Looking for a lighter wine that works as an appetiser or goes well with turkey, salmon or a cheese-based vegetarian dish? Chilean Pinot Noir could be a good option.  This is a wine people either love or hate – partly because it varies tremendously and there are some really awful PN wines out there – but if you find a good one, it’s actually very versatile and food-friendly.

Pinot Noir wine varies enormously depending on how the grapes were grown, what the weather was like and how the wine was made. It can range from light, easy-to-drink, pale ruby coloured wines through to rich, velvety, fuller-bodied, dark ruby treasures. For this tasting panel, we looked at some of the Chilean Pinot Noirs at the lighter end, suitable for drinking slightly chilled on a warm day, as an aperitif or to accompany lighter meals, like fish, chicken or salad. We also discovered that these wines were divine with cheese, especially sheep’s cheese.

pinot-noir-tasting-panelMany thanks to the Pinot Noir tasting panel: Hattie Mills (UK), Smilja Radosav (Yugoslavia), Carola de Rodt (Chile), Irina Axenova (Russia) and Helen Conway (UK).

We tasted the wines blind so as to not be prejudiced by the brand or label design and each of us awarded a score of between 0 and 10 to each wine (10 being the best). The results are based on the average score for each wine.

Line up of Chilean Pinot Noir bottlesWinner: Koyle Costa Pinot Noir 2013, Paredones, Colchagua Valley (Costa). 7.2 points, 14% ABV. Retails in Chile at $15,990

quintay-bottleSecond: Villard Expresión Reserve Pinot Noir 2015, Casablanca Valley, 6.6 points. 14% ABV. Retails in Chile at $8,490.

Joint third: Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir 2014, Leyda Valley, 6 points. 13.5% ABV. Retails in Chile at $7,990.

Attilio & Mochi Tunquen Pinot Noir 2012, Casablanca Valley, 6 points. 13.8% ABV. Purchased at the winery for $13,000.

Fifth: Montesecano Refugio Pinot Noir 2015, Casablanca Valley, 5.8 points. 12.6%. Retails in Chile at $11,000.

Sixth: Quintay Q Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2015, Casablanca Valley, 5.2 points. 14.5% ABV. Retails in Chile at $10,990

My tasting notes:

Koyle Costa Pinot Noir 2013

This was one of the more fuller-bodied wines of this tasting, with lots of ripe tannins and fresh acidity. The nose was complex with mineral notes intermingled with the fruit. Delicious.

More information about Koyle:

Cristóbal Undurraga: biodynamic winemaker 

Koyle wine tasting at Vinoteca

Villard Expresión Reserve Pinot Noir 2015

Nice, complex, fruity wine with a notes of toast and red fruit on the nose. Fresh, with firm, ripe tannins and medium body.

Kalfu Kuda Pinot Noir 2014

Pleasant, fruity wine with a herbal hint on the nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins and medium body. Good value and easy-drinking.

Attilio & Mochi Tunquen Pinot Noir 2012

Lots of red fruit aromas, especially strawberries, together with a fresh minerality. Very pleasant Pinot Noir with medium body, acidity and tannins.

Montesecano Refugio Pinot Noir 2015

A very complex and interesting wine with floral and herbal notes – so like a herbal tonic, you almost feel it must be good for you – together with cranberries. Fresh, medium-bodied, with medium acidity.


Fresh acidity and medium body, let down a little by the nose. Not as good as the 2014 vintage.

For more information about Viña Quintay

Casablanca winery visits: Quintay


Other posts about Pinot Noir:

Pinot Noir wine – love it or hate it?

Anyone for Chilean Pinot Noir?

Wondering what to serve with Chilean Pinot Noir? Check out this recipe: Grilled salmon with Chilote potatoes

Grilled salmon with Chilote potatoes

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