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Southern Chile

Old Vine the the Itata Valley, Southern Chile 

The Southern Chilean Wine Region is classed as one of the five principal wine growing zones of Chile. It encompasses the three wine-producing sub regions of: the Bío Bío Valley, the Malleco Valley and the Itata Valley. The Bío-Bío Valley marks the true transition into southern Chile, an area that was previously considered too southern for viticulture. Cold weather conditions are favourable for the production of Burgundian grape varieties, Chardonnay and especially Pinot Noir, but it is also an area suitable for other white varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling south of the Biobío River. Its soils are sandy and stony in nature, and fluvial organic deposits make it fertile and productive.

Malleco, located between the Andes Mountain Range and Nahuelbuta Mountain Range, is a wine region still in its infancy and with a marginal climate, high rainfall and short growing season, it is a challenging region for grape growers. However, the crisp, fresh wines produced here from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. are slowly beginning to attract international attention.

The first vines of the Itata Valley were planted by Spanish conquerors in 1551, thereby making this region a forerunner of winemaking in Chile. Due to its proximity to the city of Concepción - one of the main Chilean ports at the time - this valley soon became one of the largest wine suppliers, not only to the rest of the country, but also to the entire Spanish Empire in the Americas. The settlers initially brought Muscat of Alexandria and the Pais grape (also know as Listan Prieto), which were picked while passing through the Canary Islands on their way to Latin America. At the turn of the 20th Century other varieties were introduced including Cinsault and other white varieties, which have not been properly identified yet; the so-called “Corinto” variety is one of them.

 

 

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