A special section on Chile, distributed in last Friday’s USA Today, included this article on the country’s wine industry.
If you don’t have time to check it out, here are a few bullet points…
- The country has 14 major wine-producing valleys, and its geographical diversity—desert in the north, damp glacial in the south—makes possible the growing of a great many different types of winegrapes.
- Its “star” variety is Carmenere, which often is referred to as “the lost grape of Bordeaux.”
- Chile has been producing wine for more than 460 years.
- Over the past five years, Chile has produced an average of 234 million gallons of wine per year.
While such statistics and factoids are interesting, they barely begin to tell the story of Chilean wine. That story really is a great many stories—tales of individual farmers and vintners who believed in the potential of the land and put in the effort to match grape varieties to their most accommodating microclimates.
Not to brag—okay, we’re bragging—but the wine clubs of Vinesse have been featuring many special bottlings from Chile for many years.
The USA Today section spotlighted several Chilean labels, and at least four of them have been stocked at one time or another in the Vinesse cellar:
- Cono Sur
- Casas del Bosque
- Casa Silva
- Santa Rita
There’s a wonderful website that’s devoted to Chilean wine, and it includes a map showing where the various wine regions are—from Elqui in the north to Malleco in the south. Click on any of the region names, and you’ll be transported (electronically, that is) to a brief description of the area, along with a list of varieties grown.
The more you know about Chilean wines, the better you’ll understand why the Vinesse wine finders look forward to tracking down the best bottlings for club members.
Have you ever tried Carmenere, or perhaps another variety, from Chile? How did you like it? We’d love to read your thoughts, which are welcome in the comments box below.