Chile

Althought Chilean wines have been in the U.S. market for years, Chile always been associated with low-end, bulk produced wines. Most vineyards had been planted in the wrong areas with no incentives for making great wine. Recently we have seen a migration to areas like the Casablanca Valley which just begins to fringe on some of the best wines the country has to offer. Look to Chile for Cabernet, Syrah, Carmenere, and blends for the reds.

Chardonnay is the main white to look for now that they've figured out the use of French barriques. Sauvignon Blanc had been a struggle since they are using "Sauvignonasse" which means "Sauvignon-like" but has no relation to Sauvignon Blanc. My advice is to stay away from the grape until they figure it out. At best they have been inconsistent.

Areas to look for:

Colchagua Valley, Maipo Valley, and emerging areas like Casablanca Valley

Premium Houses

Don Melchor, Montes

Houses that won't Break the Bank

Arboleda, Concha y Toro, Montes, Fournier, Houras de Pirque

Red Wines

Urban Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Root I 2008

Arboleda Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

Arboleda Carmenere 2007

Montes Alpha Carmenere 2006

Montes Alpha Syrah 2006