Wine has been grown in Chile for centuries, but it wasn’t until wineries from the US and France invested in vineyards during the 1990s that the country really staked a claim for a place at the international wine table While poor quality grapes for domestic consumption once dominated this thin ribbon of land sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific, the Chile wine region is now renowned for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon blends in particular.
The wine region of Chile can essentially be divided into three distinct sections: North, Central and South. While the north and south regions are still being developed by some innovative wine making techniques, the Central region is traditionally where most of the country’s vineyards are found.
The Limari Valley is a hot and dry region northwest of the capital Santiago, cooled by Pacific winds, and has attracted investment from three of the country’s largest wineries: Concha y Toro, San Pedro and Santa Rita.
Aconcagua takes its name from the highest mountain peak in South America. It is one of the warmest regions, but cooler temperatures can be found at higher altitudes producing a range of Bordeaux-style blends from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot as well as wines from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Carménère.
The Casablanca Valley is the first of the newer Chile wine regions that have been established. Part of the region produces fine Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc whites, while the Merlot and Pinot Noirs come from the more mountainous section.
Further south, the San Antonio Valley is being heralded as one of the most exciting new wine regions of Chile – producing some of the finest Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy.
The Chile wine region of Maipo is arguably the best wine region in Chile, not least because of its closeness to the capital Santiago. Vineyards here are cooled by ocean winds to create full-bodied Californian style reds from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties.
Cachapoal is the more northern of the two transverse valleys, where 90% of the vineyards produce red grape varieties, especially Cabernet Sauvignon – while it is also the best place to try Chilean Syrah.
The southern transverse valley of Colchagua is where you will find some of the world’s most revered single varietal Carménère as well as well-aged Bordeaux-style blends with rich flavours.
The Chile wine region of the Maule Valley is the largest by area and the most southern of the country’s important vineyards. The sheer scale of the region gives rise to an assortment of diverse vineyards ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon to Sauvignon Blanc.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can design exclusive tours of the Chile wine region, including elaborate tastings, luxury accommodations and unique experiences that can be tailor-made according to your exact requirements.
Our all-inclusive tour of the best of Chile’s central valley includes private visits and tastings at a host of influential wineries across the Colchagua, San Antonio, Casablanca and Maipo Valleys – while exploring the area by bicycle, staying at wonderful hotels and getting to experience both the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains.
Alternatively, visitors can head further south to the Maule Valley to visit five of the region’s most renowned wineries, including Casa Silva, Gillmore Winery and Vineyards, Nouchon Family Vineyards, Caliboro Reserve Winery and Altair.
Visit our Guide to Chile for more inspiration from our exclusive experiences in the Chile wine region before planning a voyage of discovery in South America.
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