What is the approximate total geographical range of Chile's vineyards?
900km from north to south Rarely more than 100km east to west
How is Chile's vineyard area geographically defined?
By four broad areas: The Pacific Ocean to the west The coastal mountain ranges just inland The Andes to the east A large depression south of Santiago where the two mountain ranges separate, known as Central Valley
What fills the gaps in the coastal mountains?
River valleys that drain the water from the Andes
What is the general climate of Chile?
What does the mediterranean climate mean about the Chilean weather and conditions for growing grapes?
Summers are warm and dry Fungal disease is kept to a minimum
How is the shortfall in rainwater in Chile generally dealt with?
What is the difficulty with irrigation in Chile, particularly in the north?
Water for irrigation is in increasingly short supply
How are conditions different in the southern part of Chile?
They are cooler and wetter here
What can affect Chile's weather pattern some years?
El Niño and La Niña
What are the comparative impacts of El Niño and La Niña respectively on Chile?
Rainfall levels can dramatically increase during El Niño years Drought may occur during La Niña years
Where are El Niño and La Niña experienced?
Throughout the Pacific
Describe the major climatic influence which applies to all parts of coastal Chile , and how it affects Chile
The cold Humboldt Current flows up from Antarctica along the Chilean coast and prevailing winds blow cool air inland along the river valleys
What can be a secondary effect of the Humboldt Current in coastal areas of Chile?
It can create fogs
Where is the cooling effect of prevailing Humboldt winds most evident in Chile?
Where coastal mountains are at their lowest and in parts of the valleys that are closest to the Pacific
What is another cooling effect felt in Chilean foothills specifically?
Cold air which descends from the mountains overnight can cause a large diurnal range
Describe weather between the two mountain ranges in Chile
It is much more shielded here and the large expanses of flat land are easier to cultivate
What has been the result of the two major cooling influences in Chile?
New labelling laws introduced in 2012, using the terms; Costa Entre Cordilleras Andes
What alternative winemaking practices are widespread in Chile?
Sustainable and organic grape growing and winemaking are widely practiced by a number of small and large winemaking estates
Why are sustainable and organic winemaking practices widely practiced in Chile?
A number of well respected winemakers as well as the authorities have done a lot to promote this
What is the most planted grape variety in Chile?
What style is Cabernet made into in Chile?
A variety from simple and fruity to full-bodied premium examples
Describe premium Cabernet wines of Chile
Usually with very ripe black fruit aromas and flavours, often with a herbaceous character
What is the role of blending for Chilean Cabernet?
It is frequently blended with Merlot, Carmenère or Syrah
Describe styles of Merlot in Chile
Inexpensive, medium-bodied and fruity (has been very successful on export markets) Fuller-bodied and complex is also found
What are the most important viticultural characteristics of Carmenère?
Late ripening and most successful in warm, sunny conditions
Describe Carmenère wines
Full-bodied High levels of tannin Overtly herbaceous when not fully ripe Good examples achieve a balance between black fruit and herbal aromas
What is thought of as Chile's signature variety?
What style is Syrah made into in Chile?
It can be made into a wide variety of styles in a wide variety of sites
Describe Syrah from cooler coastal sites or northerly regions such as Elqui Valley
Lighter in body with peppery notes
Describe Syrah wines from hotter regions in Chile
Give an example of such a region
Greater intensity of black fruit flavours
Which grape variety is showing particular promise in cooler locations such as San Antonio and Casablanca Valleys?
Which two white varieties dominate white plantings Chile?
Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay
Where in Chile does Sauvignon Blanc perform best?
In cooler vineyard sites, such as those of Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys
Describe the wines of Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys
Excellent wines with high acidity and intense fruity flavours Occasional herbaceous notes Some have additional richness and texture from lees-stirring and oak
How are most Chardonnays made in Chile?
In a modern international style with ripe fruit and oak flavours
Describe the quality and range of styles of Chardonnay which is produced
It is constantly growing
Which region in Chile in particular produces Chardonnays of structure, elegance and restraint?
Which regions other than Limari, produce fine Chardonnays?
Aconcagua Valley and Casablanca Valley
What is the third most planted white variety of Chile?
Muscat of Alexandria
What is the chief use of the grape, Muscat of Alexandria?
For the production of the grape brandy Pisco
Of which white grapes are there small plantings in Chile?
Aromatic varieties such as Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer making fresh fruity wines from cool regions such as the Bío Bío and Itata Valleys
Where in Chile is Coquimbo?
It borders onto the Atacama Desert The most northerly of Chile's principal wine regions
How many winemaking subregions are there in Coquimbo? What are they?
Describe vineyard plantings in Coquimbo
Relatively small Quality tends to be high
How do the three valleys of Coquimbo compare?
They all have slightly different features, but they all benefit from brilliant sunshine and marked cooling influences
What are the main cooling influences of the valleys of Coquimbo?
Sea breezes Mountain air
What is the role of altitude in Coquimbo?
Some vineyards are being planted at very high altitudes
What is the biggest viticultural challenge in Coquimbo?
Lack of water
Describe the role of irrigation in Coquimbo
Vital due to lack of water, but expensive because water is less plentiful here compared with some other regions
What is the wine reputation of Elqui Valley in Coquimbo?
For Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc
For what kind of wine is Limari Valley in Coquimbo best known?
What is the second smallest region in Chile?
The Aconcagua Region
How many sub-regions constitute Aconcagua? What are they?
Three Aconcagua Valley Casablanca Valley San Antonio Valley
Describe the Aconcagua Valley
It's a steep sided, narrow valley
What is the climate in Aconcagua Valley?
Some of the warmest growing conditions in Chile on the fertile valley floor between the coastal range and the Andes Some cooling influences from the ocean and the Andes
What style of wine is Aconcagua Valley best for?
What is the classic grape of Aconcagua Valley?
What is Aconcagua Valley's 'second' grape? Describe its role here
It was pioneered in Chile in this valley
Which grape has become increasingly important in Aconcagua Valley besides Syrah?
Describe the profile of wines in Aconcagua Valley
Reds traditionally had rich, ripe fruit flavours
How have wine styles changed in Aconcagua Valley in recent years?
Producers have been looking to reduce alcohol levels and find more freshness and complex fruit flavours
What has been the result on viticulture of the recent shift in desired wine style in Aconcagua Valley?
Plantings are less focused on the fertile valley floor and have spread either onto the slopes or towards the coast
Name the two neighbouring regions in Aconcagua and their characteristics
San Antonio Valley
Similar characteristics to Aconcagua Valley
Describe the general geography of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley
Where are they in relation to Chile's geographical features?
Very varied soils and aspects
Both lie between the coastal mountains and the Pacific
What's the result of the locations of Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley on climate? What climatic phenomena are experienced here?
The climate is noticeably cooler in these locations due to morning fogs and and afternoon winds that blow off the ocean
Which variety has the highest reputation in San Antonio Valley? Where specifically is the reputation greatest?
Sauvignon Blanc The particularly cool Leyda Valley zone
What else is widely planted in San Antonio Valley and to what level of quality?
Chardonnay It's capable of making fine wines here
What is the most planted variety of San Antonio Valley?
Describe Pinot Noir in the coolest sites of San Antonio Valley
It can produce wine with red berry fruit and herbal notes
Which red grape is particularly successful in the warmer vineyard sites to the east of Casablanca Valley? Describe its wines
Syrah Well-structured wines with a peppery edge
Where is the Central Valley Region?
South from Santiago to the sub-region of Itata Valley
Loosely describe the region of Central Valley
A vast, warm, flat region
What is the significance of Central Valley for Chilean winemaking?
It is where the majority of Chilean Vineyards have always been found
Describe grape-ripening in Central Valley, Chile
Grapes ripen easily here
What is a lot of production in Central Valley focused on?
Inexpensive, fruity wines, often made from Merlot and Chardonnay
How many sub-regions is Central Valley divided into? What are they?
How is Rapel Valley divided?
Into two sub-regions
What are the two sub-regions of Rapel Valley?
Cachapoal Valley Colchagua Valley
What is the role of Maipo Valley in Chilean winemaking?
It is the heartland of Chilean winemaking, due to its proximity to Santiago
Describe the geographical identity of Maipo Valley and how this affects its climate
It is almost completely surrounded by mountains Very little coastal influence reaches the grape-growing area to the south of the capital
Where are the more premium sites of the Maipo Valley?
Many of them are located in the Andean foothills
Describe why the location of Maipo's more premium sites , IS more premium
The Andean foothills are cooled by the descending air, lending elegance and structure to the red wines
Which specific wine is most associated with Maipo Valley?
Cabernet Sauvignon with a particularly minty character
Loosely describe the Rapel sub-region of Central Valley
It is a large and varied area
What is the more northerly zone of the Rapel sub-region?
Describe the Cachapoal Valley
It's a warm area cut off from the ocean breezes
Which grapes do best in Cachapoal Valley and where?
Carmenère ripens well on the valley floors
Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah perform well in the cooler eastern end of the valley
How does Colchagua Valley compare with Cachapoal Valley?
It is a larger and more varied area
The centre is warm and open to some ocean influence
What is the chief wine-style in Colchagua Valley?
It is known for full-bodied reds
What grapes is Colchagua Valley best known for?
Particularly Cabernet Sauvignon
Also Syrah and Carmenère
How have vineyard plantings been affected by the expansion of Colchagua Valley?
They have spread to the valley slopes
Name a new area on the slopes of Colchagua Valley which has gained a premium reputation
How does climate and wine style change further to the west of Colchagua Valley?
The cooling Pacific influence is greater here and some high quality white wines are produced
Which sub-regions form the southern end of the Central Valley?
Curicó Valley Maule Valley
What is the role of Curicó Valley and Maule Valley for Chilean wine? Explain
The most important source of fruit for inexpensive, blended red and white wines
The warmth and fertile soils make this possible
Which of the southern Central Valley sub-regions is cooler? What is the effect on its wines?
Maule Valley Its wines retain a higher acidity (useful for blending)
What is the new trend in winemaking in Maule Valley?
Increasing efforts are being made to exploit the wealth of dry-farmed, old vines that exist within the western hills here
What has been the resulting star-variety in Maule Valley as a consequence of the new winemaking trends? What style of wine is made from this?
Full-bodied, intensely concentrated wines from the low-yielding bush vines
What is the name of the southernmost region of Chile?
What are the sub-regions of Southern Region?
Itata Valley Bío Bío Valley Malleco Valley
What is the climate in the Southern Region of Chile/how does it change?
It is noticeably cooler and wetter the further south the sub-regions go in Southern Region
What dominates plantings in Itata Valley and Bío Bío Valley?
Muscat of Alexandria
What is the main market for most wines of Itata Valley and Bío Bío Valley?
Bío Bío Valley has started to show great promise for...
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and aromatic varieties
There is an increasing interest in Bío Bío Valley for...owing to...
Fruit from high quality varieties
Their acidity and aromatic qualities
The full potential of which regions in Chile has yet to be explored?
Itata Valley and Bío Bío Valley
What is the most southerly sub-region of Southern Region? What is its other feature?
It is also the smallest of the Southern Regions
What is made in Malleco?
A small quantity of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (though it is increasingly attracting interest from premium producers)
Describe Chile's GI scheme
It is divided into several Denominaciones de Origen (DOs)
How many principal regions of Chile are there? What are they?
How many sub-regions are there amongst the main wine-regions of Chile?
What is geographically common between the sub-regions of Chile?
They generally follow the valleys running west from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean
What is Chile's GI system generally based on?
What is the result of Chile's wine regions being based on administrative regions?
They are very broad based and cover very large tracts of land
When was Chile's most recent regional classification announced? What was the result?
2012 It further divided Chile's wine regions, categorising vineyard sites according to their distance from the coast rather than their latitude
What are the three new terms from the 2012 classification in Chilean law? What do they mean?
Costa (coastal areas) Entre Cordilleras (the areas between the mountain ranges) Andes (mountain areas)
What are the regulations regarding Chile's 2012 GI terms?
The terms are optional
How has the 2012 labelling law been adopted in Chile?
It is new and remains to be seen whether the terms will be widespread
Which other terms may be recognised in Chilean labelling law? What do they mean?
They have very little meaning, but may be used by winemakers to distinguish their quality levels