As the Northern Hemisphere enjoys long Summer's evenings, Amanda Barnes brings you a quintessential guide to Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, the wine regions and pairings, so you can enjoy this delicious white wine all Summer long!
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the top tipples for Summer, and Chile offers a buffet of different styles and flavours from around the country. If you are looking for a refreshing white this summertime, take a look at our quintessential guide to Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with some local pairings to inspire you and hopefully make your mouth water a little...
Perhaps the most famous regions for Chilean Sauvignon Blanc are those on the coast. Casablanca, San Antonio and Limari and quickly becoming top spots for worldclass Sauvignon Blanc. The cooling effect of the Humbolt current and Pacific Ocean doesn't stop there though - you'll find coastal Sauvignon Blanc in Colchagua, Aconcagua and even Elqui to some extent. The cooler temperatures that the sea breeze and morning fog offer create refreshing styles of Sauvignon Blanc with high acidity, bright herbal and fruit flavours and a salty essence making them perfect for seafood.
Pairing: Machas a la Parmesana A quintessentially Chilean dish, machas are the local clams you'll find all along the coast. A light pink colour with a slightly sweet taste and slightly chewy texture, the Chilean way to serve them is lightly grilled with parmesan cheese over the top. The salty parmesan and sweet clams are perfect with a chilled young Sauvignon Blanc from the coastal regions. Chilean oysters wouldn't go amiss either!
Sauvignon Blanc isn't limited to the coast, there are some super Sauvignon Blancs coming from the Andes regions in Elqui and Cachapoal in particular. Here you'll find more medium-bodied wines with tropical notes like passionfruit. Some winemakers are also barrel aging their Sauvignon Blanc for a more complex style.
Pairing: Sea urchin Chile has a delicious range of fish and shellfish coming from its long coastline, and one of the highlights is sea urchin. When Jancis Robinson MW OBE came to Chile last year, her favourite pairing was a more complex barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc from Cachapoal with Chilean sea urchin.
The warmer central valleys of Curico, Colchagua, Maipo and Maule are home to some food-friendly, easy drinking Sauvignon Blancs with more delicate aromas matched with a medium-body and lighter acidity. You'll find a wide range from the Central Valleys and usually at a very pocket-friendly price point, making them great Sauvignon Blancs to enjoy during the week or over a lunch with friends.
Pairing: Ceviche A national dish, ceviche is a refreshing fish dish made by marinading the freshest local catch in lime juice and serving with red onion, coriander, chilli pepper and avocado occassionally. Herbal and citrus-sy, you'll either want to pair this flavour bomb with an equally aromatic Sauvignon Blanc from the coast, or because the ceviche delivers a lot of acidity you can try some of the more mellow and round Sauvignon Blancs from the Entre Cordilleras regions for this pairing.
Southern Chile & Patagonia
An up and coming region for Sauvignon Blanc is far south in Bio Bio, Malleco and even down to Osorno. Here the wetter, milder weather produces more mineral Sauvignon Blanc with a fine elegance. It is also a great region for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Pairing: Patagonian spider crab Further down south, Chile is home to delicious and delicate spider crab which goes perfectly with the more subtle flavours of Patagonian Sauvignon Blanc. Eat it fresh with just a squeeze of lemon, or try one of the top Chilean preparations, 'chupe de centolla' - a creamy and buttery crab stew. The fresh acidity of Sauvignon Blanc helps to cut through the cream, and if you find a creamier version of the wine that has been aged on the lees, it is a winning combination.