Chilean wines have long been known for that "bang for the buck" factor. For some reason, they don't come up very often during conversations on Check, Please! Perhaps they're not well-featured on restaurant menus...or maybe our diners gravitate toward the more comfortable American selections. (Chilean sea bass on the other hand, seems to come up every other week! But, that's a different story.)
Since the 1980's, Chilean winemakers have been trying hard to get the word out about their product...and it's worked. The Chilean wine sections at grocery stores and wine shops are usually quite robust. Now, producers are out to prove that the wines can compete on much more than the price point factor.
Chile's wine producing history can be traced to the 16th Century with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Political drama and turmoil stunted the industry's growth for a while, but Chile has recently risen through the wine producing ranks and is now the fourth-largest exporter of wine! We know that because on June 24th, fifteen Chilean winemakers gathered at the Conrad Hotel in Miami to showcase some of their best, and Check, Please! producers stopped by to taste what all the buzz was about. According to Fernanda Mondaca, the Director of the organization ProChile, the purpose of the event was to inform industry professionals about the "premium quality" of Chilean wines. She also stated that Chile is one of the few countries that can easily produce organic wine, due to its geographic conditions. Who knew?
So, maybe it's time to give Chilean wine another try. And if you're looking to pair it with some Chilean cuisine, here are a couple local suggestions/reviews from Check, Please! applicants:
Attorney Alex B. suggests Pamela's on Bird Road for "Chilean food in a family and price-friendly atmosphere....This is a seafood-heavy cuisine with incredible variety served with a smile and at an attractive price. Call ahead to see if they have the erizo, it may not be Naoe quality but boy is it tasty with the lime, onion and cilantro!"
Aviation company owner Clint W. suggests Sabores Chilenos on Flagler. He calls it "simple, clean Chilean food that can be enjoyed by those who love Chile and those just discovering Chilean food. Small, not pretentous with great prices and even better food. I've NEVER had a bad meal there."