chardonnay for current drinking, and not for the timid. 90/100 (£9.99 Marks & Spencer) 05/08

Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile
Attractively packaged, this Sauvignon comes from the cool-climate coastal Leyda region in Chile. It’s quite impressive, with a mandarin and grapefruit notes, as well as some green pepper and a bit of minerality. Concentrated but smooth and quite understated, this is sophisticated rather than showy. A serious effort. 91/100 (£8.99 Waitrose) 07/08

Marks & Spencer Fairtrade Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2007 Curico Valley, Chile
Fresh, crisp nose with a bit of melony fruit and a hint of minerally sulfur. The palate is crisp and vibrant with lemony, grapefruity notes and high acidity. A very fresh and zingy sort of white that would be great with food but is perhaps just a tad austere for sipping on its own. 84/100 (£4.99 M&S) 02/08

Equality by Las Lomas Chardonnay-Viognier 2007 Maule, Chile
A fresh, fruity, estery white with some rich texture under the almost-spicy bright nose. A fruity unoaked style that would work well with spicy food. Lively and fresh. 83/100 02/08 

Cono Sur Vision Riesling 'Quiltraman' 2007 Bio Bio Valley, Chile
This attractively packaged wine has a forward, perfumed nose of bright lime notes mixed with minerals, sweet honey and floral overtones. The palate is quite rich, with a talcum powder and lime character, together with some savoury minerality and some richness of texture, which I suspect in part comes from a bit of residual sugar, and in part from the high alcohol (14%). It finishes off with crisp acidity. This is a powerful style of Riesling, but it's balanced and quite crisp. A striking wine, and given further experience here I reckon future vintages will be even better. 89/100 (£7.99 Majestic, but £6.39 if you buy two) 12/07

Errazuriz Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Casablanca Valley, Chile
This is sourced from a block on the La Escultura estate, planted in 1992 with clones 242, 107 and Davis 1. 20% of the fruit (all hand harvested) was given 6 hour maceration with skins. It's nicely aromatic, with a fresh, slightly herby nose that shows good freshness and minerality, along with more tropical fruit richness. The palate is quite rich textured with lovely fruit sweetness giving it a rounded character (yet there's only 1.39 g/l residual sugar), along with good acidity contributing freshness. There are notes of grapefruit and herb, too. It's quite a concentrated and moderately complex Sauvignon of real appeal. A great buy at this price. 90/100 (£9.95 Berry Bros & Rudd http://www.bbr.com/, http://www.chileanwineclub.co.uk/) 12/07

Erazzuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Casablanca Valley, Chile
Again, a portion of the fruit here (24%) was given a 6 hour maceration to add body and aromatics to the wine. The wine has quite a zesty, citrussy nose with some fresh green herby notes and a bit of fruit richness. The palate is refreshing and quite crisp, but there's an appealing richness to the fruit, and a rounded character, too. Good concentration here, in a style that falls somewhere between the in-yer-face Marlborough (NZ) style and the more savoury Loire expression of this grape variety. 88/100 (£6.49 Oddbins, £7.99 Thresher, but three for two) 12/07

Errazuriz Estate Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2006 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I like the concept behind this wine. 'Wild Ferments' are those where cultured yeasts aren't added. What happens is that indigenous yeasts from the vineyard and winery environment begin the fermentation slowly, and then after a while the regular wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, kicks in and finishes the job. Because of this, the wines that result (particularly the whites, in my experience) have added complexity of flavour, and a rather different mouthfeel. And here, with this Chardonnay, it works well. It has a warm, complex nose of butter, toast, herbs, vanilla and fruit spanning the spectrum from figs to lemons. The palate shows nice toasty complexity and nice fresh acidity, finishing long. Altogether, this is a thought-provoking, rich style of Chardonnay that may well improve with a couple of years in bottle. Good value for money. 90/100 (£9.99 Tesco; Sone, Vine and Sun; £11.95 Berry Bros & Rudd) 12/07

Ventolera Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Leyda Valley, Chile
Made by superstar winemaker Ignacio Recabarren, this is a blend of four different clones grown in the ultra-cool region of Leyda. It’s fresh and crisp with real intensity, as well as a marked green pepper herbaceousness. The overall effect is of a quite complex, savoury, assertive sort of Sauvignon that’s best with food. 89/100 (£9.99 Virgin Wines, 2007 is available from The Wine Society for £8.50) 05/08

Luis Felipe Edwards Carmenere 2006 Colchagua, Chile
A delicious, inexpensive example of how good Carmenere can be. Broad, richly textured, smooth dark fruits dominate, with a subtle minerally, spicy undercurrent that holds the interest. It's quite blackcurranty, but there's some darker, spicier depth to the fruit that I like. 86/100 (£5.99 Tesco) 04/08

Yali Winemaker's Selection Cabernet Carmenere 2006 Colchagua, Chile
With a neck-tag announcing that the CO2 emissions of this wine have been offset. There's a subtle rubbery edge to the nose, which otherwise displays bright, ripe berry fruit, with a hint of plumminess. The palate has a savoury edge to the ripe berryish fruit, with a sort of bittersweet character. Quite attractive in an easy-drinking style. 82/100 (£5.99 Majestic) 04/08

Secano Pinot Noir 2006 Leyda Valley, Chile
From Vina Leyda, this wine has usurped Cono Sur's cheapie as the world's best value Pinot Noir. It has a lovely sweet cherry and berry fruit nose which is perfumed, with a bit of spice and some subtle herbiness. Forward and quite elegant. The palate is smooth with elegant cherry fruit. It's simple and primary, but there's some spice and again a bit of herbiness. Just a hint of green sappiness, but it doesn't clamp down too much on the bright fruit. Delicious. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Marks & Spencer) 05/07

Amayna Chardonnay 2004 Leyda Valley, Chile
Powerful nose: sweet, intense complex tropical fruit and melon, with baked bread, coconut, vanilla and spice, too. It's fruit rather than oak dominated. The palate is concentrated and rich with a warm spicy finish. A ripe, concentrated Chardonnay but with nice freshness too. 92/100 (£16.49 Oddbins) 11/06

Carmen Nativa Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Maipo, Chile
This single-vineyard Cabernet is made with a wild yeast ferment and is then aged for 10 months in oak. Rich blackcurrant fruit nose is pure and intense with a minty edge. Smooth, ripe fruit has a subtle chalky character on the palate. It’s not green at all – a bit like a Western Australian Cabernet in style. 90/100 (Waitrose) 07/06

Cono Sur Gewürztraminer 2005 Bío Bío Valley, Chile
Perfumed, aromatic, grapey and quite sweet on the nose with a nice spiciness, and a bit of lychee character. The palate is broad, grapey and herby with a hint of spice and nice rich texture. This has the impact to stand up to spicy Asian food well. 88/100 03/07  

Errazuriz Estate Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2006 Casablanca Valley, Chile
I like the concept behind this wine. 'Wild Ferments' are those where cultured yeasts aren't added. What happens is that indigenous yeasts from the vineyard and winery environment begin the fermentation slowly, and then after a while the regular wine yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, kicks in and finishes the job. Because of this, the wines that result (particularly the whites, in my experience) have added complexity of flavour, and a rather different mouthfeel. And here, with this Chardonnay, it works well. It has a warm, complex nose of butter, toast, herbs, vanilla and fruit spanning the spectrum from figs to lemons. The palate shows nice toasty complexity and nice fresh acidity, finishing long. Altogether, this is a thought-provoking, rich style of Chardonnay that may well improve with a couple of years in bottle. Good value for money. 90/100 (£9.99 Tesco, Stone, Vine and Sun; £11.95 Berry Bros & Rudd) 12/07

Cono Sur Visión Gewürztraminer ‘Las Colmenas’ 2007 Casablanca Valley, Chile
A perfumed, aromatic white with lovely fresh floral, grapey, lychee aromas. The palate is dry but exuberantly fruity showing fresh, citrussy, gently herby, grapey flavours. There’s nice concentration of flavour here, along with some delicacy—this grape variety is one that can tend to be overly heavy and fat at times. Delicious and food friendly. 89/100 (£7.99 Majestic) 12/07

Leyda Single Vineyard 'Falaris Hill Vineyard' Chardonnay 2005 Leyda Valley, Chile
While my enthusiasm for Chile's reds remains largely nascent, I'm being won over by many Chilean whites. The Leyda wines, in particular, have really impressed. This single-vineyard Chardonnay is brilliant. It begins with a powerful, opulent nose of tropical fruit, spice, herbs, some toasty oak and a hint of fudge. The palate is full with rich apricotty fruit and spice, almost like a dry Sauternes. It's a complex, expressive, intense new world Chardonnay. Very good/excellent 91/100 (Great Western Wines are the UK importers). 12/06

Amayna Sauvignon Blanc 2006 Leyda Valley, Chile
A hand-picked Sauvignon from a 70 hectare vineyard in sight of the sea, vinified in a new gravity-designed winery. Two clones are used: 242, which adds structure and minerality, and Davis Clone 1 which adds fresh minerality. The wine itself has a sweet tropical fruit nose offset by limey minerality. It's very expressive and quite striking. The palate is sweetly fruited, but it has a lovely steely, mineral core. A full flavoured, intense, epressive Sauvignon with a multifaceted personality. Expensive but worth it. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£13.99 Oddbins) 11/06

Errazuriz Max Reserve Chardonnay 2004 Casablanca, Chile
Hand harvested and fermented in French oak, where it matures for 8 months. Rich yellow/gold colour. Nice combination of tropical fruit richness with lime and grapefruit freshness, complemented by classy oak. A refined, concentrated new world Chardonnay showing nice complexity and balance, with subtle herbal undertones. 91/100 (Waitrose) 07/06

Vina Leyda Pinot Noir Las Brisas Vineyard 2005 Chile
Quite powerful red berry and cherry fruit nose. Perfumed and sweet with a herbal background. The palate is concentrated, rich and intense with sweet berry and cherry fruit backed up by some spicy tannin and a subtle herbiness, together with some medicinal notes. Dense and quite delicious, but not terribly elegant. 89/100 07/06

Anakena Ona Syrah 2004 Rapel, Chile
Good colour and concentration but has a green herbal character under the rich, sweet fruit. A crowd pleaser, but a bit rubbery on the finish. Very good 84/100 06/06

Anakena Reservado Merlot 2003 Rapel, Chile
Sweet blackcurrant pastille nose is distinctly Chilean: creamy and rounded. The palate has a spicy sort of greenness to it but it works. Nicely savoury and good value for money at the multibuy price. Very good 84/100 (£7.49 Thresher, 3 for the price of 2) 08/06

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Rapel Valley, Chile
A lovely aromatic Sauvignon with a rich, melony nose an a hint of grassiness. The palate shows nice melony fruit: it’s quite richly textured with some real richness. A delicious ripe style of Sauvignon (and at 14.5%, an alcoholic one). Very good/excellent 90/100 12/05

Chileno Shiraz Cabernet 2004 Central Valley, Chile
This is a really astute commercial wine. It has an inviting nose of sweet blackberry and dark cherry fruit that leads through to the palate where it is joined by an appealing spiciness. A nice wine without any hint of greenness. Tastes more expensive than it is. Very good 84/100 (£4.49  Somerfield, Sainsbury, Tesco, Kwiksave, Budgen, Londis) 03/06

Hacienda Araucano Alka Carmenère 2003 Colchagua, Chile
J&F Lurton. Perfumed blackcurrant fruit nose is quite sweet and lush, but countered by a herbal, chocolatey edge. With its pastille-like quality it is distinctly Chilean. On the palate there is quite classy silky tannic structure lying under the pure fruit. It’s actually quite a structured wine. The lush pure fruit is elegant; I just feels it needs a bit more complexity to be a really serious wine besides just fruit and oak. Very good/excellent 92/100 (rrp c. £30) 04/06

Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Casablanca, Chile
This single vineyard offering from Concha y Toro impressed with a nice minerality adding complexity to the bright, lemon-edged subtly grassy fruit. Nice weight on the palate. This is nicely poised with good fruit, but not too much grassy character. Very good+ 88/100 (£7.99 Oddbins, Somerfield, Wine Society) 04/06

Luis Filipe Edwards Carmenère 2004 Colchagua, Chile
Bordeaux ex-pat variety Carmenère is Chile’s speciality grape, and it tends to make big, beefy reds. This is a good example: it’s a big red wine with lots of blackcurrant fruit, backed up by an aroma of wet pavements, made in a savoury, food-friendly style. Not too flashy or obvious. Very good+ 87/100 (£5.99 Tesco)11/05

Anakena Ona 2003 Rapel Valley, Chile
This is an almost overpoweringly full flavoured luvvie of a white wine, which successfully blends together three grapes that normally do their own thing: Chardonnay, Riesling and Viognier. They are held together with some seductive spicy oak, and the result is a big wine that has broad flavours of lime, sweet honeydew melon, herbs and vanilla. Broad yet fresh, it really works, and would be great with a traditional Christmas dinner. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Oddbins) 11/05  


Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2004 Leyda, Chile
Really nice understated nose with a subtle, savoury green pepper and spice character. The palate is broad and nicely balanced with an earthy, spicy greenness. It’s not unripe, but it’s fresh. Full flavoured and complex. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£9.49 Waitrose) 08/06

Leyda Garuma Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Leyda Valley, Chile
Powerful aromas: green, grassy, grapefruit and lime. The palate is intense with a fresh green pepper edge to the concentrated lemony fruit. A very full, fresh Sauvignon of real quality: really invigorating stuff. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£7.99 Oddbins) 11/06

Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 Rapel, Chile
Sweet alcoholic blackcurrant fruit nose. Nice spicy, minerally structure to the fruit, but it’s a bit soupy and alcoholic (14.5%), although the fruit is good. Very good 84/100 (£8.49 Berry Bros, Booths, D Byrne, Bentalls, Portland Wine, Terry Platt, Taurus Wines) 08/06

Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 500 Malbec Puemo Vineyard 2005 Rapel, Chile
Malbec is a grape more commonly associated with Argentina than Chile, but it seems to be a solid performer in both countries. Here it makes a red with dense, bright berry fruit and pleasantly fresh acidity. It’s ripe, but not soupy, and the dark cherry fruit is very appealing. Nice spicy finish, too. Very good+ 87/100 (£6.79 Oddbins) 09/06

Casa Silva Quinta Generaciòn Red 2002 Colchagua, Chile
Deep red colour. Strikin nose of deep, rich, liqueur-like blackcurrant pastille fruit. Quite sweet, but with some complex spiciness. The palate is long and spicy with smooth, sweet fruit backed up by some savoury tannins and a hint of sweet herbiness. A good, mouthfillig wine that’s immensely accessible. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£11.99 Oddbins) 12/05

Montes Alpha Syrah, Apalta Vineyard 2002 Colchagua Valley
Distinctive ripe, chocolatey spicy nose with some obvious new oak. Quite classy, though. The palate is concentrated with a ripe, sweet black fruits character and some spicy structure. The pure, sweet fruit is distinctively Chilean. Nice concentration, richness and classy oak. Modern styled. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£11.99 Waitrose) 07/05

Carmen Nativo Chardonnay 2004 Maipo, Chile
Here’s a big, bold, but complex example of the world’s favourite grape variety, a perfect antidote for anyone suffering from Chardonnay tedium. It’s ripe and rich, but the fruit dominates and there’s a spicy savouriness providing balance. Delicious in a very rich style. (£7.99 Oddbins, Booths) 07/05

Cono Sur Gewürztraminer 2003 Bío Bío Valley, Chile
Sweet, spicy musky perfumed nose with lychee character. The palate is spicy and fruity with a zippy acidity. An interesting wine: not at all sweet, although the nose suggests it will be. Very good+ 87/100 (Co-op) 07/05

Casa Silva Lolol Viognier 2003 Colchagua, Chile
Powerful perfumed nose of sweet apricot and pear fruit, with a slight muskiness, too. Very striking. The palate is viscous and rich textured with nice balance: a delicious, rich white wine with lots of Viognier character and a hint of vanilla. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£8.99 Barrels and Bottles, Cairns & Hickey, Frank Stainton Wines, Great Northern Wine Co., Michael Jobling Wines, Richards & Richards, Tim Morrison Fine Wines, Thameside Wines) 08/05

Carmen Gold Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 Maipo Valley, Chile
From 44 year old vines, this is an ambitious red wine from Chile. Dark coloured, it has a very intense sweet blackcurrant jam nose. The palate is soft, smooth, concentrated and sweet, with an incredible richness of fruit. It’s a lovely wine, providing you like this style, which is extreme. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£22 Waitrose) 04/05

Viñedo Chadwick 1999 Aconcagua Valley, Chile
94% Cabernet and 6% Carmenère from a vineyard in Puente Alto that used to be a polo field. A very dark colour, this has a sweet, liqueur-like jammy blackcurrant nose. The palate is bold and rich displaying concentrated fruit with a savoury, spicy twist to it. A very bold style. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£30 Waitrose) 04/05

Errazuriz La Cumbre Shiraz 2002 Aconcagua Valley, Chile
From 9 year old vines, aged in a mix of new French and American oak. A vivid dark purple colour. The red and black fruit nose leads to a palate of concentrated ripe fruit with a savoury, spicy edge. Very impressive in a modern fruit-forward style. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£14.99 Waitrose) 04/05

Montes Alpha ‘M’ 2001 Santa Cruz, Colchagua Valley, Chile
80% Cabernet, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, harvested at around 4 tons/hectare. 18 months in new French oak. Pure sweet blackcurrant fruit nose with a liqueur-like edge. The sweetly fruited, supple palate shows great concentration and a nice spicy finish. A very forward wine. Very good/excellent 91/100 (£35 Waitrose) 04/05  

Santa Rita Triple C 1999 Maipo, Chile
The flagship wine from Chilean giants Santa Rita. It’s a deep, rich, tarry, spicy red showing some evolution. Blind I’d had called it Australian, with its super-ripe fruit coupled with a spicy, tarry oak sheen. Great concentration and very good in this style – almost Port-like with a chocolatey richness to the fruit. Very good/excellent 90/100 (£15.99 Majestic) 12/04

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Escudo Rojo 2001 Maipo, Chile
This nicely packaged effort comes from Rothschild of Bordeaux fame (a name that comes from 'Red shield' = escudo rojo). Ripe, taut nose with sweet, pure black fruits and some chocolatey notes. The palate is midweight with appealing blackcurrant fruit, spicy structure and good acidity. It's nicely poised and quite classy in a midweight, food-friendly style. Very good+ 88/100 (£8.99 Berry Bros, Costco, Unwins) 04/04

Concha y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 175 Carménère Los Morros Vineyard 2002 Maipo Valley, Chile
From a vineyard at 550 m elevation, this is an inky red/purple colour. It has a seductive nose of pure, sweet ripe black fruits that leads to a richly fruited, chocolatey palate with sweet, spicy-edged fruit with a distinctive, slightly bitter black cherry tang and firm, spicy tannins. It’s a classy, concentrated, rich style that may lack a little sophistication but is sure to win many friends. Very good/excellent 90/100 (Oddbins £7.99) 04/04

Errazuriz Estate Chardonnay 2001 Casablanca, Chile
Some bottle age has rounded this Chardonnay into a very appealing wine. It shows a rounded, buttery nose with ripe melon and figgy fruit. The palate is smooth and buttery with lots of ripe fruit and some subtle oak. Very good+ 87/100 (Tesco £5.99) 12/03

Trio Chardonnay 2000 Casablanca, Chile
Really delicious intense fruit on the nose with a subtle herby note to the figgy, tropical fruit. The palate shows rich herby fruit backed up with good acidity. I’d have expected a three year old Chilean Chard to be a bit tired by now, but this is impressive. Classy stuff. Very good+ 88 (£5.99 Thresher) 04/03

El Cachorro 2001 Central Valley, Chile
Not bad for the price: lovely blackcurrant fruit dominates with a slight herbaceous edge. Not terribly refined but lots of flavour. Very drinkable. Good/very good (£3.99 Oddbins) 06/03

Missiones de Rengo Carmenère 2000 Rapel Valley, Chile
Shows some slightly stewed fruit (red berries, blackcurrants) with a pleasant leafy, herby edge, together with some chocolatey richness on the palate. Savoury finish with good definition. Appealing. Very good (£4.99 Safeway) 01/03  

Casablanca Chardonnay 2001, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Pale colour. Lemony nose with some riper tropical fruit undertones and a slight 'boiled sweets' edge. The palate shows lovely crisp, focused fruit with real freshness. Leans towards the citrus fruit end of the Chardonnay spectrum. Good commercial winemaking. Very good (£4.99 Sainsbury) 01/02

Escudo Rojo 1999, Baron Phillipe de Rothschild, Maipo, Chile
(Tasted blind, note as written) Exotic nose of sweet, ripe, creamy blackcurrant fruit. The concentrated palate shows sweet, ripe, chocolatey fruit and some firm tannins lurking underneath. The finish is drying: it's delicious stuff, but offers more on the nose than it does on the palate. The purity of the blackcurrant fruit gives its Chilean identity away immediately. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Carmenère. Very good+ 11/01

Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2000, Rapel, Chile
This is an interesting, if slightly odd Pinot Noir. The open nose is quite striking, with a slightly vegetal, herbal, undergrowth character, along with some sweet plummy fruit. The palate is rich, fruity and appealing, but again shows some slightly odd undergrowth character that some will love and others will find off-putting. Slightly alcoholic finish. Very good (£4.99 Tesco) 09/01

Valdivieso Merlot Barrel Selection 1999, Chile
There's an attractive chalky, mineralic edge to the nose. The palate shows good balance: joining the primary fruit is an interesting leafy/mineral character. Good acidity. Tasty stuff and good value at this price. (£5.99 Majestic) 10/01

Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2000, Rapel, Chile
Pale coloured with undergrowthy notes to the herby nose. Light palate, with a herbal, medicinal edge. Quite good balance, even if it is a little unusual. Good/very good (£4.99 Majestic) 10/01    

Montes 'Limited Selection' Pinot Noir 1999, Chile
There's a bit of herbal complexity on the nose with some spicy notes. Palate is ripe rounded and herby, and perhaps a tiny bit jammy. Quite rich in style, and unusual stuff. Very good (£7.49 Majestic) 10/01

La Mira Chardonnay 2001, Maipo Valley, Chile
Lovely bright, fresh nose; palate has some attractive fruit and good balance, with a savoury edge. Not at all fat or oaky like some cheap Chardonnays can be. Very good (£4.49 Majestic) 10/01

La Mira Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Maipo Valley, Chile
Big grassy, gooseberry-laced nose leads to a crisp, modern palate. Good clean commerical winemaking. Good/very good (£4.49 Majestic) 10/01

Montes Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Curico, Chile
50% of the wine is matured in old oak barrels for three months. Quite an expressive nose, with a touch of spice joining the crisp, grassy herby notes. Nice balance on the palate with good acidity. Very good (£5.99 Majestic) 10/01

Montes Alpha Chardonnay 200, Curico, Chile
Big, rich, ripe toasty nose. Palate shows concentrated, ripe nutty fruit with a savoury new oak veneer. Tasty stuff. Very good+ (£9.99 Majestic) 10/01

Caliterra Chardonnay 2000, Central Valley, Chile
A richly-textured Chardonnay showing tropical fruit and peach flavours backed up by a touch of spicy oak, and just enough acidity to hold things together. Everything about this wine is modern: it's a reliable, all-purpose white wine. (£4.99 Bottoms Up) 03/01

Canepa Semillon 1999, DO Colchagua, Chile
Fresh and balanced, with lime and grapefruit flavours. This is a clean, delicate, modern-styled wine with some personality, to be drunk young. (£3.99 Unwins) 7/00

Carmen Syrah Reserva 1997, Maipo
Deep red purple. Seductive nose of tobacco, sweet fruit and vegetation. On the palate there are plums, spice, smoky oak, some herbaceousness and noticeable acidity. It is a reasonably complex and satisfying wine, but hard to call as a Syrah. I was left in two minds as to whether I really enjoyed it or not. Good. (£6.49 Oddbins) 10/99

Canepa Gewurztraminer 1998, Maule, Chile
A real bargain, this exhibits true varietal character. Rich, fresh, spicy and with abundant grapefruit and litchee characters. Nicely balanced.  (£3.99 Tesco) 4/99

Casablanca Chardonnay 1998, Vina Casablanca, Chile
Very similar in flavour profile to a sauvignon blanc, with grassy grapefruit and gooseberry flavours. Light and pettilant, this is a good but atypical wine that is hard to call blind as a Chardonnay. Apparently 1998 was an atypically cool year in this region. Certainly, this wine had a fatter texture in the 1997 vintage. (£5.49 Oddbins) 1/99

Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 1998, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Fresh and crisp, with lifted aromatic nose of gooseberries and freshly cut grass. This came from the cool 1998 vintage that generally produced tighter, crisper wines, and this one is o no exception. On the palate it is bone dry, with bracing acidity. It is refreshing, but perhaps a little sharp for casual sipping. Bold and intense. (£4.99 Oddbins) 1/00

Casablanca Neblus Chardonnay 1996, Santa Isabel Estate, Chile
Made with 60% botrytised grapes, given almost 2 years in French oak, 80% malolactic fermentation. Very sweet nose of honey, pears and peaches. On palate, honey, coffee and noticeable oak. Medium dry with a honeyed finish. The rather hollow midpalate makes this a somewhat disjointed wine that is a little unconvincing. Interesting but I won’t be trying it again. (Oddbins Fine Wine £4.95/half -- as of January 2000 the remaining stocks were reduced by a pound.) 1/99

Casablanca El Bosque Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Chile
Concentrated wine with pure chocolatey blackcurrant fruit. Lots of extract and tannins, but a bitter finish spoils it somewhat. Still youthful, perhaps this will develop into something better over the next couple of years. (Oddbins, £7.49) 5/99

Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Archetypal fresh Sauvignon from one of Chile's leading white wine regions. It has a gooseberry/grapefruit nose, bright fruit and high acidity -- very similar in style to the classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand. Very good (Sainsbury £4.99) 05/01

Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 1998, Casablanca Valley, Chile
From superstar Chilean winemaker Ignacio Recabarren comes this intense Sauvignon that has been cool fermented in stainless steel tanks. Piercing gooseberry and grapfruit flavours predominate; aromatic, lean and classy, but drink up soon because these technology driven Chilean whites die fast. Good. (Sainsbury £4.99) 6/00

Casa Lapostolle Merlot Cuvée Alexandre 1996, Rapel, Chile
A striking wine. On the nose there is a rich blast of sweet blackcurrant fruit, with a pastille-like quality. On the palate it is concentrated and lush, with ripe fruit seamlessly integrated with spicy oak. Unashamedly 'new world', this is a satisfying and deep wine that is drinking very well at present. Very good. (Current release is 1998, widely available at around £12) 4/00

Casa Lapostolle Chardonnay 1997, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Yellow gold with a big buttery nose. Soft textured on palate with some fatness, and notes of fig and coffee. There is vanilla oak and a slightly bitter finish. It is a very polished package but perhaps would have been better a year ago. (£5.99 Fullers) 10/99

Cono Sur Gewurztraminer 1999, Bio-Bio Valley, Chile
Slightly odd nose of household cleaning products with a floral edge. Dry and a bit bitter on the palate, with a slightly fat texture. Poor effort. (£4.99 Oddbins) 10/00

Cono Sur Pinot Noir 1998, Rapel, Chile
Strawberries, plums, fecal notes, manure, vegetation all combine to mak a fascinating wine with good varietal character. This is in my opinion the best cheap Pinot noir on the market. You’ll either love it or hate it. This company also make a reserve Pinot Noir, and a luxury cuvée called '20 Barrels', but neither justify the extra expense, in my opinion. (Oddbins £4.99) 5/99

Errazuriz Don Maximiano Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Aconcagua Valley, Chile
Opaque red/purple colour. Dense, exotic nose of sweet, pure blackcurrant fruit is followed up with a fry, spicy palate showing surprisingly firm tannins and a liquorice edge. All the components are very impressive, but they are not at all integrated at present: there's no synergy at all between the lusciously sweet nose and the firm, structured, slightly austere palate. (About £15, widely available) Very good+ 2/01

Errazuriz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 1998, Don Maximano Estate, Concagua Valley, Chile
This is consistently one of my favourite Chilean Cabernets, and it doesn't seem to have suffered to much from having the best grapes from this estate siphoned off into the premium priced Errazuriz wines. It's a concentrated purple/black colour. The full nose is dominated a blast of blackcurrants and cream, and this follows through to the palate, which is dominated by ripe, sweet primary fruit. There's some complexity from the 14 months this wine spends in French and American oak barrels, and also a mineral edge, but this concentrated wine is dominated by the ripe, sweet fruit. Very good/excellent (£7.99 Tesco) 1/01

Luis Felipe Edwards Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, Colchagua, Chile
Released with more bottle age than is common for most Chilean cabernets, this wine goes a little against the grain. Normally from Chile at this price level you'd expect upfront, soft blackcurrant fruit. Instead, with its firm tannins and leafy, herbaceous fruit, this wine is oddly reminiscent of a Loire red. I think it is authentic and interesting: very good. Bottled unfiltered. (£4.99, Majestic) 4/00

Mont Gras Chardonnay Reserva 1999, Cochagua Valley, Chile
Rich, toasty, oaky and buttery wine that's surprisingly seductive and full flavoured, as long as you are a fan of these glossy, new world Chardonnays. Good value for money. (Sainsburys £4.99) 9/00

Santa Carolina Chardonnay 1999, Lontue, Chile
20% of the wine is fermented and aged in French oak barrels. Fresh, bright and lively Chardonnay with zippy acidity and aromatic, yeasty, bready nose. It's not too buttery and the acidity keeps things interesting. A good commercial wine. 10/00

Santa Ines Sauvignon Blanc 2000, Maipo, Chile
A distinctive Sauvignon Blanc in a richly-fruited style. Fresh, leafy nose is followed by a rounded and full textured palate, with ripe fruit: it’s not at the New Zealand-style gooseberry extreme, but it's still fresh and tasty. Good+ (£3.29 Tesco) 10/00

Santa Ines Legado de Armida Malbec 1997
Spicy, chocolatey wine with high acid and medium body. Good, but all the Santa Ines reds seem to have exactly the same flavour profile, regardless of the grape variety used. (£5.99, Thresher)

Santa Ines Legado de Armida Chardonnay Reserva 1998
Rich, savoury, oaked Chardonnay. Sophisticated stuff well worth its price tag. (£5.99 Thresher)  11/99

Santa Ines Legado de Armida Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Maipo, Chile
This is interesting in that unlike many Chilean Cabernets, it is not just a one dimensional cassis-dominated wine. Instead it has a rich, spice and chocolate flavour, with some spicy new oak, berry fruits and a lush texture. There is a hint of volatility, but overall it reminds me more of a Californian Zinfandel than a Chilean Cabernet. Good stuff, and well priced. (£5.99 Thresher, Tesco) 9/99

Santa Ines Legado de Armida Reserve Carmenere 1997, Maipo, Chile
Deep purple black, with a powerful nose of blackcurrant, chocolate and spice. On the palate, nicely balanced berry fruit with spicy, tannic structure and a touch of herbaceousness. This is a very attractive wine which is quite similar to the reserve Cabernet from this producer. Not just a big blast of primary fruit like many Chileans. (£5.99 Tesco, Thresher) 11/99

Santa Ines Sauvignon 1998, Maipo, Chile
Fat textured Sauvignon that is fresh and clean, and is not too technological or synthetic. Full and rounded, this is excellent for the price. (£3.99 Tesco) 9/99

Santa Ines Legado de Armida Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenère Reserva 1999, Chile
Attractive blackcurrant and chocolate flavoured red with good concentration and roasted, spicy, toasty oak notes. Even better the next day, when some of the overt toastiness has receded and the lush fruit has returned. (Tesco £3.14 in a half-price promotion) 6/01

Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 1999, Maipo, Chile
This concentrated wine has a distinctive leafy, smoky nose. On the palate it displays the usual Chilean Cabernet signature of blackcurrant fruit together with more of the leafy, herbaceous character so evident on the nose. There's also a touch of oak. Although you'd be unlikely to mistake this for a French wine, with it's non-fruity complexity it is more Bordeaux-like than most Chilean reds. Quite impressive, as long as you don't find the leafy-like character off-putting. Very good+ (£6.99 Majestic) 1/01

Santa Rita Triple C 1997, Maipo, Chile
A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère. Very concentrated, with pure blackcurrant fruit flavours, mineral notes and a slight herbal edge. Dense and rich, with some new oak. An impressive effort, and well worth the asking price. Very good + (Majestic £10.99) 8/00

Undurraga Gewurztraminer 1999, Talagante, Maipo Valley, Chile
Clean, grapey-fresh wine with crisp acidity and hints of litchee. A good glugger; an ideal summer food wine. (£4.99, Tesco) 12/99

Valdivieso Caballo Loco No. 1 (NV) Lontue, Chile
From the back label, 'Valdivieso's proud statement to the world that South America can compete at the top....medium to long-term cellaring recommended'. This was first released about four years ago, and I thought it might be time to see how it is getting on. The Caballo Loco philosophy, as far as I can tell, has never been about raw power, but instead about producing a balanced premium wine with ageing potential. However, the wine seems now to be going through a rather uglyish phase. There is a sweet, perfumed blackberry nose, with some cedary/tobaccoey notes beginning to emerge, but on the palate it is drying out somewhat with strong tannins and reasonably high acidity. I wonder how it will evolve: I'll keep my remaining bottles for a couple of years yet. Without the sweet fruit of youth the structure is too apparent at the moment. 4/00

Valdivieso Chardonnay 1999, Central Valley, Chile
A strong contender in the highly competitive sub-£5 Chardonnay class. This is a lovely, full bodied yet restrained New World Chardonnay which combines appley/lemony fruit with a touch of spicy complexity, all underpinned by bracing acidity. In fact, it is almost like a souped up Macon villages. Great value for money here. (£4.99 Fullers, on sale at £3.99, also stocked by Waitrose) 4/00

Valdivieso Merlot 1998 Central Valley, Chile
Pleasant, soft, sweetly fruited glugger with chocolatey and leafy fruit. Simple but pleasant: this is reliable new world plonk and makes a good buy in one of the regular promotions at a pound off. (£4.99, Sainsburys) 6/00

Valdivieso Chardonnay 1997, Lontue, Chile
This is a rich, soft, buttery Chardonnay that is nicely poised: there is a savoury edge to the fruit and good balancing acidity. Very good for the price. (£3.99 Tesco) 8/99

Valdivieso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1998
I'm coming to the conclusion that Valdivieso are one of Chile's most reliable producers. A full-flavoured, gutsy, modern-styled red that's very enjoyable, showing sweet, ripe fruit with leafy, herby elements and notes of mint and spicy oak. Good value. Very good (£6.49 Sainsbury) 05/01

Valdivieso Malbec 1998, Central Valley, Chile
On the label: "... a unique and unforgettable wine that will make you wish you had bought another bottle".
Well, not unforgettable, but very good for the price. Red purple with chocolatey, plummy fruit. Soft, but the hollow mid-palate takes away from what is otherwise a nicely put together, concentrated quaffer. (£4.99 Sainsbury) 5/99

Valdivieso Malbec Rose 1999, Central Valley, Chile
Deep orange/red colour. Soft red fruit flavours make it very approachable. Quite alcoholic for a rose (13.5%), but a good glugger none the less. (£4.49 Tesco) 7/00

Valdivieso Reserve Pinot Noir 1996, Lontue, Chile
Deep red with cherry/brick edges; beginning to fade a bit? Strawberry and cherry fruit flavours dominate, with a touch of complexity in the form of some mild farmyard/stinky elements. Dry, with some tannins. Pleasant but not outstanding. (£7.99 Bibendum) 5/00

Valdivieso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Central Valley, Chile
A concentrated red/purple colour, this has an inviting nose of ripe cassis and sweet oak. On the palate it has a lush texture and great concentration, with more seductive, sweet new oak. Three years' bottle age seems to have rounded out wine nicely. It's pleasant, impressive stuff in an up-front style, but beware if you aren't a fan of this fruit-forward, oaky new world style. Very good+ 12/00

Vistasur Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Central Valley, Chile
Deep purple black colour, with a really odd green, vegetal nose. It's all cabbagey on the palate, too. Poor effort. (Majestic £4.49) 8/00

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