At more than 2,500 miles long and an average of just 110 miles wide, Chile has an enviable geographic and climatic diversity ideally suited for interesting and varied grape-growing. Famously phylloxera-free for its entire wine-producing history, Chile’s dry summers invariably yield exceptionally healthy grapes, and the best of the country’s forward-looking winemakers are turning these into higher quality and better value-for-money wines.
Traditionally, most of Chile’s wine has come from the 1000km long Central Valley plateau, which includes the Maipo region, lying just south of the capital Santiago and producing what is considered to be the country’s best Cabernet Sauvignon. A unique point of difference open to Chilean wine producers is the capacity to exploit the red grape variety Carmenère. Originally a Bordeaux variety (where it has virtually died out now), Carmenère was discovered in Chile masquerading as Merlot. A pure ungrafted variety of impeccable breeding Carmenère has the potential to fly the flag for Chilean wines unchallenged (as yet!) by major plantings anywhere else in the world.
Casablanca is one of Chile’s coolest regions and is particularly suited to the grape varieties Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.