Colchagua Valley – Awarded Best Wine Region of 2005
Colchagua Valley, Chile is called by some ‘the Napa valley of Chile’ – is situated approximately 150km south of Santiago. Set in the Rapel Valley at the foothills of Chile’s coastal mountains. The pan American highway lies to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. This spot although initially used to cultivate great quantities of table wine, due to the nutrient rich soil and constant water supplied by the Tinguirrica river, now produces some of the best and highest quality wines in the new world. Lieing at 34°S, Colchagua valley is closer to the Equator than any European wine region. The beating sun during the day allows the thick skinned grapes to ripen, whilst at night the wind and pacific spray funnels up the valley cooling the vineyards. This diurnal variation causes grapes with a high abv. (alcohol by volume) and a perfectly balanced acidity.
Chilean Wine – Types of Red Wines & Grape Varieties
The valley is known for various types of red wines – from its full bodied Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere to Syrah and Merlot. The best vines lie on the foothill slopes of the coastal mountains, where less fertile granite soil, means a smaller yield with a higher emphasis on quality. The Tinguirrica River flowing through these foothills brings down melt water from the Andes cap loaded with silt and clay, making it perfect wine growing conditions. The dark skinned grapes are grown to the east further away from the ocean where the hotter temperatures allow for more intense ripening, whilst the Chardonnay, Viogniers and Sauvignon Blancs are situated by the cooler pacific to the west of the region.
Colchagua valley grape distribution
|Cabernet Sauvignon||11,117 ha|
|Sauvignon Blanc||1,293 ha|
|Cabernet Franc||508 ha|
Source : http://www.winesofchile.org/chilean-wine/wine-regions/colchagua-valley/
Chilean Vineyards Home to many vineyards some of international acclaim like Casa Silva and Mont Gras, the Chilean Napa is well worth a visit. Whilst at home, one bottle to try is the La Playa Block 10 Reserve Merlot an 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend. A truly fantastic taste of South American viniculture .