If occasionally it seems as if Argentina gets the lion's share of the media love, that's probably because it's an easier national wine culture to wrap your arms around. Chile, for better or for worse, hasn't yet been identified with one well-known grape variety to the extent that Argentina has with its Malbec. But that's about to change with Carmenere, the great up-and-coming red of Chile that, if there's any justice in the world, will be a huge hit on the international market. Think of it as spicier than Cabernet Sauvignon, with just as substantial a tannic backbone and the ability to pair with a wonderfully wide range of foods. This sliver of a country between the Andes and the Pacific is also home to some great Cabernet, Syrah and, more and more, Pinot Noir.
John W Banagan