Chile - Principal Wine Regions - Central Valley

5 important questions on Chile - Principal Wine Regions - Central Valley

Central Valley in Chile

  • Large region
  • largely sheltered from maritime influences by the coastal ranges
  • grapes grow on warm, fertile, well-irrigated plans
  • traditionally ripe, fruity, inexpensive red wines > successful on export market
  • now some producers explore other sites/soils > complexity
  • sub-regions:
    • Maipo Valley
    • Rapel Valley
      • Cachapoal Valley
      • Colchagua Valley
    • Curicó Valley
    • Maule Valley
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Maipo Valley in Central Valley, Chile

  • Surrounds capital Santiago
  • protected by coastal range > warm and sunny
  • black rapes dominate
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
    • from valley floors > high but soft tannins
    • intense aromas of cassis and often a minty character
    • good - very good
    • inexpensive-midpriced
  • Carmenere - Syrah
  • Merlot for inexpensive wines
  • surrounded by mountains > sites up to 1.000m
  • nights cooled by mountain breezes
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Rapel Valley in Central Valley, Chile

Cachapoal Valley
  • northern of Rapel Valley
  • warm, cut off from maritime influences
  • fertile valley floor > large volume, inexpensive wines
  • CS, Carmenere, Syrah
  • higher quality CS and Syrah from cooler eastern end at Andean foothills
Colchagua Valley
  • larger
  • variety of wines
  • warm fertile central part vs cooler, less fertile areas
  • produces some of Chile's finest-quality and expensive wines
    • Alpata = south-facing amphitheatre with cool breezes and poor soils
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Curicó Valley in Central Valley, Chile

  • Inexpensive, high-volume red wines
  • warm and dry
  • several rivers > irrigation water easy to source
  • range of grape varieties
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Maule Valley in Central Valley, Chile

  • Most vineyard plantings than else in Chile
  • reputation cheap high-volume wines > now increasingly produces very good quality wines
  • warm and dry
  • sometimes sufficient rainfall in winter to 'survive' summer drought
  • old bush vines País and Muscat of Alexandria
  • Carignan bush vines revival
    • VIGNO > growers association that promotes old vine, dry-farmed Carignan
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