Chilean Wine Wows Me Again

Earlier this year I made the observation that I’ve tasted a lot of wine from Washington. While I’m a huge fan of Washington Wine, I made the comment that I needed to expand my horizons and tasting experiences. So far, I’ve been fortunate this year to enjoy wine from Bordeaux, South Africa, Beaujolais (notes coming soon), Chile, and Italy. In 2010 only 1 non-American wine made my top 10 list – a Chilean red blend of Syrah, Cabernet, Carmenere, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Mourvedre. Chile makes a lot of wine. In fact, they are the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world. In all, I’ve officially explored about 20 Chilean wines in regular tastings and Wines of Chile tastings.

I’m impressed by the focus on engaging wine bloggers to “get the word out” about the various regions of Chile. While I recently participated in a Chilean wine tasting called #redblends, the following wines were sent by Vina Santa Carolina winery. With over 125 years of history and heritage in seven Chilean wine regions, Vina Santa Carolina showcases quality wine at a value.

The NectarView

2010 Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir

Approximately right in the middle of the long narrow country of Chile is the region of Maule Valley. This 100% Pinot Noir is fairly substantive in the glass with a thicker than expected crimson color. The cooler climate Pinot starts off like many of the Chilean wines I’ve had lately with hints of burnt rubber. After letting this wine sit for about an hour the magic shines through. A very soft perfumed blueberry is shy in the glass. Subtle candy aromas come out as well. In the mouth the wine is soft on the front palate but offers a touch of sweetness, light tannin and pepper on the back end and finish. The 14.5% alcohol is well balanced with the acidity. A little research shows that this wine is available online for around $10. A fantastic value even at $20. Easily a 3+/5 and a tremendous buy for any Pinot Noir lover.

  • 88pts Robert Parker and Best Buy from Wine Enthusiast

2008 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Cabernet Sauvignon

Hailing from the HOT Maipo Valley is the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The weight of the muscular heavy bottle shouts strength and power. In the glass the wine is dark, thick and inky. The 12 months in new French oak help to impart a nicely balanced aroma of dark chocolate and toast. EVEN more aromas of dark red fruit jump out of the glass along with hints of holiday baking spices (think pumpkin).  In the mouth this wine is a full bodied delight of fruit, cedar and oak. While lacking an evolving flavor profile the straight forward approach is tastefully done. Put Napa on this wine and you’ve got a price tag of $39. This Chilean wine comes in at under $20. 3+/5


  • 88 Pts Wine Enthusiast

2008 Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmenere

Chile’s flagship grape, previously mistaken for Merlot, shines bright in this wine. The 12 months in French oak are not overpowering and offer the perfect balance of fruit and thickness. After a brief decanting the wine loses the notable burnt rubber aroma and gives way to a beautiful minty blackberry aroma. Smelling this wine was almost as enjoyable as drinking it. The wine is dark and intense in the glass. A slight herbaciousness on the nose gives way to a very complex flavor of red fruit, baking spice and thick plum. A light tannin joins the medium finish on the back end. I often describe wine as being ‘one note wonders’ or just offering ‘two dimensions.’ This Carmenere is the full package of aroma and complex flavor. Again, under $20, scores a strong 4/5.

  • Robert Parker 90 Pts

In conclusion, these are three wines that I will not only keep my eyes out for, they are wines I will strongly endorse in the good tasting under $20 range. Go Chile – keep up the great work!


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

4 comments on “Chilean Wine Wows Me Again

  1. Scott

    Wow, just had this carmenere tonight and also enjoyed it. Chile is one the rise, I must agree.

  2. Constance C

    Sounds like you had a good time with them :) Happy you enjoyed them!!

  3. Monex

    If youre looking for delicious food-friendly wines that are perfect for a variety of occasions try wine from Chile! Chilean red wine often composed of Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon typically offers rich notes of red berries complemented by light spicy notes while white wine from Chile is usually fresh and crisp with bright tropical fruit flavors. …………..This wine is crisp and concentrated with fresh aromas and flavors of melon and citrus.

  4. Guglielmo Rocchiccioli

    I would like to share the tasting notes of this cabernet sauvignon of Santa Carolina.


    VISUAL ANALYSIS: limpid, ruby, quite thick
    OLFACTORY ANALYSIS : intense, complex, fine

    DESCRIPTION : fruity(ripe cherry), distinct scents(wood, mentholated), toasted(sweet tobacco, chocolate), spicy(black pepper), herbaceous(dry grass), flowery(dry petal’s rose)
    GUSTATIVE ANALYSIS : dry, warm, quite soft

    quite fresh, quite tannic, tasty / full

    quite balanced, intense, scarcely persistent(6), fine
    FINAL CONSIDERATIONS : mature, quite harmonious EVALUATION 84

    AGEING: 9 meses barricas de roble

    •The great presence of mineral salts stimulates the olfactory papillas which are captured at the first nose

    •What it is said at the olfactory exam, it is confirmed at the mouth where the sensations are so fitted that it is allowed an approach to the gustative elegance

    •EVOLUTION : mature


    •WINE-FOOD COMBINATION : on every occasion

    •MY PERSONAL OPINION: interesting wine able to drive you to think about the pleasant manners of a Bordeaux wine. In the moment that we are going to give a look at the price we realise that we have made a bargain


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