Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wines from Chile...Great, Unique and now 4th biggest exporter! Good Juice!

It’s amazing that in just a few short years, Chile had become the world's 10th largest wine exporter!
Here's a short story on Chile's wine.
Chile is the 4th biggest exporter of wine to the United States.  The country is very resourceful with virtually all major varietals represented. The country produces its fair share of white wine but Chile is probably most recognized for its assortment of reds. In sheer volume, Cabernet Sauvignon is the country's bestseller, but Chile is also known for producing some tasty, spicy, ripe stylistic Syrah as well.

Chile's terroir is essentially textbook for wine production. With its 800 miles of coastline cushioned between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean it shields its grapevines from a lot of the vexations that plague other wine regions of the world. The melting snow from the Andes flows into Chile's wine-growing regions, providing vital irrigation in the face of a relatively dry climate.

Chile has a number of winemaking regions, each unique. All through the country, vineyards on the coastline benefit of the cooler temperatures to produce the white wines, while those vineyards located inland hang on the warmer weather to produce the reds.

The Casablanca Valley is essentially the main white wine region in Chile. Located in the northern part of Chile and with its closeness to the coast it’s the perfect climate for growing wine much of Chile's Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, along with other whites like Viognier and Riesling. Pinot Noir, which is a red that really likes the cool weather is also grown successfully in Casablanca.
Farther south and inland, you'll find the Maipo Valley, which is the oldest winemaking region in Chile with over 30,000 acres of vineyards. The Maipo Valley is the epicenter of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot production. The city of Santiago, is the country's capital and it’s in heart of the Maipo Valley which makes for great for traveling to this wine region.

Below the Maipo Valley is the Rapel region, which is home to the Cachapoal and Colchagua valleys.

Rapel is also home to Apalta, probably Chile's most renowned vineyard. This rich history, burly, rugged terrain and countless vineyards located in close proximity to one another makes the area very  popular for tourists.
This area is home to the Carmenere. This and a lot of other varietals are produced here.

In a story that's being told over and over these days...for years, Chile produced enormous quantities of what was thought to be Merlot; and basically all of this juice was sold inside the country, which makes it all the fascinating. In the 1990s, a bunch of wine buffs from France curious about the origins of the Chilean grapes, analyzed the grapes and were able to identify them as Carmenere, not Merlot! 
Once grown throughout France, Carmenere was all but devastated due to the insect infestation in the 19th century which virtually eliminated these vines. Fortunately the Spaniards brought trimmings to Chile back then and now more than a hundred years later Carmenere has become Chile's signature wine; along with it’s flavorsome hints of five spices, herbaceous pepper and dark plums.

…and what’s also interesting is that many of Chile's vineyards were started using vines imported from France; but that’s another story for another day.… Yep! most of the world has only recently discovered Chilean wine, but its wine production in the country dates back to the 16th century!

Here are some Chilean wines to seek that are making quality across their portfolio where the value wines provide some good juice plus a fine representation of their regions and varietals… and the higher end wines can get really classy and downright prized!

Concha Y Toro


Casa Lapostolle

Vina Montes

Vina san Pedro

Vina Santa Rita

Vina Almaviva




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