In the early 2000s, Chilean red wines were liquor-store and bodega staples. Inexpensive magnums of Frontera and diminutive splits lined the aisles like Little Debbie snacks at the dollar store. Their ubiquity followed Yellow Tail, the Australian, kangaroo-labeled bottles that revolutionized dry reds for the masses. Similarly, entry-level Chilean reds offered big-fruit accessibility at single-digit prices. But even then, there was a hint of dimension that distinguished those Chilean wines from their competitors.
The pinot noirs featured here are examples of Chile’s unsung range of fruit expression, terroir-esque beauty and artisanal style. Hands down, these Chilean pinot noir producers are offering indelible character and generous depth for the dollar, filling in the price gap when it comes to pinot noir pearls and pinot noir knock-offs. Whether you are an Old World purist longing for that divine funk, a New World wanderlust craving the comfort of rich flavor, or somewhere in between, there is a bottle here for you.
6 Chilean Pinot Noir Wines to Drink Now
1. 2015 Errazuriz Max Reserva Pinot Noir
What: A lovely value with its amber incense, red cherry, raspberry and strawberry nose. Its savory notes makes the wine airy and ethereal like a Sancerre Rouge.
Where: Whole Foods Market, 12150 Biscayne Boulevard, North Miami; 305-892-5500; wholefoodsmarket.com. $16.
2. 2012 Matetic Corralillo Pinot Noir
What: The nose offers freshly picked raspberries and raspberry bush while cerise cherries and white-peach flavors creep through a satirically succulent minerality. The longer you chill it, the more citrus emerges from the foggy, rust-tinged color.
Where: La Estancia Argentina, 17870 Biscayne Boulevard, Aventura; 305-932-6477; and 1050 Northwest 14th Street, Suite 202, Miami; 305-548-5000; laestanciaweb.com. $17.
3. 2013 Leyda Pinot Noir Lot 21
What: This is like a fuller, rounder Gevrey-Chambertin but with a classic, Chilean pinot allure. The opening palate offers lemon, lime and red-raspberry flavors. After an hour, the nose shifts from black cherries to overripe black fruits and wet red soil. When chilled, it offers sweet, summer stone fruits on the palate, perfect for Miami classics like Haitian pork griot and Cuban medianoches.
Where: Big Game Liquors, 930 South LeJeune Road; 305-569-3040; biggameliquors.com. $45.
4. 2015 Atanea Pinot Noir
What: Its medium body curves around the palate, offering aromas and flavors of red raspberry, red cherry, black tea and blood-orange rind. A brisk minerality is punctuated by cinnamon and allspice on the finish.
Where: La Rue Bistronomie, 3145 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove; 305-774-5929; laruemiami.com. $48.
5. 2012 Villard Le Pinot Noir Grand Vin
What: Big and decadent, this for my New World pinot patriots with its characteristics of raspberry cobbler, gingerbread cookie and vanilla crème. A gorgeous pairing with a summer roll from Phuc Yea: roasted pork, shrimp, Vietnamese coriander, holy basil, mint, cilantro, cucumber and rice noodles.
Where: Phuc Yea, 7100 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; 305-494-0609; phucyea.com. $52.
6. 2016 Hacienda San Juan Pinot Noir Vino Natural
What: At first, a fresh, clean, strawberry-leaf aroma emerges from the beautiful, violet wine. By day two, there’s shiitake mushrooms, and it’s like sticking your nose in the earth after a long, Miami rain. Raspberry, strawberry and nutmeg jewel the velvety texture that offers a cinnamon-y finish.
Where: Lagniappe, 3425 Northeast Second Avenue, Miami; 305-576-0108; lagniappehouse.com. $70.