Chile has often been descrbed as a viticultural paradise, with its dry summers and protection from Pacific Oceant to the west the mountains of the Andres to the east. Recognised as being phylloxera-free, Chile’s vines have scarcely encountered any form of disease. The Atacama Desert ot the north provides the final barrier. Most of Chile’s wine regions are found to the south Casablanca Valley to the north. Casablanca is particularly suited to growing white grapes, as the climate is strongly influenced by the cold Humbolt current off the Pacific Ocean.
The Central Valley region is a vast area which sits some 600 meters above sea level. There are four rivers which run form the Andes to the ocean, and each lends its name to an appellation. From north to south they are: Maipo Valley, Rapel, Curicó and Maule. Each area enjoys its own microclimate and has well-known sub-zones, such as Colchagua in Rapel, a source of some great Merlot.
A high proportion of Chile’s vineyards are planted with internationally popular classic grape varieties.
|Merlot helped Chilean wines to gain their reputation for the hallmark rich plummy characteristics that drinkers enjoy so much. Wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon were among the first to attract international acclaim, but by far the most interesting in terms of its history and potential is Carménere.|