I am happy to announce and proud to be the host of the 52nd installment of Wine Blogging Wednesday. If you are new to Wine Blogging Wednesday and don’t know what it’s about, it’s one day each month when wine bloggers from around the world all write about a common theme. Lenn Thompson at Lenndevours started it all back in 2004 and it’s still going strong.
And our theme for December 2008 is Value Reds from Chile! The rules are any red wine from Chile for $20 or less. If you can find a really good one for closer to $10, better yet.
As anyone who has visited this site knows, I love a great deal. Don’t we all? Well… Chile is a region that I’ve become more and more interested in for great wines at reasonable prices.
Back in the early 1990′s I had my first experience with Chilean wine and it was a horrible experience. I swore off all Chilean wine for years. But late last year I started trying Chilean wine again and I was amazed with what I found.
Since the early 90′s Chile has been undergoing a wine revival. Improvements in winemaking practices and knowledge have both grown significantly in the past 15 years and it’s showing in the quality of their wines. This first drew wide public attention in 2004 at a now famous blind tasting in Berlin where 36 highly regarded European wine journalists, writers and buyers gave top honors to two Chilean wines: Viñedo Chadwick 2000 and Seña 2001. Now while you won’t find these two wines on the bargain shelf, they do represent the improvements in quality coming from Chile in general.
Chile is sometimes referred to as a viticultural paradise. I’ve heard some people refer to Colchagua Valley as the next Napa Valley due to the geography. In reality, there is quite a bit of diversity in Chile’s wine making regions. The Pacific coastline runs the length of the country. Coastal hills lead into the Central Valley and the Andes boarder the east side of the valley, creating a variety of conditions.
The various climates, geography and governmental distinctions result in several regional designations. Most wines that you’re likely to find will be from Aconcagua, Cachapoal, Casablanca, Colchagua, Curicó, Maipo and Maule. But you’ll get extra points if you bring a wine to this event from one of the lesser known regions such as Bío Bío, Elqui, Itata, Limarí, Malleco or San Antonio.
Many of the red wines from Chile are big and bold! Some argue that they are too big, but that is changing and we’re seeing more variety and experimentation with wine styles in recent years. Most of what you’ll find in the value wine category will be Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere and Syrah. You may also find some Pinot Noir and Malbec. Other red varieties are being produced, but mostly on an experimental basis.
If you want to participate, just pick your Chilean red wine to review and write it up on Wednesday, December 10. Then send an e-mail with a link to your review to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t have a blog but want to participate why not start a blog? It’s free and easy to get started at http://wordpress.com or http://www.blogger.com.
If you want to do your homework on Chilean wine, here are a few resources.
- Wikipedia on Chilean Wine
- Harvest reports, history and more at Wines of Chile
- Chilean wine regions on ChileDiscover
- New York Sun article on Chilean Wine
- Food and Wine Magazine on Chile’s Wine Visionaries