Chile

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The potential to be one of the greatest wine making regions in the world... a wine-makers (and wine-lovers) paradise.

Located in South America below Peru and next to Argentina, Chile is a long, thin strip with thousands of miles of coastal beaches, rocky outlets and forest fjords. There is a coastal range of mountains which runs from north to south along the Pacific coast of South America parallel to the Andes Mountains. All these elements contribute to the unique climate of Chile.

We all know Chilean wines for its great varietal Sauvignon and Merlot which are commonplace in many restaurants and bars, but this region has so much more to give. Although these wines, many of which from the Central Valley, have made Chile the 7th largest wine making region in the world.

When you delve deeper into Chile you realise its true character and ability. 600km north of Santiago and you reach the Limari Valley. Here the combination of limestone soils, cool climate conditions and little rainfall all create this perfect storm which creates wines of great purity; fruit forward with a slightly herbaceous character and a mineral backbone. On a recent trip to Limari I was blown away by the desert-like landscape, the freezing morning temperatures followed by the heat of the day and the high altitude of some of these wines.

Rio Hurtardo which is deep into the Andes has vineyards at 1600m. These show character and depth of fruit like I have never tasted before. Again it is extremely dry here but the snow melt from the Andes Mountains provide the water needed for irrigation. The Talinay vineyards on the parallel mountains of the Pacific are rich in limestone. They have an annual average rainfall of 80mm per year (compared to 1100mm on the other side of the mountain), the days are hot but coastal breezes and the Camanchaca fog keep the vines cool and so retain freshness in the grapes. The resulting wines made here are pure and elegant with a high mineral backbone and flintiness.

Below wines to try is the Roco Madre Malbec from Rio Hurtardo and the Talinay Sauvignon from the Pacfic side. 

 Roca Madre Malbec           Tabali Talinay Sauvignon Blanc

In terms of climatic conditions Chile really is perfection. Today, the types of grape varietals are growing too... from iconic spicy and warm Carmenere to slightly off dry rich Viognier, but watch out for their Bordeaux style Cabernet and Loire style Sauvignons!

It really is Chile's time to shine and if you pop into the shop we have wines from £6.99 to £40 from this amazing country to show you.

Last Updated: 08/08/2019
Author: Sarah Hattersley
Sarah Hattersley

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