Chile is about 3,000 miles long, and most of the central part is ideal winemaking country. It has nice sunny days, but at night, the weather cools off – giving the grapes a chance to rest. On the West, it has cool Pacific Ocean breezes, while on the East, chilly mountain air drifts off the Andes Mountains. Over the years, the climate has proven itself ideal for several wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and most especially Cabernet Sauvignon.
We recently had the opportunity to taste the 2010 vintage of Calina's Cabernet Sauvignon. I was expecting a food-friendly wine, understated and subtle, something similar to a French Bordeaux. Well, it goes beautifully with food, but this is a blockbuster, New World-styled wine, with tremendous viscosity and a rich mouth feel. If this were a California wine, you'd be checking the label for a Napa Valley appellation. It should match up nicely with hamburgers, smoked ribs, or a sizzling grilled steak. This is big, in-your-face Cabernet Sauvignon, not a polite Bordeaux, so be sure you like that style. If you do, then this is one stunner of a bargain. I always try to taste new wines without knowing how much they cost. My first assumption after sampling this was that it was probably in the $18-25 category, and a bargain at that. Instead, the Calina Cabernet Sauvignon costs just $10, a terrific bargain. It's available at Central Market, or you can ask your regular wine dealer for it.
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