Argentina gets all the raves and press when it comes to South American wines, but Chile is carving a great niche as well – particularly in the value wine market.

Tonight I opened a bottle of 2007 Palo Alto Reserve. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Syrah (10%), and Carmenere (25%). So you have some big grapes contributing to this widely-available red.

Even though the Carmenere represents just 25%, I compared the wine to the Carmeneres I have tasted. Maybe that’s just a Chilean style, but it was quite smooth. The Syrah popped out on the finish with a little, but not strong, hint of pepper.

It’s one of those deep purple reds with a nice nose that you can really get in there and appreciate.

I always pour a glass and drink most of that first glass before doing research and writing these entries. I want my comments here not to echo those of others, but to be an honest assessment. I found the wine well-structured, very smooth and easy to drink with just enough going on to be interesting.

The reviews I found online ranged from good to bad, which is always interesting. Well-established wine writers and bloggers went from “thin” to calling the 2005 reserve their “best value wine of the year.”

At $11-$16 its well worth trying. I bought this wine at The Bottle Shop in West Lafayette, on the bypass. It is widely available across the country. I’d be anxious to try some of there other reds for comparison purposes.

This was a very nice bottle of wine, not great, but worth the money spent. And that’s about all I ask of a $11.95 bottle on a Monday night! I’d recommend it as a great pairing with any hearty food.

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