Colchagua Valley – Awarded Best Wine Region of 2005

The Colchagua Valley, Pacific to the West, Andes to the East

The Colchagua Valley, Pacific to the West, Andes to the East

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 2

Colchagua valley grape distribution

Cabernet Sauvignon 11,117 ha
Carmenere 3,120 ha
Merlot 2,953 ha
Syrah 1,984 ha
Chardonnay 1,845 ha
Sauvignon Blanc 1,293 ha
Malbec 559 ha
Cabernet Franc 508 ha
Viognier 335 ha

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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 .

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