The Chilean wine industry is known for its versatility, with almost every major type of vino represented. While the country produces several varieties of white wine, Chile is probably most recognized for its selection of reds. In terms of volume, cabernet has long served as the country's bestseller, but Chile is also known for producing two very different types of syrah, made from dark, flavorful grapes.
For years, Chile produced large quantities of what was thought to be merlot. In the 1990s, wine enthusiasts from France spotted the grapes used for this wine in a Chilean vineyard and were able to identify them as carmenere, rather than merlot. The deep, dark purple carmenere grape was once grown throughout France, but a devastating insect infestation in the 19th century virtually eliminated these vines. Luckily, the Spanish had already planted clippings in Chile, where they were rediscovered more than a century later. Since then, carmenere has become Chile's signature wine.
Continue to the next section to learn why Chilean wine has caught the attention of wine enthusiasts from around the world.