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UK No.1 for Chilean Wines

With so many Chilean wines to choose from at similar price points, Chris Ashworth, Assistant Manager at Majestic Leeds Central, gives us his run down of the best out there…

The UK is the biggest export market for Chilean wines and with good reason too! We all enjoy beautiful tasting wines which offer value for our hard earned pounds. Chile has this in abundance with a majority of our wines costing between £5 and £10. We did a blind tasting and here are a few of the wines which came out on top when we considered taste and price:

Montes Alpha Merlot 2009 Curicó Valley

Montes Alpha Merlot 2009 Curicó Valley

A beautifully rich and opulent Merlot from this flagship winery. Very much in the Californian style of Merlot it offers deep, plummy flavours smooth tannins and a touch of oak which holds it together elegantly. In the best tradition the wine is bottled unfiltered to preserve all the character of the fruit. Montes is one of my all time favourite Chilean producers and this wine shows off with finesse. The Wine Spectator selected it as both Top Scoring Merlots around the world and also one of the Best Values in Merlot.

Montes 'Limited Selection' Cabernet-Carmenère 2010 Colchagua  Montes ‘Limited Selection’ Cabernet-Carmenère 2010 Colchagua

The Carmenère grape is a revelation for Chile, producing glorious rich flavours difficult to find elsewhere. This wine is blended from premium Cabernet (70%) and Carmenère (30%) grapes and aged in French oak barrels for 7 months. A great example of the pure, fruit-driven style of some of Chile’s best wines. Decanting is recommended for at least 30 minutes just to allow the flavours develop before drinking. It can be cellared for four years or if you’re impatient it can be enjoyed now.

Yali Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Colchagua Valley  Yali Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Colchagua Valley

Yali is the name of the valley where the Ventisquero winery is located. The El Yali is a tidal salt marsh in the central zone of Chile. This ecosystem is especially important with regards to native birds, as it is home to 25% of the bird biodiversity in Chile. An intense ruby colour with aromas of cassis, strawberries and plums. A rich, full-bodied wine with notes of cherry, tobacco and a hint of coffee. Smooth tannins are balanced with a pleasing finish.

Yali Winemaker’s Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Rapel Valley

Yali Winemaker's Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Rapel Valley

Grapefruit, lime and peach aromas leap from the glass, followed with crisp, citrus flavours on the palate. A refreshing acidity and zingy finish make this perfect drinking either on its own or with light seafood dishes. We need to remember that although New Zealand has got some great Sauvignon Blanc, it is by no means the only place. This is perfect on its own, with food and with all occasions, extremely versatile.

Yali Winemaker’s Selection Merlot Rosé 2010

And finally, another Yali and a rosé. Light and fruity with a soft watermelon Yali Winemaker's Selection Merlot Rosé 2010  backbone, embellished with hints of strawberry and cherry on the palate. Rosé has risen up once again with the increase in sunshine and we’ll be pondering which one to get? Merlot makes great wine and is similar to Sauvignon in its likability and versatility. When you produce a merlot rosé it inherits this strength.

Chile is building up an incredible reputation for offering value for money and with our range increasing it will be exciting to see what we get next.

If you’d like to hear more about what Chris and the rest of the Majestic Leeds team are up to you can follow them on twitter @majesticlee or visit their store webpage www.majestic.co.uk/leeds