Wines of Southern Chile and the Malleco Valley

August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

The southernmost of Chile’s wine regions is the Malleco Valley. The Malleco Valley is noted for its hot dry summers and cold winters.  The high rainfall and short growing season make the area perfect for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while difficult for other varietals.  The cool summer nights of the region help the grapes to have a high natural acidity and a full fruit flavor.

The wines from the Malleco Valley are relatively new and interest if you are interested in trying wine from this region we suggest a Chardonnay.

Vina Aquitania Chardonnay Sol de Sol
Winery by Bruno Prats and Paul Pontallier well known agronomists and oenologists from Bordeaux France partnered with Chilean Felipe de Solminihac and Ghislain de Montgolfier from the Champagne region.

“Bright yellow color and intense aroma of grapefruit, lemon, grilled hazelnut with a mineral touch.  On the palate a soft butter texture mixed with alive varietal fruit.  The intensity is enhanced by the excellent acidity.  The aftertaste is very long with an intense finish.”

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Wines of Southern Chile and the Bio Bio Valley

August 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

In the middle of Chile’s southern wine district is the Bio Bio Valley.  Warm days and cold nights make for a long ripening season.  The valley also sees greater rainfall and stronger winds making wine production more challenging than the zones to the north. The area has new plantations of cool-climate varietals like Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurtraminer, Viognier and Pinot Noir.

The Bio Bio valley is noted for its crisp aromatic wine if you are looking for a wine from the Bio Bio Valley try a dry white or red.

Recommended Wines from the Bio Bio Valley

2009 Porta Chardonnay Reserva Bio Bio Valley
RP 90 points
89.5 Wine Messenger
Deep golden color with nose of honeyed apples, white flowers and nuts. Medium bodied with instant good grip, some fate, flavors of pineapple and tinges of citrus; clean, long vanilla finish. Ideal now to drink over the next two years.  Perfect for aperitif; ideal for spicy foods, helled fish, salads and goat cheeses.”

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Wines of Southern Chile – Itata Valley Wines

August 2, 2011 § 2 Comments

The northernmost valley of Chile’s southern wine region is located 400 km south of Santiago.  This is one of the traditional wine regions of Chile and was originally planted
during colonial times.  Originally the grapes from Itata produced a bulk table wine.  However since 1993 the government of Chile hass been working with local vineyards to enhance the areas wine traditions.

The Itata Valley is noted for its Mediterranean weather, cool and windy summer days and rainy winters.  The soils are sandy and rich in minerals.  Here vintages are produced in two stages white grapes have the early harvest from the end of February to mid-March (the end of summer).  While red grapes are harvested in late summer to early fall (mid-March to the end of April).

The Itata Valley produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot, Tintorera, Simillon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc among others.  The regions focus of late has been on organic production and high quality standards.  The Itata Valley Wineries are popular with tourists.

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Wines of Aconcagua Chile and the San Antonio Valley

July 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

San Antonio is approximately 1 hour north of Santiago.  This is a relatively new wine area planted in the mid-90’s.  The regions vineyards are planted along the rolling hillsides just 2 ½ miles from the coast and like the Casablanca Valley the climate is strongly influenced by the cool waters of the Humboldt Current.

The wines from San Antonio benefit from the clay soil and cool air and are noted as crisp, lean, mineral fresh whites and spicy reds.

The San Antonio Valley is a smaller wine district with 327 hectors planted.  If you are interested in trying a wine from San Antonio try a Syrah, Pinot Gris or Merlot-Malbec blend.

San Antonio Valley Wines of Note:

Matetic EQ Syrah 2007
Wine Enthusiast 92 points Editors Choice
Wine Advocate 90+ points
Wine Spectator 90 Points
“Pure, inviting and open, with cedar, tobacco, blackberry, earth and cookie dough aromas scattered all over a robust bouquet.  Deep but fresh, with a fine balance and a bold, jammy set of blackberry and black-pepper flavors.  Finishes well, with integration and easygoing tannins.  Drink now through 2013.”

Matetic Corralillo Winemaker’s Blend 2008
Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
“A full-force, racy blend led by Merlot.  It’s ripe, staunch, mildly herbal and shows aromas of leather, savory berry and molasses. The palate is saturated, acid-driven and clacky, so it’s lively stuff with medicinal, ripe berry and spice flavors.
Finishes snappy and crisp, with pronounced acidity and tannins.”

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Wines of Aconcagua Chile and the Casablanca Valley

July 23, 2011 § 3 Comments

Located 60 miles north-west of Santiago, the Casablanca Valley was first planted in the mid-1980’s making it a relative newcomer in the wine world. The coastal cool climate region produces a crisp fresh fruity wines most notably Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay as well as Pinot Noir. The regions cooler climate allows for a longer ripening period and thus the grapes develop a more complex flavor while keeping the sugars and acids in balance.

If you are looking to try wines from the Aconcagua Valley try either a hearty red from the interior or a white from the coast.

Aconcagua Valley Wines of Note

Chilcas 2006 Aguas Frescas Sauvignon Blanc
Wine Enthusiast Rating 90
Right from the start the pure, defined citrus and grass aromas draw you in.  After that, the grapefruit on the palate is clean and quenching, while on the fringe there’s a hint of pickle and green apple.  Overall it’s a wine that pushes the right buttons.

Viu Manent 2007 Reserva Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley)
Wine Enthusiast Rating 90
For a first effort from Casablanca, Viu Manent has hit a home run.  This wine is a classic New World Chard, meaning it’s liberally oaked, vibrant, ripe and full of tropical fruit.  But along with the obvious there are also notes of cinnamon, mineral, exotic apple and butterscotch.

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Wines of Aconcagua Chile the Aconcagua Valley

July 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

Mountaineers know Aconcagua as one of the 7 summits – the highest peak in South America.  This great mountain with it snow covered peak towers over the fertile Aconcagua Valley below as well as providing the area with water.  The region has long been cultuvating red grapes and newer coastal plantations are also producing white wines.

When Don Maximiano Errazuriz planeted the first vineyards here the area was thought to be unsuited for wine grapes.  However the Aconcagua Valley now has approximately 1100 hecters of planted vineyards dominated by what Errazuriz started and a few other producers. Cabernet Sauvingnon is the big star here with Merlot coming in second and Syrah a close third.  The Aconcagua Valley is home to the acclaimed Sena Vineyard a joint venture with California wine maker Robert Mondavi.

If you are looking to try wines from the Aconcagua Valley try either a hearty red from the interior or a white from the coast.

Aconcagua Valley Wines of Note

The EErrazuriz Winery was names “Winery of the Year 2008” by the Wines of Chile Associtaion and “Producer of the Year 2008” at the 39th International Wine & spirts Competion Awards in the UK.

Errazuriz Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Wine Enthusiast Rated 91 points
“Deep red. Pungent aromas of redcurrant, cherry pit, licorice, cedar and tobacco: this is textbook cabernet. Juicy and lively, with very good sweetness of fruit and noteworthy sappiness and clarity. Harmonius and gently spicy, finishing with sweet tannins and lingering smokiness.”

Errarzuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay 2008
Wine Advocate 90 points
“There is one white wine among the new releases, the 2008 Chardonnay Wild Ferment, which was barrel-fermented and aged in 21% new French oak. Light gold in color with an enticing perfume of buttered popcorn, mineral, baking spices, spiced apple, and pear on the palate, it reveals a smooth texture, spicy flavors, and excellent balance. This excellent value can be enjoyed now and over the next 4 years.”

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Wines of Coquimbo Chile and the Choapa Valley

July 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

Located in the north, slightly south of the Limari and Elqui Valleys, the Choapa Valley is located at the narrowest part of Chile.  Without a coastal range to seperate the two there is little distance between the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and the snow capped Andes.  The vineyards and other agriculture of the region are completely dependent on irrigation.

The vineyards here were planted on the rocky piedmont soils and produce wines with a high acidy and low ph.  There are only 134 planted hectres in Choapa Valley is 100% dedicated to the production of red wine either Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah.

If you trying wines from the Choapa Valley we suggest a De Martino Legado Reserva Syrah 2005 – 2008.  De Martino was featured on the cover of the September 2010 Wine Spetator Magazine and was only only 4 wines to make their Top 100 Wines for 2010.

“The Syrah — which is the only wine made in the Choapa Valley of Chile — is rated with 90 points and one of only four Chilean reds listed among the 125. In fact, of those 200 wines, only six are rated as high as 90 — and two of those are from De Martino! The other 90-point, “Top Value” from the winery is De Martino Legado Chardonnay, from the Limari Valley.”

Tasting Notes:  A smoky, restrained style, with mulled black currant and blackberry fruit sitting in reserve and mesquite, graphite and white pepper notes weaving in and out. The finish lets the smoky hint linger nicely. Drink now through 2011.

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