Chile is a well known wine making country in the Southern Hemisphere. At just over 4200km in length and only just over 150km in width, it has a unique geography found nowhere else on the planet. Chile extends down the west coast of South America squeezed between the Pacific on its west coast, the Andes to its east, the Atacama (driest desert in the world) to its north down to the glaciers on its Southern border. This unique geography, with its natural borders, gives the ideal conditions for growing grapes with very little need for the use of pesticides.
Chile is ideally situated to grow many different grape varieties including:
Carmenere - Chile's signature grape variety comes originally from Bordeaux. It was mistaken for Merlot until 35 years ago when a viticulturalist identified it as Carmenere. Savoury with peppery, spicy notes with hints of blackberry and chocolate. Checkout styles from Rapel Valley.
Merlot - soft, juicy with red fruits with notes of wood spice and vanilla when oak aged. You can't go wrong with a Merlot from Colchagua or Central Valley.
Cabernet Sauvignon - intense, dark juicy blackcurrants with a hint of mint often used within blends in Chile but equally delicious in single varietal styles. Grows very well in Rapel, Aconcagua and Colchagua.
Malbec - dark cherry and blackberry fruit flavours with earthy, violet tones, a great competitor to its Argentinian counterpart. Styles are great from Rapel and Central Valley.
Pinot Noir - fresh flavours of strawberry, cherry and redcurrant. Styles from cooler areas such as Leyda are particularly worth trying.
Chardonnay - rich, ripe and buttery, with peach and tropical notes. For a fresher style look for coastal areas such as Casablanca.
Sauvignon Blanc - crisp and zesty, with herbal and tropical fruits definitely gives New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a run for its money! Again look for coastal regional styles such as Ledya.
If you haven't tried Chilean wine before we have a great selection below to tempt you, we promise you that you won't be disappointed. The 18th September sees Chile celebrate its national independence day - Fiestas Patrias. In celebration of this day why not raise a glass of Chilean wine.