Wine recommendations: Chilean whites

Recommendations

★★★Exceptional  ★★Excellent ★Very Good

Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Chile’s whites offer great values, especially in chardonnay and sauvignon blanc from the newer, cool-climate wine regions that have been developed over the past 10 to 20 years.

De Martino Legado Reserva Chardonnay 2010

★★1 / 2

Limari Valley, Chile, $16

This stylish chardonnay is more earth-driven than most New World wines, with nice minerality to complement the pear and apricot fruit. There’s also a hint of wood spice from barrel aging and a nice tropical note. Serious wine at a casual price.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Batch 13, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Local Vine Cellar. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.

Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay 2011

★★

Maipo Valley, Chile, $17

Perennially one of Chile’s best white wines, this chardonnay is overshadowed by Cousino-Macul’s Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon. The price has crept up over the years, but the wine can still be found on sale. Even at full markup it beats most California chards at the same price level. It weaves ripe fruit with crisp acidity and a good measure of spicy oak flavors. (Think baking spices: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice.)

Winebow: Available in the District at Calvert Woodley, Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market Tenleytown. Available in Maryland at Aspen Hill Lottery, Beer & Wine and Veridian Market & Wine in Silver Spring; Chevy Chase Supermarket; Finewine.com in Gaithersburg; Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda; Meridian Market and Wine in North Bethesda; Rodman’s in Wheaton and White Flint; the Wine Harvest in Gaithersburg and Potomac; all Montgomery County Liquor & Wine Stores. Available in Virginia at Wegmans in Fairfax, Gainesville and Woodbridge; Whole Foods Market in Falls Church.

De Martino 347 Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2011

★★

Central Valley, Chile, $13

A blend of sauvignon blancs from Chile’s Central Valley, where a warmer climate gives ripeness, and Casablanca Valley, where coastal influences cool the grapes, helps to preserve acidity and freshness in this entry-level wine. The result is a ripe wine with plenty of citrus and tropical fruit flavors but without aggressive grassiness.

J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Batch 13, Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Local Vine Cellar. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2010

★★

Casablanca Valley, Chile, $19

Errazuriz has marketed this wine as something of a novelty; fermenting a wine with wild or indigenous yeast instead of commercial yeast is no longer unusual. It combines a smoky minerality with ripe fruit and exotic spice from barrel aging. Errazuriz makes two excellent sauvignon blancs from the 2011 vintage: an Estate ($13) and a “Single Vineyard” ($16).

M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits. Available in Maryland at Balducci’s and Georgetown Square Beer & Wine in Bethesda; the Bottle Shop in Potomac; Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery and General Store in Hyattsville; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Town & County Wine Liquor Etc. in Easton. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church; Wine Cabinet in Reston; on the list at Idylwood Grill and Wine Bar in Falls Church.

Falernia Sauvignon Blanc 2010

1 / 2

Elqui Valley, Chile, $12

This wine will appeal to fans of New Zealand sauvignon blanc, with its herbal, grassy edge and its citrusy fruit. Falernia makes a nice dry white from Pedro Ximenez, a grape best known for sweet sherry.

Bacchus: Available in the District at Ace Beverage, Crown Liquors, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor; on the list at Chef Geoff’s Downtown, Oyamel. Available in Maryland at Beer & Wine Co. in Bethesda; on the list at Lia’s in Chevy Chase and Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda.

Cono Sur Riesling 2011

1 / 2

Central Valley, Chile, $10

What a delightful wine, though likely to be underappreciated because Riesling fans don’t think of Chile and assume that any $10 Riesling will be cloyingly sweet. Any sweetness here comes from ripe fruit flavors of peach, apricot, mango and citrus. It’s an orchard in a glass. Asian restaurants should stock up on this inexpensive, versatile charmer.

Bacchus: On the list in the District at Heritage India. Available in Maryland at Frederick Wine House, Spirits of Mount Vernon and Midtown Liquor in Baltimore; on the list at Golden West Cafe, Wine Market and Truffles at the Belvedere in Baltimore.

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