Part of the enjoyment of travel for me is learning about the food and drink of the country. Chile has been a long time producer of wine. Grapevines were brought to Chile around the same time as they were brought to California by Spanish explorers. They have long been known for their red wine. Unfortunately, there have been numerous wines releases that are cheap and not that good. Recently, there has been a lot of investment in modernizing and creating low yield high quality grapes. There has also been a lot of international investment from French and US vintner.
Cabernet Sauvignon is grape that Chile has the best success. But there is a lot of interesting things being done with Carmenère. Carmenère was originally grown in Bordeaux but the grape was wiped out by phylloxera. Phylloxera has never infected the Chilean vineyards and Carmenère continues to grow. They harvested it like Merlot in the past but recently have improved the harvest so it makes a wonderful wine on its own or blended with Cabernet and Merlot in a Bordeaux blend.
Concha Y Toro is Chile’s largest winery. They have a wide variety of different lines that you can find here in the US. But it is better to seek out some other producers who are doing some interesting wines.
I have liked the wines from Casa Lapostolle. They have consistently been very good. An outstanding Cabernet is Monte Alpha from Viña Monte. Santa Rita is a great low end cabernet. Recently, I have picked up several different wines from Montegras. I had a Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah blend that was very yummy and their high end wine, Ninquén was the hit at our group wine tasting. Some other producers I have enjoyed are, Casa Julia, Veramonte, Odfjell which makes an excellent Carmenère, and 2 Brothers which makes a blend called Big Tattoo Red.
Chile has not been noted for their whites. They do mostly Chardonnary and Sauvignon Blanc. They tend to be bland. One to note is a Sauvignon Blanc from EQ.