For great value, Chile remains largely unsurpassed, offering countless good wines for less than $20 and many more for $10 or under.
To prove the point, you only have to pick up a delightful white wine I discovered not long ago, the 2018 Mahu Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Maule Valley.
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This $10 wine is typical of Chilean Sauvignon: full of tropical and stone fruit, citrus, racy acidity, and, in this case, an intriguing and unexpected note of gunflint that comes through on the nose and palate.
This is fish wine, for simple broiled flounder or sole fillets, the raw bar, or perhaps a quick weekday meal of linguine and white clam sauce, straight out of a can and enhanced with white wine and fresh parsley. I like it as an aperitif as well — just twist off the screw cap and enjoy it.
As the label on the back of the bottle describes it, Mahu was the name of a 17th-century Dutch explorer (Jacques Mahu) who led an expedition to Chile. But that’s the romanticized past.
The brand, it turns out, is thoroughly modern, one of the labels under Viña Fray León, which is part of a big wine company called Grupo Belén, which is part of a holding company called Empresas Juan Yarur involved in banking, finance, insurance, and so on. You get the picture.
Ordinarily, I find Big Wine something of a turnoff. But then I come across a little gem like this from a wine behemoth and am reminded that, ultimately, it’s what’s in the bottle rather than who’s in the boardroom.
The Mahu Sauvignon Blanc shows us that good wine is really about what’s in your glass — and whether you like it or not.