Exciting Wines From Chile

When you think of Chilean wines, chances are that words like "inexpensive" and "Carmenere" come to mind.  But Burgundian varieties in Chile?  Probably not.  Until now.  Leyda Valley, a cool coastal area with granite soils, could be ideally suited for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  And if these two exciting wines are any indication, experimentation in this area will reward the adventuresome.  Both are highly recommended.    

2013 Kalfu Sumpai Pinot Noir Leyda Valley Chile $24 (Sample)
There is a lot to be excited about in this energetic and well-made Pinot. For starters, it is unlike any Pinot your continental palate has become accustomed to.  That said, it is a faithful rendition of the grape from its place. Leyda Valley has demonstrated its versatility in producing a number of different varieties, but seems to stand out in producing quality Pinot Noir at affordable prices. There is a lot happening in this bottle: a steely cleanliness frames a spice rack that is nearly dizzying in its dimensions. Fruit is ample without being overt or overly extracted. Drinking a Pinot Noir as balanced as this is a sincere pleasure and a welcome change of pace from the jammy examples coming from California at similar price points. 

2013 Kalfu Kuda Chardonnay (Unoaked) Leyda Valley Chile $19 (Sample)
If the Pinot Noir was energetic, this is positively electric and gripping. Soft pear and bright citrus greet you in the attack, followed by a full mid-palate, and a long, firm handshake finish.  This clean, direct laser beam drinks as much like a Sauvignon Blanc as a Chardonnay. Brilliant.  Worth the search for an experience you will want to repeat.