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Six superb Cabernets from Chile

We have selected six superb Cabernet Sauvignons from Chile priced from £25 to £135, following an extensive ‘blind’ tasting of new releases from the country earlier this year.


  • Producer: Santa Rita
  • Region: Maipo Andes
  • Vintage: 2021
  • Grape varieties: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Approx. retail price: £25
  • Score: 92

A fairly restrained style of Maipo Cabernet with notes of rosemary and blackcurrant, roasted coffee and a touch of raspberry leaf, complemented by flavours of red and dark berry fruit, some caramel and toast, along with peppery spice, and a touch of cool capsicum. Structurally, while there is fleshy fruit, there is a slightly firm tannin on the finish.


  • Producer: Santa Ema
  • Region: Maipo Andes
  • Country: Chile
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Grape varieties: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carmenère, 8% Cabernet Franc
  • ABV: 14%
  • Approx. retail price: £50
  • Score: 96

This top wine from Santa Ema, using Alto Maipo Cabernet, Carmenère and Cabernet Franc, has real and immediate appeal, with inviting aromatics of toast and vanilla, cedar and raspberry, along with concentrated blackcurrant. In the mouth, it doesn’t disappoint, with similarly attractive flavours, and a mouthfeel that’s ripe but not too heavy, and with a freshness too. In terms of flavours, there’s soft fleshy fruit, from raspberry to plums, blackcurrant to cherry, creamy vanilla and cigar box, peppery spice, and firm but fine tannin to give a dry finish. A pleasure to taste.


  • Producer: Vik
  • Region: Cachapoal Valley, Millahue,
  • Vintage: 2020
  • Grape varieties: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Cabernet Franc
  • ABV: 14.9%
  • Approx. retail price: £100
  • Score: 96+

This top expression from Vik in Colchagua’s Millahue Valley is highly impressive, but also extremely youthful. Aromatically, it’s still showing lots of characters from more than two years in barrels, from coconut husk and vanilla pod, then sweet ripe red and dark berry fruit. In the mouth, it’s deliciously juicy, with fleshy red fruit, and concentrated blackcurrant, complemented by some cherry and plum, cracked black pepper, cinnamon and cedar. Structurally, the wine is surprisingly lively, but certainly woody and tannic, with a dry, chewy finish. In other words, one that’s been built to lay down for a decade or more.


  • Producer: Calcu & Maquis
  • Region: Marchigue – Colchagua
  • Country: Chile
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Grape varieties: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carmènere
  • ABV: 14%
  • Approx. retail price: £23
  • Score: 94+

This higher-end expression from Calcu, using its best plots of Cabernet from Colchagua, is a serious wine. Richly scented with blackcurrant, cedar and toast, it has a palate with plenty of concentrated cassis, suggestive of a Cabernet with power and purity. Allied to this are notes of peppercorn, rosemary, and cigar box. It’s extremely tannic too, giving dryness, and making for an impressive, serious, structured red, that will undoubtedly last for a long time if well cellared.


  • Producer: Los Vascos
  • Region: Colchagua
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Grape varieties: 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah
  • ABV: 14.5%
  • Approx. retail price: £45
  • Score: 95+

This latest vintage of Los Vasco’s flagship expression, Le Dix, is as good as ever, showcasing the quality attainable of Cabernet in Colchagua. There’s red and dark berry fruit, cassis and cream, then black pepper, cedar and sweet tobacco, followed by a hint of fresh rosemary. Intensely-flavoured and densely-structured, there’s lots of fruit and plenty of tannin, making this a serious wine that tastes as though it’s pretty much just been bottled. So, while delicious and generous, but not without elegance, it would benefit for ageing a little longer in bottle before consuming – and should you wait, it will definitely reward you for doing so.


  • Producer: Lapostolle
  • Region: Apalta (Colchagua)
  • Vintage: 2020
  • Grape varieties: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ABV: 15%
  • Approx. retail price: £135
  • Score: 96

This special and rare wine from 110-year-old ungrafted Cabernet in Apalta exhibits appealing layers of scent, from blackcurrant and cherry to toast, apple and spice. As one might expect from such old vines, there’s plenty of structure, with masses of dry firm tannin, and concentrated fruit too, from black berries to plums, followed by pepper, toast and dark chocolate, as well as a touch of balsamic. The wall of tannins would benefit from softening over time, but this is a powerful wine in fruit and structure – and barrel influence – and therefore exhibits a balance too: everthing is generous.

How the wines were chosen

The wines featured in this selection were taken from some of the leading producers in Chile. Wines of Chile asked them to submit no more than two wines for sampling. The wineries put forward commercially available samples that they were most proud of, representing new and exciting bottles, along with the latest vintages of established labels. The wines are listed in the order they were tasted, which was arranged by variety and region. All the samples were assessed blind. The bottles listed above are the white wines from the tasting.

For a full report on the Chilean wine scene, and to read about all the top-rated drops from the tasting, please see the September issue of the drinks business

Read more

Seven wonderful white wines from Chile

Five great Carmenères from Chile

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