Back in April the Wine for the Rest of Ustasting panel participated in a broad tasting of white wines from Chile. The Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting featuring eight Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay wines from Chile's coastal regions didn’t make it into this column for two main reasons. For starters, the collection of eight reasonably similar wines tasted in relatively rapid succession exhausted our palates, blurring the distinctions after about the fourth or fifth wine. And most importantly, the consensus favorite among the eight – Cono Sur "Vision" Sauvignon Blanc – was hard to find locally and at about $15 a bottle, just outside the sweet spot of our budget wine price range.
Not that $15 is a fortune. But Chile is such a prolific source of terrific and inexpensive sauvignon blanc that can be easily found for between $8 and $10 a bottle (see “Look to Chile for your house white wine”) that the price seemed a bit extravagant. It was a shame, since the Wines of Chile tasting underscored what a pleasant middle ground Chilean sauvignon blanc stakes out between the bracing intensity of New Zealand whites and the subtle minerality of sauvignon blanc from the grape’s native France.