Support Chile, Drink Wine

As everyone knows, Chile was recently struck by a massive earthquake, one of the most powerful ever recorded. The epicenter of the 8.8 magnitude quake hit just off the coast of the country’s largest wine producing area, the Valle Central which includes the Maule, Cachapoal, Colchagu and Curico valleys.

While it’s still too early to tell the full extent, early reports indicate that the damage to one of the nation’s major industries will be great. With some wineries nearly leveled, many others are reporting massive losses of wine and equipment, as well as damage to buildings. According to Vinas de Chile, an association that represents more than 90 percent of the country’s wineries, losses may reach about $250 million, or about 12.9 percent of 2009’s production.

Although it may seem trivial to worry about the country’s wine industry after such a devastating event, wine is an important segment of Chile’s economy, particularly their exports to the U.S. You can help Chile’s economy recover from the earthquake and keep Chileans employed by going out and purchasing a bottle or two of Chilean wine. Here are just a few of the delicious and affordable wines that Chile has to offer:

Los Vascos Chardonnay

In the glass, Los Vascos Chardonnay is a brilliant clear yellow with slight golden highlights. The bouquet is fresh and lively with enticing aromas of citrus zest, melon and banana and just a touch of hazelnut. Light on the palate, this refreshing Chardonnay offers up flavors of citrus, pear, kiwi and tropical fruits. The finish is clean and crisp. Serve well with shellfish, grilled chicken, fruit salads or as an aperitif.
88 points – Steven Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
87 points – Wine Enthusiast
Approx Retail $12

Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon

On the nose, Root:1 Cabernet is dense and immensely concentrated with aromas of blackcurrant jam, crème de cassis and vanilla with warm undertones of tobacco and mocha. Full-bodied and supple in the mouth with rich ripe berry fruit flavors of blackberry and red currant. Smooth oak provides a velvety texture and a soft finish. The elegant, lush, ripe fruit flavors of Root:1 Cabernet Sauvignon make it the perfect match for full-flavored cheeses, pasta with red sauce, steak, ribs, and chocolate.
Approx Retail $12

Casillero del Diablo Carménère

Casillero del Diablo Carménère is a deep, dark crimson red in color with luscious aromas of blackberries, plums and chocolate with hints of coffee. The aromas are echoed on the palate along with a rich spiciness, generously framed by toasty American oak. This medium-bodied red is soft and well-balanced with firm tannins. Casillero del Diablo Carménère pairs brilliantly with spicy meat dishes or rich tomato based dishes. Also a good accompaniment to ripe cheeses such as Gouda, Gruyere or a dry goat cheese.
88 Points – Wine Enthusiast, Top 100 Best Buys 2008
88 Points – Wine Spectator, Top Value 2008
Approx Retail $13

NJ Wine Centers, Plaza Liquor