Beautiful & Diverse

Chile is an extremely diverse and one of the most interesting places to explore wine. With so much on offer and a multitude of varieties to try, this is one country that is guaranteed to please everyone. Chile is going through its own renaissance right now, and we are seeing a real push on promoting the quality aspect of the wines produced here. For too long we have thought of Chile as cheap and cheerful, but this is fast changing as we finally begin to understand and appreciate the quality of wines we taste.

The path to Chile becoming one of the global exporters of wine began at almost the same time it was conquered by the Spanish. The land here was quickly identified as the perfect place to plant vines brought over from Europe. It was in the middle of the 19th C, during the economic boom, that Chile started exploring France, in an effort to emulate the practices and techniques back on their own land. A selection of the finest “scions” were brought back and planted, just a few decades before the phylloxera plague took hold and wiped out many of the vineyards across Europe.

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A new wave

In Chile, these European varieties were grafted onto their own rootstock and in time, became a valuable genetic material for the future, most notably for Carménère (an almost extinct variety) to be developed unwittingly among the many rows of Merlot vines. It is also worth noting that to this day, Chile has remained Phylloxera-free, mainly because of its geographical location, with the mighty Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

1980 signalled a significant moment in Chilean wine history, when Spanish producer Miguel Torres arrived in the county and modernised wine production. Among the changes he implemented were stainless steel fermentation and French oak integration. These techniques and others were embraced by producers at the time, leading to a new wave of plantings and the sustained growth of wine exports.

New areas for cultivation are still being discovered, with many plantings now reaching up into the Andes Mountains searching for coolness, and in the most Northern and Southern parts of the country. With a length of just over 2,600 miles to explore, this is just the start of what’s to come for Chile.

Key regions to explore include:

Atacama Region

Principle Sub Regions - Copiapo Valley, Huasca Valley.

Key Varietals - Grapes grown for Pisco.

Coquimbo Region

Principle Sub Regions - Elqui Valley, Limari Valley, Choapa Valley.

Key Varietals - Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.

Aconcagua Region

Principle Sub Regions - Aconcagua Valley, Casablanca Valley, San Antonio Valley.

Key Varietals - Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.

Central Valley Region

Principle Sub Regions - Maipo Valley, Cachapoal Valley, Rapel Valley, Colchagua Valley, Curicó Valley, Maule Valley.

Key Varietals - Carménère, Bordeaux Blend, Syrah, Pais, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.

South Region

Principle Sub Regions - Itata Valley, Bio-Bio Valley, Malleco Valley.

Key Varietals - Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.