In 1870 Don Maximiano Errazuriz planted a vineyard in Panquehue, a small town located North of Santiago in the Aconcagua Valley. Not too long afterwards, Don Maximiano Errazuriz, with the help of his son, Rafael, would own the world’s largest single owner vineyard (~ 700 hectares). With 140+ vintages under their belt, Errazuriz has made a name for themselves as a pioneer in the Chilean wine industry.

Fast forward 100 years…believe it or not, it was only in the 1980s that Chile began exporting their wine, and now they export a whopping 70% (most countries only dream of doing that). Foreign markets are enjoying Chilean wines and have been for quite some time.

Chile’s 1000km long stretch of wine regions is producing very interesting wines with sense of place thanks to the unique terroir found in the different regions. Head winemaker Francisco Baettig speaks passionately about the unique terroir they have to work with in their portfolio of vineyards. From costal, Mediterranean, to more inland, flat and hilly, dry and foggy, they’ve got a lot of land and micro climates to experiment with and from the wines I tasted it appears they’re on the right track.

Francisco and his wine making team have done a remarkable job at showcasing the purity of the wines they produce whether it’s their sub $20 Max Reserva line or their premium ICON range of wines. With minimal to modest oak programs on each of their wines, they’re striving to capture the best varietal characteristics in each wine without heavy doses of oak to mask undesirable characteristics that are often present in lesser wines. Francisco’s mission to produce complex yet elegant wines appears to be working well.

Stand out wines for me included each of their ICON wines along with their Max Reserva Carmenere and Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc.

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Matt Steeves