Wines from Chile are being featured in Pennsylvania Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores this month, so it’s a great time to get acquainted with the region. Chile is a virtual Garden of Eden for winemakers, able to offer the American wine drinker better wine for the dollar on average than most countries can dream of. The nation’s unique geography is what sets these wines apart. Its west-coast location provides ample sunshine in the growing season, as California’s does, but it is the uncommon terrain of its coastal valleys, stacked like Jenga blocks, that boosts quality potential and mitigates costs. They are so narrow their vines can be cooled by both the mountains and the sea, an ideal circumstance for making wines in the classic French style, where flattering food is wine’s highest purpose. Almost all of Chile’s wines are made from grapes of French origin, mostly from the Bordeaux region, most notably cabernet sauvignon, as with this reliable wine from Montes. It’s rare to find such a well-made combination of powerful blackberry flavors and brisk herbal aromatics, only subtly dusted with French oak, at this low a price, so snag a bottle while you can.
Montes cabernet sauvignon, from the Colchagua Valley, Chile; $10.99 ( regularly $13.99, sale price through Oct. 1) PLCB Item #4741; Also available at: Canal’s Bottlestop in Marlton, $8.09; Canal’s in Mt. Ephraim, $8.99.