Chile has been producing wine since its first European settlers arrived in the mid-16th century and today counts as one of South America’s most important wine-producing countries.
Taste your way through the Chilean wine list
Chile boasts a wide range of terroirs thanks to its long, thin shape hugging the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes to the east, and stretching from the arid Atacama Desert in the north right down to the tip of the South American Continent. Its extraordinarily varied climate and topography make it a winemaker’s paradise.
Traditionally, the best Chilean wines came from the Central Valley, the home and heartland of Chilean wine. Best, nowadays, however does not only mean the full-bodied, robust reds from Chilean wine’s viticultural home. Powerful Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux Blends and its signature variety Carménère are increasingly being supplemented by cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, crisp aromatic Sauvignon Blanc and characterful Syrah from other parts of the country.
Exploring new terroirs
Energetic winemakers are tirelessly exploring and developing new areas in Chile in the search for new terroir and cooler climates to produce exciting, unique wines.
New zones like San Antonio, closer to the cooling influences of the Pacific, and Limarí, in the far north of the country, closer to the Atacama Desert than to the country’s capital Santiago, have supplemented the country’s historic Central Valley vineyards. Semi-abandoned regions in the south, such as Itata and Maule are now being revived as sources of new styles and flavours. Old Cinsault and Moscatel de Alejandria planted in Itata are starting to produce interesting wines. Pioneering winemakers are also setting their sights on the Atacama itself. Carefully selected sites in regions such as Bío-Bío and Malleco in the far south of the country are being developed for the production of white wine.
Cool-climate wines from Casablanca and San Antonio
Some of the best Chilean white wine is produced in the Casablanca and San Antonio regions, closer to the coast, where they benefit from the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and the Humboldt Current. Best-known for its crisp Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Casablanca is also increasingly recognised for the quality of its Pinot Noir. Some of the best wines from Chile are produced in these cooler regions with spectacular backdrops of rolling green hills.
Prestigious Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux Blends from Maipo
Some of the best Chilean wines come from Maipo, the home of Chilean viticulture, where many French-influenced estates were founded in the 1800s. Some of these are still important names today and continue to produce rich, fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux Blends just south of Santiago.
Discover Chile’s finest Carménère in the Cachapoal Valley
Some of the best wines from Chile’s flagship variety Carménère are grown in the western parts of the Cachapoal Valley, just to the south of Maipo. The more fertile loam and climate of the up-and-coming Puemo sub-region provides the ideal mesoclimate for growing Chile’s signature grape.
Explore daring viticulture in marginal climates Chile’s far north
The rocky, arid landscapes of Limarí and Elqui in the far north of Chile also yield some of best Chilean white wine. Crisp, grassy Sauvignon Blanc and elegant Chardonnay are perfect to sip after an evening’s star gazing in one of Elqui’s numerous astronomical observatories.
Our local experts at Wine Paths will help you discover the very best Chilean wines and landscapes. Whether you want to explore crisp white wine near the ocean or in the Andean foothills or sample powerful, yet elegant reds before a night out in Chile’s vibrant capital Santiago, our experts will ensure you discover the best of Chile.
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