4 September is Chilean National Wine Day and what better way to celebrate than with a glass of País wine, the country’s most traditional variety? This is the easy-to-grow, drought-resistant grape variety that centuries ago the Spanish missionaries took with them to new countries to ensure they had wine to celebrate Mass. In the Canary Islands, it’s known as Listán Prieto o Listán Negro. In California, it’s called Mission, in Argentina, it goes by the name of Criolla Chica and, here in Chile, it’s called País.

Cluster of País grapes

For a long time, País was the principal grape variety in red wines here in Chile but, as more fashionable varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot took off,  it was left in obscurity.

For many decades, growers could choose either to sell their grapes at a very low price to wine companies for use in cheap red blends or else switch to other, better-selling vine varieties.

In recent years, winemakers have been rediscovering Chile’s heritage varieties; the vines that were languishing in the shadow of the superstar grape varieties. We’ve seen great interest in old vine Carignan and Cinsault wines and País wine has also had a makeover.

Producers have experimented with a range of styles of wine, as you’ll see from the tasting notes below.


Red País wine tasting notes

Bouchon País Salvaje 2016, Maule, 12%

Made from País vines that have gone wild on the Bouchon estate, vinified using carbonic maceration to bring out the maximum fruity flavours and aromas.

This wine is a pale purple colour. It has a pronounced nose with aromas of red fruit, like strawberries, raspberries and cherries, a hint of spice and the tell-tale notes of banana and bubblegum that you get with carbonic maceration.

This is a dry, easy-drinking and fruity wine with good balance and everything in the medium spectrum: tannins, acidity, body, alcohol and finish. A well-accomplished version of País worth trying.

More information about País Salvaje.

Huaso de Sauzal País wineHuaso de Sauzal País 2014, Maule, 13.5%

Made from old vines, traditional style of winemaking with minimal intervention.

This is a pale ruby-coloured wine, a little bit cloudy, reflecting the fact that it is unfiltered. The nose is medium in intensity with notes of chocolate, and red fruit like cranberries, redcurrants and raspberries and a floral hint.

In the mouth, it is a dry wine with medium (+) acidity, fairly low tannins that are ripe and integrated, medium body. Flavours of cocoa and red fruit. This is a light and easy-drinking wine.

Post on Huaso de Sauzal Garnacha.

A los Viñateros Bravos País wine


A Los Viñateros Bravos País Volcánico 2016, Itata Valley, 12.5%

This is a pale ruby-coloured wine with a medium nose featuring notes of cocoa, sour cherries, rhubarb and hints of baking spices.

This is a dry wine with medium body and medium (+) acidity. The tannins are on the low side and a little astringent. The mouth features flavours of sour cherries and cocoa powder.

Tasting notes for A Los Viñateros Bravos Cinsault.Ventisquero País wine



Ventisquero Reserva País Moscatel 2015, Maule, 13.5%

Interesting blend: 85% País grapes from Maule, 15% Muscat grapes from Itata Valley. In both cases, these are old vines which have never been irrigated. Muscat grapes are very aromatic, so they contribute extra aromas to the wine.

This wine is pale ruby in colour, almost a rosé. The nose is more pronounced than some of the 100% País wines, with a lovely floral note and lots of sweet fruit notes like cherries, grapes and cooked strawberries.

In the mouth, it is dry with medium (+) tannins and acidity, fairly light body and medium length. The fruit and floral notes come through in the mouth, making this a very pleasant drink.

More information about Ventisquero País Moscatel.


Schwaderer País sparkling wine

Sparkling País wine tasting notes

Miguel Torres Santa Digna Estelado, Brut, Maule Valley

This was among the first of the new wave of País wines to be launched on the Chilean market and it always scores well in sparkling wine tastings. It’s made from 100% País, using the traditional method of in-bottle fermentation. Miguel Torres is a fair trade producer.

This is a rosé sparkling wine with a pleasing peach colour. It’s a fresh, fruity sparkling wine with fruity aromas, followed by refreshing acidity in the mouth.

More information about Miguel Torres Estelado.

Schwaderer sparkling País wineSchwaderer Brut Blanc de Noir

This is also made using the traditional, in-bottle fermentation method from País grapes. 

This is a lovely, elegant, very transparent sparkling wine with soft bubbles and moderate alcohol (just 12% ABV). The aromas and flavours are more subtle and complex than Estelado’s, with the classic croissant and biscuity notes from the time spent ageing on its lees (sediment). Well worth trying.

More information about Schwaderer wines.

Food pairing

All of these wines work well as aperitifs.

Sparkling wines are best served well chilled and are amongst the most versatile wines to pair with food: check them out with mixed starters or a buffet and you’ll find they will hold their own with pretty much any kind of food.

The red wines will also benefit from being just slightly chilled and can be served just as an aperitif or will pair well with chicken or pork or with casseroles like Chilean favourite Cazuela. My friend Smilja tried it with Yugoslav dish Paprikash (a meat and vegetable casserole) and said that they were a perfect combination.

Other post

Seductively fruity Cinsault wine from Chile


Logo-4-Sept-Dia-del-VinoSunday 4 September is Chilean National Wine Day and there are events all over Chile this week to celebrate.  As Carménère wine has a very special association with Chile, it seems like a great choice for toasting this important day in the wine calendar.

For details of just some of the events going on around Chile, see my posts on the Chilean Wine Day in Valparaíso Region, the Chilean Wine Day in the Santiago area, Celebrate Chilean Wine Day in Colchagua and Chilean Wine Day in southern Chile or check out nosgustaelvino.

vina-santa-cruz_vista7-(1)What is the big association between Chile and Carménère anyway?

Once upon a time, vast swathes of France were planted with many different varieties of vines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Carménère, to name but a few. Then, in 1863, vines began to die, but nobody knew why. First one vineyard, then another and soon vast areas of vines began to be wiped out by an invisible disease.  By the time the small, yellow, root-eating Phylloxera louse had been identified and a solution found, French wine production had been devastated and Carménère wiped out.

Time went by and the French wine industry recovered, its vast acres now planted with the same noble varieties grafted on to phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks, Carménère being a notable exception. As far as the world knew, Carménère had become extinct.

The twist in the story of Carménère came over a century later on the other side of the world, when some Chilean vines thought to be Merlot were actually identified as this long-lost variety.

Many regard Carménère as Chile’s flagship variety: certainly Chile leads the way in terms of number of Carménère vines planted – with 10,000 hectares in 2012. There are some plantings of the variety in France and Italy and DNA profiling recently led to a similar surprise discovery of Carménère vines, this time in China, where they are called Cabernet Gernischt.

which carménèreSo what’s Carménère like?

This deeply coloured grape needs a long growing season to reach its full potential and thrives in many of Chile’s warmer wine regions, such as Maipo, Rapel, Colchagua, Curicó and Maule. The best results come from plantings where the vigour is controlled.

Ripe Carménère contributes spicy aromas and flavours, such as black pepper, red and black fruit, herbal and smoky qualities to a wine. Depending on its level of oak-ageing, it may also have chocolate, coffee and leathery notes too. It tends to be an accessible and easy to drink smooth red wine with well-rounded tannins. If the grapes were a little underripe when picked, the wine can have herbaceous aromas and flavours like green peppers or olives.

Carménère pairs well with smoked, grilled or roasted meats, chicken, pork, lamb, beef and veal and holds its own with spicy food, like Indian and Mexican food.

Tasting carmenereFellow British expat Natascha Scott-Stokes and I recently tasted three Chilean Carménère wines that retail under $10,000 Chilean pesos. Here are our tasting notes.

Viña Von Siebenthal Carmenère 2013, Aconcagua Valley, 14% ABV (Retail price CLP$9,990 in Chile, £16.00 from Highbury Vintners)

85% Carménère, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10 months oak-ageing.

Deep ruby colour. An enticing nose in which aromas of sweet spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and cedar, intermingled with fresh fruit, like raspberries and black cherries. In the mouth, it was medium-bodied with fine, ripe tannins, refreshing acidity and the same seductive mixture of fruit and spice flavours.

Natascha: “If I were going to buy a wine for a special dinner, this is the one I would choose.”

trio of carmenereApaltagua Envero Carmenere 2014, Colchagua Valley, 14% ABV. (Retail price CLP$7,990 in Chile, £11.95 from Stone, Vine & Sun)

90% Carménère, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep purple colour. A pronounced, very fruity nose featuring notes of blackcurrants, blueberries and plums, with a touch of spice from oak ageing. This wine had high acidity, high levels of rather coarse, grippy tannins and plenty of body. Very fruity in the mouth with a slightly bitter note in the aftertaste. Overall a very pleasant wine and a good example of Chilean Carménère.

De Martino Gran Reserva Legado Carmenere 2014, Maipo Valley (Retail price CLP8,440, 2012 vintage retails at £7.65 at Berry, Bros & Rudd)

Deep purple colour. Pronounced, complex nose which was slow to open. Indeed this wine smelled and tasted better the day after we opened it. Upfront farmyard and forest floor aromas with the fruity aromas slow to appear. With high acidity, high levels of smooth tannins, this was a bigger, heavier wine and would pair well with rich food.

…And here are two more Carménère wines you might like to try:

QueulatViña Ventisquero Queulat Carmenere 2014, Maipo Valley, 13.5% (CLP$7,790)

85% Carménère, 15% Syrah

An expressive nose with notes of black fruit, like plums, black cherries and blueberries, some sweet spice from the oak ageing and a herbaceous touch. With refreshing acidity, plenty of body and smooth, ripe tannins, this is a good choice for accompanying barbecued meat or other full-flavoured meals.

Koyle Single Vineyard Carmenere 2013, Los Lingues, Alto Colchagua. (CLP$8,490)

This wine included 8% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec to contribute aroma and tension.

A nice, concentrated example of Chilean Carménère with lots of black and red fruit aromas and flavours, such as blueberries and raspberries, a touch of minerality and some spicy notes like black pepper, and just a hint of forest floor. With a good level of acidity, high levels of somewhat astringent tannins and all those primary fruit, mineral and spice flavours, this wine has the potential to benefit from further ageing.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing this weekend, I hope you’ll find time to raise a glass of your favourite Chilean wine in celebration of Chilean National Wine Day! Cheers!

Logo-4-Sept-Dia-del-VinoChile is gearing up for a very special celebration this weekend: Chilean National Wine Day on 4 September. We have already looked at events going on in the Colchagua area, in southern Chile and in the Valparaíso region. Now let’s see how you can celebrate Chilean Wine Day in the Santiago area.

Special events

The independent wineries group MOVI are holding a picnic at the Parque de las Esculturas in Providencia, Santiago this Sunday from 12 noon. This is a free event and people are invited to go along with their picnic. There will be educational stands for children and adults. Event organized by the Municipalidad de Providencia, Pebre, La Ruta de la Vid and MOVI. Contact Daniela Rojas – drojas@lagardebezana.cl

The world’s biggest toast! Chile is attempting to make a new world record by having the biggest toast in the Plaza Ñuñoa in Santiago. If you would like to take part, you should register online at this address by midday on Friday.

There will be a free event at Plaza Mori in Providencia on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., with tastings of wines from Itata, live painting competition, craft and tourism displays. The Vinomio wine shop on Antonia Lopez de Bello 090. Will be offering discounts. Contact Sergio Garrido – sergio@vinomio.cl or tel. 56227353786



Viña Odfjell is offering free tours and tastings on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. Places are limited so book by contacting Lorena Vargas – tours@odfjellvineyards.cl or tel. 228762800

Viña Perez Cruz has free tours and tastings on Saturday and Sunday at 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. Places are limited so book by contacting María José Mena – turismo@perezcruz.com or tel 228242405 ext. 211

Viña Cousiño Macul – 2 for the price of 1 on all regular or premium tours during this week – bookings ventas@cousinomacul.cl or phone 23514135 or 23514169. Address: Viña Cousiño Macul. Av. Quilin 7100, Peñalolen.

Viña Santa Rita is offering a 15% discount on its classic tour, plus one extra wine to taste on its tours this Sunday. Its restaurant and shop also have promotions. More information: reservas@santarita.cl – 2362 2594

Viña Concha y Toro will be having special events on Sunday at the winery on Avenida Virginia Subercaseaux 210, Pirque, Región Metropolitana. Contact: reserva@conchaytoro.cl – 2 24765680

vines at KoyleSpecial sales

There will be a wine sale with tastings this Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Casa Piedra in Santiago. Address: Escrivá de Balaguer 5600, Vitacura

Viña De Martino is having a 30% off sale at its winery shop on Isla de Maipo on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Contact: Yobana Villegas – wineshop@demartino.cl – 56 2 2577836

Viña Odfjell will have an open house and special sale of wines from on Friday from 12 noon to 7 p.m, Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact: Lorena Vargas – tours@odfjellvineyards.cl – 228762800

Viña Santa Ema will have special prices this Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Contact: wineshop@santaema.cl

Sparkling for 2Tastings

Viña Santa Ema will be doing special tastings at 4 p.m. on Friday and 12 noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Contact: wineshop@santaema.cl

Viña Haras de Pirque is offering free tastings on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact: Anais Reciné – reservas@harasdepirque.com or tel. 2854 79 10 ext 120. They also have a special menu of the day for those who would like to stay for lunch.

More information from nosgustaelvino.

Next post: A Carménère toast to Chilean Wine Day.

Wherever you are and whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you find time to raise a glass to help celebrate Chilean National Wine Day!



Logo-4-Sept-Dia-del-VinoChilean National Wine Day on 4 September is fast approaching and the pace of activities is already picking up. My previous posts have covered some of the events happening in the Colchagua area and in Valparaíso. Here are some of the things going on to celebrate Chilean Wine Day in southern Chile.

autumn at Calyptra
Cochapoal Valley

Tours and tastings

Balduzzi Vineyards and Winery and Casa Donoso Winery in Maule are both offering free tours and tastings between Monday 29 August and Saturday 3 September at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Spaces are limited, so please make sure you book. Contacts are:

  • Viña Balduzzi: Daniela Acuña – tour@balduzzi.com – 56732322138
  • Viña Casa Donoso: Juan Pavéz – talca@casadonoso.com – 56712341400

Meanwhile in the Curicó area, there will also be tours and tastings. On Sunday 4 September, there will be free tours and tastings at Viña Miguel Torres at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Spaces are limited and must be booked by emailing visitas@migueltorres.cl

Viña San Pedro and Viña Echeverría are also doing tours and tastings, times not confirmed.

Photo credit: Nadezda Kuznetsova
Colchagua Valley. Photo credit: Nadezda Kuznetsova

Tours at independent wineries

On Sunday 4 September, the following independent wineries that form part of MOVI (the Movement of Independent Vintners) in southern Chile are opening their doors for picnics and reasonably priced tastings:

Alchemy Wines in the Cochapoal valley, Viña Laura HartwigOWM Wines and Viña Polkura in the Colchagua Valley

Make your own wine blend

You can make your own wine blend at Viña Estampa on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September from 11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Free activity at Viña y Bodega Estampa. Ruta 90, km45, Palmilla. Valle de Colchagua. VI Región

Spaces are limited so please contact: Jennifer Cors – jcors@estampa.com – 56942697322


¡Hora de catar!

Events to celebrate Chilean National Wine Day

  • In Concepción on Friday 2 September from 7 p.m. to midnight, a wine fair attended by independent winemakers from MOVI at the Centro de Eventos Mitrinco, located at km 3, camino a Santa Juana organized by Cava del Pescador, Concepción. Entry costs $15,000 or $10,000 if you buy in advance. Details on facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1086514441435925/. Contact: Augusto Pescador – augusto@lacavadelpescador.cl
  • There will be a Wine Festival in the Plaza de Armas, Talca, to include food, handicrafts and entertainment, as well as wine. $5,000. Times from 11.30 a.m. until midnight on Saturday and from from 11.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday.
  • Bío Bio 2016 Rural World Exhibition on Saturday 3 September in Ranquil in Chile’s 8th Region. This is a Food and wine fair, including winetastings with winemakers from the area and wine talks and tastings of all kinds of products from this valley. From 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Plaza Parque Estación, Ñipas, Ranquil
  • Puerto Natales is holding a Wine Festival on Sunday 4 September at Espacio Cultural Costanera and local restaurants will be showcasing their cuisine, there will be handicrafts and folk music. This event will be from 10.30 a.m. until 2.30 p.m. at Espacio Cultural Costanera, Calle Pedro Montt Nº 800, Puerto Natales, Magallanes Region. Free entry. More information from: Alejandra Pinilla, Manager of the Chamber of Tourism for Ultima Esperanza – gerente@camaraturismonatales.cl – 56993444575
  • The Outlet de Vinos at Mall Center, Curicó has an event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • There will also be a toast in Curicó’s main square on Sunday.

More information from Nos Gusta El Vino, the official website of Wines of Chile.

Lapostolle winery. Photo courtesy: Sophie Bedouin.
Lapostolle winery. Photo courtesy: Sophie Bedouin.

Logo-4-Sept-Dia-del-VinoRaise your glass because 4 September is Chilean National Wine Day and there are events all over Chile to celebrate. Here are some of the activities taking place in the Casablanca and Aconcagua Valleys.

Tastings in Casablanca

The Cafetería Entre Cepas on the main square in Casablanca (Plaza de Armas) is opening its doors from 9.30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday 2, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 September. Members of the public are welcome to pop in and taste wine.

Independent wineries

On Sunday 4 September, the following independent wineries from the Valparaíso Region that form part of MOVI (the Movement of Independent Vintners) are opening their doors for picnics and reasonably priced tastings. Details of places and times have not yet been published, check individual websites or MOVI’s Facebook page or Twitter account for more information.

cement egg
Concrete egg at House Casa del Vino
Baby alpaca a Viña Emiliana
Baby alpaca a Viña Emiliana

Free tours and tastings

There are free tours and tastings at many of the vineyards – places are limited and should be booked through the Ruta Del Vino de Casablanca website

  • Estancia El Cuadro –11 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Viña Loma Larga–10.30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday
  • Viña Quintay –11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday
  • House Casa del Vino–12.30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Viña Viñamar–Friday, Saturday and Sunday (time unconfirmed)
  • Emiliana Organic Vineyards–3.30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Viña Indómita- 10.30 a.m. and 12 noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Kingston Family Vineyards–Friday, Saturday and Sunday (time unconfirmed)
  • Viña Veramonte – Friday (time unconfirmed), 3.30 p.m. on Saturday and 12 noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday
  • Viña Casas del Bosque –12 noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Viña Matetic –10 a.m. on Sunday

Quintay visitor centre 2




For information on events in other areas:

My post: Celebrate Chilean Wine Day in Colchagua

Coming soon: Chilean Wine Day in southern Chile and Chilean Wine Day in the Metropolitan Region

Details of events can also be found at the nosgustaelvino website.