Hot Chilean Pairings: 4 Wines from Chile with Quinoa Citrus Salad, Empanadas, Cazuela de Vacuna

4 from Chile

In 2023, Wine Predator is visiting South America, starting with Chile. While I’m looking at getting there personally, I’ll certainly be traveling there with my palate, taking on a different aspect of South American wine every month with the World Wine Travel group of wine writers. While our first stop is Chile, we’ll also be visiting Uruguay for red, white, and tannat, Argentina for Malbec and more, and returns to Chile to focus on organic wine in April, coastal wine in June, and Carmenere in November.  Not really sure exactly all of the stops on our itinerary or when they’ll take place, but I’m excited to dive in and share the wines and the menus that go with them starting with a range of four Chilean wines with three classic dishes– with recipes for two of them!

Chile roll

Chile Inspired Menu

  • Quinoa Herb Citrus Salad (recipe below) 
  • Beef Empanadas with a jalapeno vinaigrette 
  • Cazuela de Vacuna with Beef Shanks (recipe below)

4 Wines from Chile

4 Wines from Chile  

  • 2019 Ritual Organic Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca 
  • 2018 Terranoble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Colchagua 
  • 2017 Primus: The Blend, Apalta, Valle de Colchagua 
  • 2019 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva, Malbec DO Marchigue 

If you wanted just one wine to go with this meal from start to finish, any of these wine would be a good choice. They all highlight the meal in their own unique ways, but surprisingly, they all went well from start to finish. 

2019 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca

2019 Ritual Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca 

ABV: 13.5%
SRP: $21
Grapes: organic Sauvignon Blanc
Importer: Gonzales Byass

Located on the northwestern side of Chile’s coast range not far from the Pacific, ocean breezes and morning fog in the extreme east of the Casablanca Valley create a cool climate for grape growing.

Compost feeds soils promoting a balanced and self-regulated ecosystem, while cover cropping revitalizes soils. Sheep help mow the grass and provide natural fertilizers. Surrounded by 6000 acres of native forest with wildlife corridors brings a balanced, biodiverse landscape around the vines for birds and insects.

Well-drained, decomposed granitic soils contribute character to the fruit which is whole-cluster pressed then sits for 36 hours. Winemaker Sofia Araya uses a combination of concrete eggs (30%), neutral oak barrels (30%), and 40% in stainless steel tanks and aged for eight to ten months, stirring lees based on the fruit days of the biodynamic calendar.

Learn more about Ritual wines here.

Appearance:  Platinum, very clear, very pale, white gold

Aroma: Grassy, jalapeno, pollen, meadow flowers, gooseberry, slate, minerals, petricore, 

Palate: Grassy, gooseberry, jalapeño, lemon lime, new world characteristics, salinity, good acidity, nicely clean, pleasant easy to drink wine. 

Pairing: The salad is perfect with the wine. The brightness of the citrus, richness of the dried apricots, and the greens go so well with the wine. The empanadas also went quite nicely with the wine. The bright jalapeno vinegarette and the wine worked so well together. The empanada and the salad with the wine was like a high end meal, very impressive. At the end of the meal with just a few bites of empanadas this was the wine that Sue wanted to finish her last two bites with. Because the stew is mainly vegetables and the broth that is created from the meat, the wine works with the meal. The wine also works surprisingly well with the meat. It is kind of refreshing and cuts through the richness of the dish. 

2018 Terranoble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Colchagua

2018 Terranoble Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle de Colchagua 

ABV: 14.0%
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Importer: Winebow

Almost 100k acres of Cabernet Sauvignon is planted in Chile; that’s about 20% of the Chilean vineyards grown mainly in two regions, Maipo and Colchagua. Cabernet Sauvignon from Maipo brings red and dark fruit with polished tannins and juicy freshness to the palate while Cabernet Sauvignon from Colchagua has darker fruit, structured tannins, and moderate freshness. This Terranoble Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Colchagua, located 80 miles south of Santiago and at 2000′ in elevation. The growing region is shaped by the Tinguinirica River which starts in a volcanic crater, and leaves behind gravel-heavy alluvial terraces; in flatter regions, it leaves more deposits of clay. As the valley descends, temperatures rise. Learn more about Chile’s Cabernet Sauvignon here. Read about Terramonte Carmener here.

Appearance:  Ruby, garnet rim, medium density, 

Aroma: Cherry, cherry pipe tobacco, plum, some herbasiousness, eucalyptus, 

Palate: Cherry, eucalyptus, cherry cough drop, tobacco, oak is very present, cassis on the finish, this is not a very complex Cab, it is unassuming, it is pleasant to drink, you could have this as a cocktail wine and be very happy cheers!

Pairing: The fruit characteristics in this wine work nicely with the citrus in the salad. The stew brings out the spice in the wine, it lends it more complexity and makes it more than just fruit. The butternut squash took on an amazing flavor while cooking in the stew. 

2017 Primus: The Blend, Apalta, Valle de Colchagua

2017 Primus: The Blend, Apalta, Valle de Colchagua 

ABV: 14.0%
SRP: $21
Grapes: organically grown with 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Carmenere, 10% Petite Verdot 5% Merlot, 5% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc
Importer: Gonzales Byass

The word “Primus” stems from Latin for “the first” or “the first among its peers.” Over 20 years, Primus began blending Cabernet and Carmenere. Organically farmed grapes for this blend are sourced from DO Apalta, a newer appellations located where the Andes and Coastal mountains meet. Wine is aged in oak barrels and foudres for finesse. The sustainability story at Primus goes beyond the grapes; they are a B Corp.

Appearance:  Ruby, garnet rim, medium plus density, 

Aroma: Cherry, sweet cherry, sweet tobacco, vanilla, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, mint, caramel, caramel apple, 

Palate: Interesting textural qualities, smooth tasting, with grippy tannins, it slides down easily, then gets you texturally, cherry, blueberry, blue fruit, leather, tobacco, oak finish

Pairing: The stew brings forward the blue fruit in the wine, the butternut squash becomes super sweet, like roasted in brown sugar and water sweet, The citrus in the salad highlights the blue fruit in the wine and the cilantro highlights  green notes in the wine that were not evident prior to food. The salad works better than we expected for this bold red wine. The empanada and the sauce are an over the top pairing for this wine again making the wine so much more complex than without the food. The many layers of flavor in the meal brought out many more layers of flavor in the wine. 

2017 Primus: The Blend, Apalta, Valle de Colchagua

2019 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva, Malbec DO Marchigue 

ABV: 13.5%
Grapes: Malbec
Importer: Concha y Toro

Argentina isn’t the only South American country making Malbec beside the Andes! Concha y Toro is one of the big names in Chilean Wine, especially with Cabernet Sauvignon as in their flagship Don Melchor from Maipo Valley.

Appearance:  Very dense, ruby, maroon, pinkish violet rim, 

Aroma: Fruit forward, almost like fruit punch, blueberry, blackberry, sage, black pepper spice, carnation, lavender, herbs d’ Provence, herbs flowers and fruit all at the same time, warm resins of sandalwood, 

Palate: Fresh blueberries, the whole fruit of the blueberry, textural taste and feel of sage, grippy tannins on the finish after the blue fruit dissipates, the blue fruit is a standout for this wine. 

Pairing: The wine is transformed with our stew. The meat and the broth in our stew balances out the fruit and the richness of the meal balances out the grippy characteristics in the wine. There is a rush of fresh blue fruit after taking a sip after eating the stew. The tannins are still there, but they are not as elevated as without the meal. The wine and the salad were good together, they did not sing together as much as the other wines, but it was a surprise at how well the citrus works with the wine. We appreciated the quality of the ground beef in the empanadas when paired with this wine. The wine enhances all of the flavors in the empanada and they all came out to play together, the coriander, and the cumin, and the smoked paprika, 


Quinoa Herb Citrus Salad 

Adapted from here 

Ingredients to Yield: 6 servings

2 C water

1 cups dry quinoa, rinsed

2/3 cups dried apricots, diced

2/3 cups of Chilean orange juice

2 T chopped parsley

2 T chopped cilantro

2 T chopped mint

2 T orange zest

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

2 T olive oil

3 to 4 medium Mandarin oranges, segmented

Salad Greens (6 oz) 



1. Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.

2. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Toss with apricots and raisins.

3. In a separate bowl, mix orange juice, shallots, parsley, cilantro, mint, orange zest,

cumin and coriander. Whisk in oil.

4. Pour dressing over quinoa and toss to coat.

5. On a bed of greens, mound quinoa mixture and garnish with orange slices.


Instant Pot Cazuela de Vacuna with beef shanks

Adapted from here

Serves 6-8 


  • 3# Beef ShanksOsso Bucco (3 large shanks)
  • 4 small potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut in large chunks
  • 1/4 c onion, finely minced
  • 2 large carrots cut in larges chunks
  • 1/2# green beans
  • 1 T  red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 ears corn on the cob, quartered (we did this but do not recommend it; we used a knife to remove the corn)
  • other vegetables as desired including peas
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup of rice 
  • Salt to taste


  1. Place 1T olive oil in instant pot on saute setting.
  2. Salt and pepper meat.
  3. When oil is hot, saute beef shanks on both sides until brown.
  4. Add onion and garlic and saute with the meat for 1 to 2 minutes being careful not to burn.
  5. Add 2 quarts beef broth, set to manual pressure high for 40 minutes.
  6. Let steam slow release about 10 minutes, then quick release to remove lid.
  7. Add red pepper flakes, oregano, carrots, butternut squash, potatoes, corn, rice and green beans on saute setting. 
  8. Boil for additional 20 minutes until potatoes are tender; if meat is thin considering removing so it doesn’t get tough.
  9. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.

For more wines from Chile with pairings, click on these articles here on Wine Predator: 

For more wines from Chile in 2023, subscribe! In April for Earth Month the World Wine Travel group will focus on organic wines and later in the year, on coastal wines, and finally on Carmenere which is most famously from Chile.

Check out these articles below from the World Wine Travel Group of wine writers to learn more about Chilean Wine and Food Pairings:


Note: No twitter chat this month; instead there’s a Google meet up Saturday at 8am Pacific. (Don’t look for me–not my bag and hopefully I’ll still be asleep!)

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