CHILEAN winemaking has come a long way over the last 40 years, and even further since it first began way back in the 16th century. Yeah, the 16th century, folks, and we still refer to them as New World wines.

Chilean wineries have been telling the world their products are unique for decades and for once in the wine trade, it wasn't hype. Chile’s remoteness meant its vines were protected from the phylloxera bug that decimated European vineyards in the 19th century so their vines haven't been grafted with North American rootstock as per most of the rest of the world. Also, the climate, partly created by the cool air at night from the Andes, adds to the development of the grapes and increases the flavonoids.

Anyway, enough technical bull, all I know is that they have gone from exporting loads of three for a tenner merlots to creating some of the world's finest wines. It's true that they still thrive in the bargain basement, but who would have guessed in the 1980s that they would be producing wines such as the world class Casa Real a few decades later?

There's a silky richness to their reds and all the bordeaux varietals thrive there but, for most of us, it's their merlots and carmenere that still come out on top. Lately, though, I've been drawn to their whites, particularly their chardonnays which used to taste like someone had added vanilla flavour to battery acid. I've grown as fond of their unoaked chardonnays as their barrel fermented versions and that's saying something for me.

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Emiliana Organic Chardonnay

A lovely hint of lime on the nose leads into a palate dominated by creamy, nutty flavours. It's got a really long finish as well which is usually the hallmark of a far more expensive wine.

Marks & Spencer £7

Lapostolle Grand Selection Merlot

Lapostolle have long been favourites of mine but even I was taken back by just how rich and smooth this was. Ripe red berries on the palate with creamy tannins and a lovely silky finish. £13.99