Pretty much every Chilean Cabernet is touted as a reserve bottling, which renders the term entirely meaningless. Whether true or an advertising ploy, the accuracy of the statement is irrelevant to winos in the US where a reserve bottling is expected to be the best a winery has to offer and is noticeably better than the regular vintage.
Back in the days of my vagrant yoot many Chilean cabs had something going on that would almost immediately induce an allergic reaction on my part. Drink a bottle of Chilean cabernet and wake up with a cold. Thankfully, whatever those guys were doing, they've stopped.
The 2012 Santa Alicia is a pretty good wine, especially considering it is under ten dollars (US) almost everywhere. I picked up a bottle on a lark from Cost Plus World Market for $7.99 plus a 20% discount for buying any four bottles (mix or match). That offer is good through November 16th, so hustle up. No, I did not get paid for saying that. Not in wine, not in cash. Dammit!
The wine is full bodied with aromas of dark chocolate and dark fruit. On the palate it is just a tiny bit reminiscent of a good Pinot Noir, with hints of raspberry and strawberry. I appreciate that it isn't over-oaked. The finish lingers for a moment and eases away.
Santa Alicia Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Reserva is a brilliant and deep ruby red color. Aromas of ripe fruit, bitter chocolate and spices. This wine also has good structure and concentration with round tannins. Pairs well with red meats, barbecue and a large array of cheese.
Santa Alicia is a mass market wine intended primarily for export. That works for moi because the wine is affordable enough for everyday drinking and yet one could serve it at a dinner party without remorse.