As the temperature drops and we begin to eat heartier meals, we move past the easy-drinking white and rosado wines of summer and start drinking more full-bodied wine, mainly red, along with lunch and dinner. Fall is the perfect time of year to look to the Southern Hemisphere and start drinking wine from Chile.
There's more to find than just their signature grape, Carmenere, in the Chilean aisle of your favorite wine shop. International grape varieties were brought to Chile by French winemakers in the 1850's, and continue to flourish today. Look for Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red blends. With seafood and chicken, we also like to drink a well-oaked Chardonnay. Here are some of the wines from Chile that we will be drinking this fall and winter.
Full-bodied Chardonnay is terrific alongside dishes featuring seafood, chicken, or pork.
Domaines Barons de Rothschild Los Vascos Chardonnay 2012 has tropical fruit and citrus flavors balanced out by overtones of vanilla and almond. It's zippy enough to have with oysters, but rich enough to serve with this pork tenderloin.
Viña Aquitania Sol de Sol Chardonnay 2009 (left) is ged in oak barrels for nine months and has rich flavors of white peach, caramelized pineapple, and toast, with a bright splash on the luscious finish.
Lighter in style than what most of us expect from red wine, Pinot Noir is a good match for meals made with veal, pork, or duck.
Luis Felipe Edwards Marea Valle de Leyda Pinot Noir 2011 has just the right balance of zesty fruit and complex smoke flavors to make it a match for the spicy flavors of chicken mole.
Errazuriz Max Reserva Pinot Noir 2011 offers the freshness of the cold-climate Casablanca Valley along with the depth added by aging in oak barrels. Enjoy with chicken or duck cooked with fruit, such as this grilled mallard duck.
Root 1 Pinot Noir 2012 (right) straddles the divide between energetic fruit flavors and profound spice and toast notes, pairing as well with seafood as it does with pork or veal.
Amayna Pinot Noir 2011 is from Chile's San Antonio Valley. The cooling effects of the Pacific Ocean preserve the bright fruit flavors, and one year in oak adds rounded softness and spice notes.
Next, cabs, carmeneres, and red blends...