Whole Foods Markets, for good reason, have a reputation for being pricey. But the stores have some good values, too, even in the wine department. Through Oct. 11, the supermarket chain is doing a promotion with Wines of Chile USA, highlighting nine Chilean wines priced at $20 or less.
The P.R. representative from Wines of Chile asked whether I’d be interested in sampling the wines that are part of the promotion, and I said sure. I was sent samples of seven of the wines. They were a mixed bag; one was corked, so I can’t offer an opinion about that. But a few were definite winners.
The best one was the 2010 Erasmo Viña La Reserva de Caliboro ($20), a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc from Maule Valley. The wine displays lively red fruit, hints of cedar, tobacco and anise, and firm tannins. The 2014 Mayu Carmenere-Syrah ($13) is another winning blend. A 55-45 mix from the Elqui Valley of northern Chile, the wine is savory (as might be expected with carmenere), with black fruit, a black olive note and some chocolaty oak.
The 2014 De Martino Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($13), from the Maipo Valley, offers lively red fruit, a smoky note and very firm tannins. It benefits from some air: When I retasted it the next day, it had smoothed out and showed some lush spiciness. The grapes are grown organically.
The 2015 Errazuriz “Max” Chardonnay Reserva ($18) from the Aconcagua Valley is a little too oaky for my taste, but it’s also racy, with rich lemon curd flavors.
The 2015 Autoritas Pinot Noir ($8) is a best buy from Chile’s Central Valley. It’s a light, bright picnic pinot, with fresh raspberry, a slight leafy note and a touch of smokiness.