★★★Exceptional ★★Excellent ★Very Good
Prices are approximate. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.
For now, cabernet sauvignon is still king in Chile. Syrah, carignan and even pinot noir may excel in some of the newer wine regions, adding excitement and variety, but cabernet’s prominence is not likely to be challenged. Brands like Concha y Toro, especially its Casiliero del Diablo label and the super-inexpensive Frontera line, and Montes remain consistently good values. Here are some other Chilean reds that are worth exploring.
Aconcagua Valley, Chile, $19
Here’s a lush, ripe cabernet with black currant, orange peel and plum flavors spiced with nutmeg and a hint of clove from oak. It can masquerade as a more expensive, expansive cabernet.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Subway Liquors II. Available in Maryland at Beer, Wine & Co. in Bethesda; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Town Hall Liquor in College Park; on the list at Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars in McLean; Cork & Fork in Gainesville; Crystal City Wine Shop and Twisted Vines Bottleshop in Arlington; Out of Site Wines in Vienna; Red, White & Bleu in Falls Church; Wine Cabinet in Reston; Unwined in Alexandria.
Cachapoal Valley, Chile, $40
This is unusual and exotic: spicy and rich with racy cranberry, raspberry and black cherry fruit, plus a hint of orange peel and ripe melon. It is in short supply and can be hard to find; look also for De Martino’s Legado series of wines, priced at about $20, and its 347 Vineyards line, at about $13, both of which are more widely available.
J.W. Sieg: Available in the District at Batch 13, Local Vine Cellar. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
★1 / 2
Maipo Valley, Chile, $13
Often found on sale, this is an excellent young, fruity cabernet that will pair well with burgers and pizza; in other words, a wine for casual everyday dining. Cousino-Macul’s Antiguas Reservas ($20) is a perennially outstanding cabernet.
Winebow: Available in the District at Best D.C. Supermarket, Burka’s Wine & Liquor, Calvert Woodley, Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits, Congressional Liquors, Continental Wine & Liquor, McReynold’s Liquor, Morris Miller Wine & Liquor, PanMar Wine & Liquor, Pearson’s, Rodman’s, S&R Liquors, Sheffield Wine & Liquor Shoppe, U Wine & Beer, Victor’s Liquors, Virginia Market; on the list at Breadsoda, Cactus Cantina, Cafe Citron, Coppi’s Organic, El Chalan, Lauriol Plaza. Widely available in Maryland, including at Corridor Wine & Spirits in Laurel, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City, Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore. Widely available in Virginia, including at various Harris Teeter, Total Wine & More and Wegmans locations.
★1 / 2
Colchagua Valley, Chile, $10
This carmenere has some of the leafy character that defines the grape, but it is balanced by dark-fruit flavors, a hint of smoky earth and medium body that make it an attractive wine — and even more attractive at this price.
M Touton Selection: Available in the District at Bloomingdale Liquor, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Paul’s of Chevy Chase, Sherry’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Subway Liquor II. Available in Maryland at Arundel Mills Wine & Spirits; Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits in Annapolis; Beer, Wine & Co. and Cork 57 Beer and Wine in Bethesda; Country Boy Market in Wheaton; Nick’s of Clinton in Waldorf; Old Farm Liquors in Frederick; Quench! Beer-Wine-Deli in Silver Spring; Rodman’s in White Flint; Rosewick Wine & Spirits in La Plata; Silesia Liquors in Fort Washington; Town Hall Liquor in College Park. Available in Virginia at Chain Bridge Cellars and the Vineyard in McLean, Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Crystal City Wine Shop and Screwtop in Arlington, Rick’s Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria.
★1 / 2
Aconcagua Valley, Chile, $17
A spicy syrah, it has ripe blueberry and black-fruit flavors that lend a hint of sweetness. Don’t be deceived: This is a dry wine and an excellent partner to grilled foods.
Nice Legs: Available in the District at MacArthur Beverages. Available in Maryland at 1311 Beer & Wine in Mount Airy and Viniferous in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Leesburg Vintner, Norm’s Beer & Wine in Vienna, Wine House in Fairfax; on the list at Fireworks Pizza in Arlington and Leesburg.
★1 / 2
Colchagua Valley, Chile, $14
It’s hard to find an impressive pinot noir from anywhere that’s under $20, but this one fits the bill. It’s on the darker side of pinot, with a hint of earthiness that will appeal to fans of Old World pinot and some dark-fruit flavors that should attract California fans.
Bacchus: Available in the District at Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, Harry’s Reserve Fine Wine & Spirits, Hayden’s Liquor, MacArthur Beverages, Safeway in Georgetown, Union Wine & Liquors, Whole Foods Market in Glover Park; on the list at 1905, Equinox, Open City, Tryst Coffeehouse and Bar. Available in Maryland at Edgewater Liquors, North Charles Fine Wine & Spirits in Baltimore, Pine Orchard Wine in Ellicott City.