The Wonderfully Diverse Wines of Chile

Talk about diversity. Chile is home to the driest place on Earth (the Atacama Desert), and some of the tallest peaks in the world (within the Andes mountain range).

That geographic diversity creates climatic diversity, and that translates to numerous regions where perfectly ripened wine grapes can be grown and world-class wines can be made.

As demonstrated Vinesse’s Best of Chile Collection, the sources of delicious renditions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are by no means limited to the vineyards of France and California.

In fact, the wines of Chile have become so coveted that the country has risen to the No. 9 position on the global wine-producing map.

Chile has been described as an “agricultural island,” with four natural barriers — the Pacific Ocean, the Patagonian ice fields, and the aforementioned Atacama Desert and Andes mountain range — creating microclimates that are conducive to world-class wine production.

The Maule Valley, for instance, brings us the outstanding 2016 Zurdo Maule Valley Chile Merlot. Made from grapes grown in soils that are quite rocky, it’s a wine of lovely purity, elegance and freshness, joined by just a hint of spice.

The Colchagua Valley, situated about 80 miles south of Chile’s capital city of Santiago, is home to a winery named Koyle, where Biodynamic farming is practiced. It crafts the 2012 Koyle Colchagua Valley ‘Gran Reserva’ Chile Cabernet Sauvignon which is deep, rich, complex and compelling.

Great Cabernet also is made in the Limari Valey, one of Chile’s northernmost winegrowing regions, as demonstrated by the 2015 Tierra Del Sol Valle Del Limari Reserva Chile Cabernet Sauvignon. Jose Pablo Martin strives to make wines that are in perfect balance, and the 2015 vintage defines “balance” as it is simultaneously complex and elegant.

The history of wine in Chile began with the arrival of the Spanish conquerors. It continued when Catholic missionaries planted vineyards to make wine for mass rituals. But it wasn’t until late in the 20th century, when a handful of large wine companies recognized the potential of Chile as a wine-producing country and invested in new vineyard plantings, that things really took off.

Now, the wines of Chile more than hold their own next to those of more famous wine countries. If you haven’t given them a try, now is the time, and Vinesse’s Best of Chile Collection makes it easy.

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Posted in Wine Buzz, Wine Region Profiles

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