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Chile’s new wave white wines

Chile is better known for its red wines but, for decades now, the country’s whites have been undergoing a quiet revolution. The result is a raft of exciting styles and accomplished bottles that can stand proudly on the world stage

Do you know the feeling? You’ve got new shoes and your favourite jacket. You’ve had a good haircut. You step out into the street feeling confident and ready to take on the world… That feeling was everywhere I went, on my recent visit to Chile – winemakers brimming with enthusiasm; wines full of energy.

And nowhere was this confidence more on display than in the country’s white wines. Known generally as a source of reliable, wallet-friendly Sauvignon Blanc, Chile is now also home to terroir-driven Chardonnay, old-vine Semillon and Chenin Blanc, unusual varieties and exciting blends.

In the three decades since the country began exporting to the UK, the revolution has been dramatic. Steve Daniel, head of buying at importer Hallgarten & Novum Wines, was the first to introduce Chile to British wine lovers.

‘When I first visited the country and brought back wines to Oddbins’ shelves in 1988, the wine industry as we know it in Chile was just starting out,’ he says. ‘They had no idea of what modern wine tasted or looked like, but they did have good-quality, mostly Cabernet, grapes.’

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 12 new wave Chilean white wines

Chile’s new whites: 12 to explore

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