A wine lover can’t really go wrong with Chilean reds: they often boast a complex, satisfying flavor and a reasonable price tag. They’re an affordable alternative to other red wines on the market, largely due to their New World status.
Generally, an Old World wine encompasses any wine that’s produced in Europe or the Middle East, while a New World wine refers to wine that’s made in any other region, such as South America. Unlike Old World wines, New World wines tend to be bolder and have a higher alcohol content. There are fewer restrictions in New World wine-making, which means there’s more room for experimentation.
Even if you aren’t able to explore Chile yourself any time soon, there’s no reason you can’t get a taste of the country’s best reds. If you’re looking for a great-tasting, affordable alternative to Old World reds, give the following seven Chilean reds a try. All of the following reds should be available at your local wine shop or online for $25 or less.
7 Great, Affordable Chilean Reds
Antiyal Pura Fe Carmenère, Maipo Valley, 2015
If you’re new to Carmenère, it is a Bordeaux-variety grape that is now almost exclusively grown in Chile. Carmenère typically produces deep, soft red wines with a fuller body. This red contains a mix of licorice, prune, and blackberry flavors, with a hint of chocolate.
Viña el Principal Calicanto Red, Maipo Valley, 2014
This full-bodied red blend is dominantly a mix of Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon, with traces of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. It’s flavor and aroma is more complex, featuring plum and clove flavors with an aroma of black olives and marzipan, to name a few. However, it’s important to note that this wine doesn’t necessarily improve with age — be sure to drink it by 2022 to ensure it maintains its rich and complex flavor.
Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Viñedo Apalta Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, 2014
Chile is perhaps best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. Because of Chile’s dry and warm climate, this particular grape type has thrived in the region, so this is a definite must-have for any wine lover. This full-bodied red has an earthy and jammy aroma with plum, blackberry, and fig flavors that are sure to pack a punch. Like the previous red, you’ll want to drink this wine by a specific date — 2025, to be exact.
Calcu Reserva Especial Malbec, Colchagua Valley, 2014
Malbec — similarly to Carmenère — originated in France, but now flourishes in South America, where it is an extremely popular red in both Chile and Argentina. This specific Malbec is extremely complex in aroma and flavor, with a berry and herbal aroma and flavors of oak, berry, spicy plum, and chocolate. This medium-bodied red also has an energetic and acidic palate.
Polkura Syrah, Marchigue, 2015
This full-bodied red, too, has a complex aroma and intense, acidic flavor. Its aroma hints of oak, licorice, and coconut, with flavors of chocolate, blackberries, and dark spices. For optimal flavor, drink this red by 2023.
Casa Donoso Sucesor Red, Maule Valley, 2013
This red blend contains 80 percent Carmenère and 20 percent Malbec. With this red, you’ll note a mix of spice, raspberry and oak, with hints of tobacco and chocolate. Unlike some of the others on this list, this medium-bodied blend has a more delicate flavor. Like the Polkura Syrah, you’ll want to drink this blend by 2023.
Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley, 2015
This is another fine, fuller-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, with a dark aroma that suggests floral and berry elements. It has hickory, berry, chocolate, and mocha flavors, with a chewier sensation due to the higher tannin content.
If you’ve hesitated to try a Chilean red because you weren’t sure where to start, try starting with these seven wines. They’ll be a great addition to any wine lovers’ collection.