Chilean viticulture dates back to the 1850s, when a wave of French immigrants settled in the Santiago region, bringing with them native French grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Pushed by internal pride and pulled by international investment, Chilean wines are climbing the price and quality ladders. The country's great strength remains the clean, fresh, fruity character of its wines, which marry well with food and are perfect for everyday drinking.
Reds are Chile's strongest suit; most should be drunk within three years of the vintage and enjoyed for their well-defined fruit flavors and refreshing textures.
Moving beyond the value wines on which Chile has established its reputation, a number of producers are now making some exceptional wines in higher price categories.