Chile is nature on a grand scale, this long and thin South American country is where rushing rivers meet soaring peaks. It is a land of extremities and stretches right from the middle of the continent to its very southern tip. The landscape is stunning and offers volcanoes, vast deserts, ancient forests, grand glaciers, fertile valleys and majestic fjords.
As well as this stunning array of natural beauty it also produces some of the finest New World Wines that you can possibly find. The diversity of Chile makes for very interesting wines that can be complex yet very quaffable, and parts of the country have a similar climate to that of the Mediterranean, with the Andes providing cooler temperatures.
The best wines to be produced out of this complex bi-structure are Carmenere, Sauvignon Blac, Chardonay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. All these wines punch their weight against traditional wine producing countries but are a fraction of the price.
Chile employs the D.O. system (Denomination of Origin) to define the areas of wine production. And the main wine producing areas are broken further down into sub-regions, that are also separated into zones. The label on the bottle will always carry the information for identification purposes.
The label on a bottle of wine from Chile will also name the grape variety and what type of terrain the grapes are grown. There are three terrains, Andes, Entre, and Costa.
- Andes – wines from the Andes mountains.
- Entre – Entre Cordilleras which is the mid-mountain area.
- Costa – wines from the coastal area.
These three terrains perfectly fit the D.O. system, and more information is included about the elevation of the terrain, its atmosphere, its terroir, which all go to tell the purchaser exactly what sort of wine they are buying.
The Andes region has sedimentary soil and the air is cool coming straight from the mountains. The terrain is a mix of mountainous steep slopes right down to a fertile valley floor. The tall mountains protect the grapes from too much sunlight, and temperatures are cool. This area produces some fine red wines along with some interesting sparkling whites.
This area is responsible for the production of over half of Chile’s wines. The expanse of flat and fertile lands are some of the oldest wine growing areas in the country. The climate is similar to that of the Mediterranean and the soil is rich and fertile. The wines produced here are elegant and perfect for aging, the best examples are Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Costa region has a cool breeze straight from the Pacific Ocean, and the area specializes in cool-climate wines. The soil is rather chalky which imparts a high level of acidity into the wine as well as a plethora of minerals.
New World Wines have gathered a fine reputation among the wines of the world, and Chile produces some of the best wines in South America. The standard is consistently high and the D.O. system makes it easy to find the exact wine you want.