I will readily admit to preferring French wine over all others for the most part. No country produces wine as focused, as brilliantly complex, or as delicious as French producers can; especially the right makers, especially in good years. There is clearly room here for forceful debate, and the truth of my statement varies from varietal to maker to region to vintage, but I feel safe making this generalization anyway.
Does this mean that we should not bother to try wines made by, say, Chilean vintners? No! Great wine is made everywhere, just as plenty of awful wine is made in France ( Languedoc-Roussillon has an ocean of it, although good wines abound even there). Removing wine from its global context, and becoming too focused, reduces the richness of our appreciation. As long as it is not an over-extracted, muddled fruit-bomb from a huge conglomerate, I will give any wine from any region a fair go.
And here is a wine to appreciate: the 2008 Cono Sur Pinot Noir, from their “Visión” line. These wines are, according to Cono Sur, a celebration of the various terroirs that Chile can offer, using a wide set of varietals grown in the Colchagua Valley to demonstrate how microclimates express wine in varying ways. I have found the “Visión” wines to be very pleasant overall, and would recommend any as a good bet for value.
Their 2008 “Visión” Pinot Noir, a big step up from the baseline Cono Sur Pinot, is lip-smacking. A gorgeous ruby red in the glass, with excellent clarity. The nose struts out aromas of dark cherry and ripe raspberry, juicy and fresh, with layers of coffee and cocoa just barely peeking through the red fruit. Extremely silky in the mouth, with well-balanced acidity and some earthiness towards the medium finish. This would be excellent with pork chops, baked turkey, grilled salmon, or hearty European soups. $12.