Chilean wine is as unique as the country’s geography. A long, thin country spanning nearly 3000 miles from North to South but just over 60 miles across, it is hemmed in by the Pacific Ocean in the West and Andes mountains to the East. This means that the climate varies considerably, from almost Mediterranean in the central valley of Chile nestled at the foot of the Andes to very cool on the coast; with literal desert to the north and frozen desert to the south! The combination of plentiful sunshine, moist coastal fog and cool valley breezes makes for ideal wine making conditions, with a variety of grapes able not only to thrive, but express their unique places of origin with great clarity and character.
Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the finest parts of Chile rival the best of those grown in the Napa Valley or Bordeaux, with the Aconcagua, Colchagua and Maipo Valleys producing some of the country’s finest red wines. Carmenère, Malbec and Merlot are also found in the vineyards of the warmer east, whereas the cooler west, closer to the ocean, favours Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varieties.
However increasingly extreme climates are being sought to promote the creation of super-elegant, fresh and vibrant wines predominantly from Pinor Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay.