Casablanca Valley wineries differ from their Chilean counterparts since they carry a rare preference for white wine styles over the reds that South America is typically renowned for.
Settled in Chile’s influential Central Valley wine region, between the capital city of Santiago and the colourful port town of Valparaiso, the Casablanca Valley is the only cool climate region in the country. The relatively low temperatures are a consequence of cooling breezes and the Humboldt current travelling across the Pacific Ocean, which brings overnight mists that linger into the afternoon to shield grapes from too much sunlight.
This provides perfect conditions for growing white varietals – largely from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and aromatics such as Riesling and Viognier – that are defined by their crispness and underlying flavours of citrus fruits with an almost saline quality courtesy of the region’s closeness to the sea. That is not to say that red wines are completely ignored, Merlot and especially Pinot Noir are successfully produced by many Casablanca Valley, Chile wineries, which have come to notice on the international stage for their elegance and distinctive qualities.
Casablanca wineries are open all year round, but the best time to visit is between September and June with most wine tourists using Santiago as a base to explore the many sub regions. The Valley’s location between Santiago and Valparaiso makes it among the most easily accessible wine regions in the country – while several wineries that follow the course of the man road, Ruta 68, have united to establish the Casablanca Valley wine route.
Among the finest Casablanca Valley wineries that can be visited as part of an exclusive Wine Paths tour of the Central Valley are:
The Kingston Family Vineyards is a boutique Casablanca winery that has been in the same family for over a century. Established by US mining engineer, Carl John Kingston, while prospecting for gold in the early 1900s, the farm has eventually reaped rewards by becoming one of the area’s most prominent producers. Their wines, which include small, handcrafted lots of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, have featured on the wine lists around the world – while the estate was named ‘Winery of the Year’ by Wine & Spirits Magazine in 2011.
The Loma Larga is another of the region’s premier estates, although the influences here are from France as opposed to the United States. Loma Larga, which translates as ‘long hill’ is unusual among Casablanca Valley wineries as it concentrates its production on red wines. Larga was the first winery in the valley to grow Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Malbec – while Pinot Noir, Merlot and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon are all successfully produced here alongside typical white grape varieties.
The small boutique Vina Catrala winery, which is set among 400 acres of native forest in Orozco and features a range of fine white wines from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and cool climate reds using Merlot and Pinot Noir, is close to Valparaiso – which is worth a visit itself. The colourful harbour town that has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 ascends towards 43 different hills crammed with candy colour houses, crumbling colonial mansions and some of South America’s most impressive street art.
All of our tours, which include elaborate tastings, luxury accommodations, fine dining experiences and some unique activities, can be tailor made to meet your exact specifications, ensuring that every detail is taken care of before you set foot on South American soil.
If you are interested in visiting Casablanca winery, Chile contact Wine Paths’ local expert for more information and inspirational ideas.
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