Wine Buying Comparison Guide
Wine buying guides traditionally advise you to consider the menu, so you can select the right variety of wine to serve with every course. There's nothing wrong with this advice; it's given so often because wines generally have a flavor profile with subtle variations coming through in the terroir (or the earth where the wine is grown) and the choices of the winemaker. Food and wine pairing rules may be easy to remember, but they can also oversimplify things. Rather than focus on the names of wine grapes, get to know the flavors of popular Chilean wines. Then, consider how those will interact with the foods you plan to serve.
We've rounded up five of the most common Chilean wines – Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Carmenere – with notes on the distinguishing characteristics of each. From the aroma to the dominant notes to the subtler qualities of each wine, you'll learn to appreciate all that goes into a bottle of our Chilean wines. Then, once you understand the qualities in each wine, you'll be able to look past the label on the bottle and confidently select the wine that brings out the flavors of the meal you're serving.
Rosé wine tends to be an uncomplicated crowd-pleaser. It's a summertime favorite, but can be enjoyed any time of year. As the wine is so versatile, it's a good one to bring to a dinner party when you're unsure what will be served.
Our Chilean rosé wine is medium-bodied and on the dry side, so it won't overwhelm you with sweetness. Its aroma reminds you of summer berries and spice-almost like a raspberry crisp. The sweet, fruit-forward scent is contrasted by an acidic mouthfeel that makes this rosé wine perfect for pairing with sweet and savory foods.
Traditional wine pairings might suggest that a Chilean rosé would go well with a lighter meal like a salad, grilled veggies, or grilled seafood. The citrusy flavors in the wine naturally complement meaty fishes like salmon or even a soft cheese.
Since our rosé is medium-bodied, you can also get away with serving it with meats like grilled chicken, grilled duck, or a charcuterie platter. Rosé wine also complements the flavor of spicy foods, like a Thai curry.
When it comes to dessert pairings, let the berry notes in the rosé guide you. Blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry desserts bring out the sweetness of the wine, while the acidity highlights a subtle contrast.
New World Sauvignon Blancs are refreshing crowd-pleasers, known for their complex, citrusy aroma. You'll taste subtle notes of vanilla, which give way to acidic citrus and gooseberry. In contrast to a Chardonnay, it's minerally and dry. Our Sauvignon Blanc makes the mouth pucker, but it's pleasantly sweet.
Think of the words bright and zesty to get inspired when pairing a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc with food. Our Sauvignon Blanc complements many hard-to-pair foods such as spicy dishes, stir-fries, or seafood paella. Fish dishes tend to shine when enjoyed with a Sauvignon Blanc, thanks to its lemony flavor. A few of our favorites include crab, lobster, oysters, or grilled fish.
Sauvignon Blanc is also a great pick for appetizers or cheese spreads, particularly with fresh, soft cheeses (such as goat cheese) or hard cheeses with herb-washed rinds. Lighter meals, such as soups and salads, also work well with this fresh, approachable wine. The vibrancy of our Sauvignon Blanc gets lost when paired with heavier foods (such as meats, rich cheeses, or game), and it can be too acidic when paired with tomato-rich dishes.
Malbec tends to be a robust red wine with a high tannic concentration - that's what gives the wine its oaky or almost leathery qualities. Our Malbec is full-bodied and rich; the astringent qualities of the tannins are contrasted by spice aromas and dark berry flavors. This truly is a complex wine. This is the kind of wine you can savor after a rich meal while contemplating a roaring fireplace. Of course, this popular Chilean wine pairs well with foods, too!
Grilled or roasted meats are among the most frequently recommended pairings for Malbec, as these dishes are robust enough to stand up to the full-bodied wine. With poultry, look for recipes that offer complexity and flavor; otherwise, a chicken dish can be too mild for this flavorful wine. Rich cheese dishes – such as French onion soup, baked brie, or even pizza –work surprisingly well with Malbec, too. The high-fat content of cheesy dishes matches the complexity of this Chilean wine. For the same reason, fatty fishes like bluefish, sardines, or salmon pop when accompanied by a glass of Malbec.
There's a good reason why you may be unfamiliar with Carménère: the Old World grape variety was nearly wiped out after an outbreak of phylloxera. A few vines made their way to Chile as winemakers resettled and the variety was interplanted with Merlot grapes and forgotten about for over a century! The wine tastes similar to a Merlot or Cab, but with deeper flavors.
Carménère has a medium body, which makes it a versatile wine to pair with foods. The aroma is dark like chocolate or coffee. Spice and wood notes linger on the tongue, backed by hints of blackberry or cherry. Since the wine is complex, it can take the intense flavors from spiced dishes, such as tagines. It's also a go-to choice for hearty comfort food meals from coq au vin or braised beef to slow-smoked and barbecued dishes.
Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice to serve at parties when you're not sure what type of wine others will most enjoy. It's popular, reliable, and tasty. These same characteristics make Cabernet Sauvignon a perfect choice for pairing with a wide variety of foods.
Our Cabernet Sauvignon has a full body yet goes down smooth, helped along by tastes of dark berries like currant, elderberry, or black cherry. The aroma contains stone fruit, almond, and jam notes.
This is a popular red wine for appetizers, as it pairs well with cheese and charcuteries. It's bold enough to complement the flavors in a range of cheeses and cured meats, yet not so heavy that it will dull the palate.
Continuing on to the main event, the Cabernet Sauvignon traditionally is served with heartier meals. That might be a meat-based dish or rich stew, but these days it's just as likely to be a pasta with red sauce or an umami-rich mushroom quiche, served alongside a side salad. And while classic advice warns against serving red wine with fish, this wine will complement meatier fishes such as swordfish or tuna.
Don't overlook sweet pairings for this bold red wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is a favorite selection for serving with chocolate; serve the wine with a sweeter food and the mocha chocolate notes in the wine will come out nicely.
Wine pairing is up to you
Wine snobs may disagree, but there's no right or wrong when it comes to wine; there's only what you like. So, if you prefer red wines to white wines, serve a red wine with fish (yes, really). These food and wine pairing ideas are just options. They're meant to inspire you to think about the flavors in your favorite wines and how those pair well with commonly served meals. With these tips, you'll be able to select the best types of wines to serve with food while remaining open to try new combinations.