Wine Reviews: Sauvignon Blanc from Chile

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-09-2022

Talinay Vineyard. Credit: Tabali

I’ve long wanted to travel to Chile, because it would be easy to combine some of my favorite passions in life into one big trip. I’d tour vineyards and meet with winemakers, take surf treks to remote reef breaks, an expedition into the mountains, enjoy birdwatching adventures in coastal estuaries. I have not clue if these goals will be realized, but I sure hope so.

In the meantime, everything is so expensive! But Sauvignon Blanc from Chile isn’t — and a lot of it is pretty dang good. Sauv Blanc is Chile’s second most widely-planted variety (more than 37,000 acres under vine), and the grape is planted all over the country’s diverse wine regions. There’s way too much to try and summarize (thousands of miles of coastal and mountainous terrain), but considering the narrow stretch of the country, they share coastal influences, which keep the wines vibrant and delicious. If you like hints of sea salt in your Sauv Blanc like I do, you can get a lot of that here.

Another thing I respect is how the country’s wine consortium created a sustainability code that addresses different environmental practices, and it’s been adopted by producers that represent about 80% of the country’s exports. And while there are some well-known supermarket brands I’ve seen around for years, I’m finding more and more Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from new-to-me producers popping up, and I like that.

For beach reads, octopus salads, baked flounder, a big tray of oysters, and a host of other summertime activities, Chilean Sauv Blancs would fit the bill very nicely. And most of the wines are in that $20 range, and offer a lot more depth and complexity than a lot of other similarly-priced Sauv Blancs from other countries. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted single-blind.

2021 Viña Cono Sur Sauvignon Blanc Organic Chile
SRP: $11
Inviting and bright aromatics with lemons, green apple and white peach, along with some welcomed honey, and plenty of white floral tones. The palate shows pleasant creaminess with chunks of pineapple and peach, drizzled with lime. The honeyed cream tones help balance out the zestier, more floral and chalky tones, stays focused. Really solid for the price. (87 points IJB)

2020 Concha y Toro Sauvignon Blanc Casillero del Diablo Reserva Chile, Colchagua Valley
SRP: $12
The lemon and green apple fruit aromas are lively, blending well with these sliced cucumber and ramp leaf elements, some honeysuckle and limestone. Bright acidity, light-bodied but some nice depth to the green apple, lemon and kiwi fruit. Notes of quinine, chalk and talc add some complexity, with some minerals on the finish. Quite nice and a lot going on here for the price. (87 points IJB)

2020 Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $18
A nice aromatic mix of floral and spicy tones (lemongrass, ginger, white pepper, dandelion) over top of lemon, kiwi and ruby red grapefruit. The palate sports juicy white peaches, drizzled with lime, on a zesty, clear frame. The notes of white pepper, oregano and white flowers add a nice spicy complexity. A pretty, vibrant Sauv Blanc. (88 points IJB)

2020 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $21
The nose is zesty and chalky with sea salt, lemon verbena and honeysuckle sprinkled over green apples and limes. The palate is crisp and flinty yet sports a nice creaminess. The apple, green pear and lime fruit is crunchy but juicy, and mixed with pleasant notes of mint, sliced cucumber, honeysuckle. The texture on the palate, and the balance with the bright acidity, is delightful. This wine punches above its weight and would be a killer by-the-glass wine on an oyster bar list. (89 points IJB)

2020 Matetic Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc EQ Coastal Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $20
Spicy aromatics of chives, leeks and mint over top of white cherry and lime, some white pepper and honeysuckle. The palate is crisp and floral with a punchy and zesty appeal and green apple, kiwi and lime fruit. Crisp, flinty, sea salty, this has a light and salad-friendly appeal, but shows solid complexity as well. (88 points IJB)

2020 Morandé Sauvignon Blanc Gran Reserva Chile, Casablanca Valley
SRP: $20
A lime-infused aromatic display of creamy peaches, white flowers, honey and some dandelion and mint. Creamy texture, bright acidity, there’s a nice lime and orange element that blends well with creamy honey and almond (there’s some barrel-fermentation here). The limestone, sea salt and floral tones mix really well with the creamier elements. The racy nature of some Chilean Sauv Blanc can take well to some barrels, and this rides that balance very well. (90 points IJB)

2020 Amayna (Viña Garces Silva) Sauvignon Blanc Chile, San Antonio Valley, Leyda Valley
SRP: $25
This one is really perfumed and fresh with lilies and dandelion over top of lemons and white peach, with some hints of white pepper and sliced cucumber. Nicely textured on a medium-bodied frame with crisp acidity and flavors of white peach and pineapple. Notes of celery, white pepper and fresh cut flower stems add complexity. Love the flinty note on the textured finish. (89 points IJB)

2021 Montes Sauvignon Blanc Limited Selection Chile, San Antonio Valley, Leyda Valley
SRP: $15
The aromas pop with lime, papaya and green apple, along with wild leeks, celery seed, sliced jalapeno and honeysuckle, which makes for this spicy, inviting appeal. Racy acidity on a medium-bodied frame with crunchy green apples and lemon, some ruby red grapefruit. The accents of spicy bell pepper and mint leaf blend well with the orange blossom and honeysuckle tones. Ripe but racy, pleasantly spicy. Another really solid value. (88 points IJB)

2021 Viña Koyle Sauvignon Blanc Costa la Flor Chile, San Antonio Valley
SRP: $18
Peachy keen aromatics with lime zest, with notes of nettle, honeysuckle, mint and sliced green onion. The palate is crisp and tart on a light frame a slightly honeyed texture blends well with the peaches and orange peel fruit. Salty, flinty, minerals, crisp and clear, this is a really good sushi by-the-glass kinda wine, offering crowd-pleasing deliciousness and value. (88 points IJB)

2021 Tabalí Sauvignon Blanc Talinay Chile, Limarí Valley
SRP: $24
Aromatically this is citrus-infused brightness with lemon and limes, topped in celery seed, white flowers and sea salt. Focused and crisp on the palate, light and vibrant with flavors of lemon and orange peel. Notes of sliced green onion and mint, some chalk dust and dandelion. Crisp, punchy, light and salad-friendly goodness. (88 points IJB)

2019 Ventisquero Sauvignon Blanc Grey Glacier Longomilla Vineyard ­ Chile, Atacama, Valle de Huasco
SRP: $25
Really juicy on the nose with mango, papaya and lime, a lovely tropical blend, along with honey, yellow flowers, some wildflower and mint tones. The palate has a really pretty and creamy texture, lively acidity, the balance is on point, and the fruit shows pretty guava, peach and lemon. Vigorous and energetic, this has a streak of mineral, slate, seashells, with complex floral and chive tones. Focused, impressive depth. (90 points IJB)

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