This Month's Crush: Bocanaríz in Santiago

This capital city wine bar showcases Chile's premier pours.

Chile is the seventh largest wine producer on the planet. Yet, until recently, finding a wine bar in its capital city that showcased the premier pours of this homegrown commodity (or any decent bottles, for that matter) was oddly next to impossible.

Thankfully Bocanáriz, which was opened last year by winemakers Daniela Lorenzo and Katherine Hidalgo and restaurant  impresario Jêrome Reynes, has filled this glaring wine gap artfully. With its bilingual sommeliers, 35 by-the-glass choices and its 300-plus-bottle cellar, Bocanáriz (which translates to “mouth-nose”) has fast become Santiago’s preeminent destination for sipping the best Chilean wines.

The food menu is cleverly grouped into nine categories—iodized, light, creamy, aged, smoked, sweet & sour, spicy, stewed and sweet—helping you determine what to pair with, say, a Carmenère, a coastal Sauvignon Blanc or a Carignan.

“Always the wine is the main character in our little theater,” Lorenzo says of her cozy, laid-back bar, located in the historic Barrio Lastarria. “We also offer 10 different flights that allow people to try a set of three wines that highlight a region, or a trend like biodynamics, or dry-farmed vines.”

During a recent visit, our party swooned over winemaker Sven Bruchfeld’s Polkura Block G+I 2008 Syrah. We paired it with blood sausage, pickled beet and mango chutney from the “sweet & sour” section of the menu, and braised wagyu beef with orange zest and Sichuan peppers from the “stewed” heading. Heavenly.

If you go: Be sure to start with a classic corvina ceviche and a zesty Sauvignon Blanc. After that, work with the knowledgeable sommeliers and let your Chilean adventure begin.

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