Almost since its wine arrived on our shelves Chile has been seen as a destination for simple, good value and, dare I say, cheap wine.
It has provided the backbone of supermarkets’ special offers as well as house wine in restaurants and pubs.
There is of course more to Chile than just bulk wine and the last decade or so has seen a rise in more interesting products, many produced from new and usually cooler vineyard areas.
At the forefront of this has been Vina Montes, which has been the leading premium Chilean wine since it was founded in 1988.
Wine writer and broadcaster Oz Clarke noted that ‘they are always at the fore of any move into new regions and they are always blazing the trail with new, ambitious flavours and styles’.
Having tasted my way through a range of their wines last week there is no doubt in my mind that Montes produce some of Chile’s best wines.
Here I’ve selected two reds and two whites which I think really show great value for money.
It’s a very pungent wine with passion fruit, lime and asparagus on the nose before a concentrated palate with minerals and a texture.
Try with some seafood pasta. Gorgeous.
Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2013, Cassablanca Valley (Majestic £11.99 but if part of a mixed six £9.99) has been aged in French oak barrels but is really quite restrained with a touch of pineapple and tropical fruits on the nose and a creamy textured palate with bright acidity and great length.
There is some complexity here and it works brilliantly with roast chicken.
Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir 2014, Aconcagua Costa (winedirect.co.uk £9.95) is one of the better under £10 pinot noirs I’ve tasted from anywhere.
Fresh with red fruits, a little spice and floral notes, it’s medium-bodied with silky tannins and some sweet red fruit on the finish.
Simple but very drinkable and it would go well with salmon or roast duck.
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Colchagua (winedirect.co.uk £11.95 or slurp.co.uk £12.50) is the wine that started it all for Montes and was in many ways Chile’s first premium wine.
Aged for 12 months in French oak this is wonderfully elegant New World cabernet sauvignon with black fruits, coffee, classic cigar box notes and spicy vanilla, followed by rounded tannins and real structure on the palate.
This is a wine for Sunday roast beef or I served it with slow-cooked beef short ribs.
The Montes’ logo is an angel which adorns all their labels as well as featuring at the various wineries and Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon is certainly a wine fit for the angels.