Chilean Sauvignon Blanc wines rated by Decanter with four and five stars generally fall in the mid-range price category, an affordable delicacy for connoisseurs and consumers alike. Likewise, Decanter’s two- and three-star recommendations represent quality wines to complement any meal or social gathering.
See the June 2012 issue of Decanter Magazine for the full list of Sauvignon Blanc wines and panel ratings, and begin to experience Chile’s sensational contributions to wine-lovers around the world.
There is a saying in Chile that even the destitute drink good wine here.
A recent Decanter Magazine panel of expert wine tasters affirmed Chile’s reputation for harmonizing quality and affordability while still producing revolutionary Sauvignon Blanc products. According to panel member and Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Chair for Chile Peter Richard MW, “Chile should be right up there on a consumer’s radar for great-value Sauvignon Blanc, at all price ranges.”
In any hemisphere, Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal wine for brisk autumn afternoons and sultry late-spring evenings. This succulent wine grape thrives in Chile’s unique geography and various coastal climate zones, sheltered by the Andes and nourished by the sea. The mastery of Chile’s numerous vineyards in manipulating the Sauvignon Blanc is evident in the results of the Decanter tasting experiment.
Decanter’s panel considered factors such as fruit quality, agricultural ingenuity, reduction, residual sugar, acidity, vintage, and barrel wood. Chilean Sauvignon Blanc varieties succeeded almost universally, but the Casablanca wine region produced more winners for 2011.
Panelist Juan Carlos Rincón enthused that he “saw much more ambition in this tasting,
especially from the western part of Casablanca, and in the coastal hills – fantastic minerality and concentration coming from there.” Rincón “also loved the more tangy, fresh styles that are more usually associated with the area.”
Santa Rita’s Reserva 2011 and Casas del Bosque Gran Reserva 2011, both from Casablanca Valley, were deemed by Decanter as five-star wines and Decanter Award winners. Following closely behind, Valdivieso, Single Vineyard, Wild Fermented 2011 from Leyda Valley and Casas del Bosque Pequeñas Producciones 2011 from Casablanca Valley are highly recommended with 4 stars.
Casablanca was the “clear winner” chosen by the tasting panel, but Decanter’s Richards notes, “This tasting was just for wines from Casablanca, San Antonio, Aconcagua Costa and Leyda – the heartland of modern, quality-driven Chilean Sauvignon.” Regions such as Limarí, Elqui, Huasco, Maule, Alto Cachapoal and Colchagua are all solid competitors in the Chile wine market as well.
2011 was an especially good year for Sauvignon Blanc in Chile. Although exquisite wines are produced each season and in each region, Richards recommends, “In general, it’s usually worth finding the most recent vintage you can. This is not because the older wines fall apart – far from it in the best cases – but more because the rapidity of change and improvement in Chile is such that the country’s wines, including its Sauvignon Blanc, seem to improve with each harvest.”