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Flashcards in Chile Deck (40)
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What is unique about Chile's geography and its relative vineyard area?

Chile is a long, thin, country stretching over 4,000km north to south of which only 900km is vineyard area.  Chile averages only ~100km east to west.

Chile boasts two north-to-south mountain ranges, and a large, warm valley between those two ranges.  The cool Pacific Ocean is to the west.

The climate varies from arid in the north to maritime in the south, and cooler conditions towards the Pacific to hot pockets inland.


What are the four main geographic features that influence Chile's wine growing areas?

  1. Andes Mountains
  2. Coastal Mountains
  3. Pacific Ocean
  4. Central Valley


What is the general climate of Chile?

Overall Chile has a warm Mediterranean climate, but it can and does vary depending on latitude and altitude.


Chile's climate varies between north and south. 

Where is it most likely to be hot and dry?

The northern part of Chile is very close to the equator, and displays a nearly desert-like climate.

The climate becomes progressively cooler and wetter going south.


What country borders Chile to the east?


The Andes Mountain range creates a natural border between the two countries.

Colchagua, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina are on opposite sides of the Andes from each other.


What are the two mountain ranges of Chile?

  1. Andes Mountains: separates Chile from Argentina; down drafts cool vineyards with fresh winds;
  2. Coastal Range: separates the Central Valley from the Pacific.


What is the Humboldt Current?

The Humboldt Current is cold water current flowing up from Antarctica that chills the Pacific waters, cooling the air and affecting Chile's low-lying areas closest to the coast and valleys on the other side of the breaks (or low points) in the Coastal Range.

In some regions, like the San Antonio Valley, the Humboldt Current encourages morning fog.


What two Pacific Ocean climate drivers can influence Chile's weather?

  1. El Niño: increases rainfall and humidity
  2. La Niña: can increase drought conditions


Is irrigation allowed in Chile?

Yes, but water for irrigation is diminishing.


What are the four main regions of Chile?

From north to south:

  1. Coquimbo
  2. Aconcagua
  3. Central Valley
  4. Southern Region

These regions are divided into 13 subregions, and several subregions have various zones.


In 2012, Chilean wine law changed and producers can now classify vineyard areas by their proximity to the coast.

What are these 3 new classificiations?

  1. Costa: area closest to the coast
  2. Entre Cordilleras: area located between the Andes and the Coastal Range
  3. Andes: area nearest the Andes

These classificiations are not DOs: a producer can add them in addition to using a DO.


What are the most common red grapes planted in Chile?

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Carmenère
  • Syrah
  • Pinot Noir


What is the most planted grape variety, of either color, in Chile?

Cabernet Sauvignon


Which red grape is the trademark of Chile?


  • late ripener
  • performs well in warm, sunny sites
  • high tannin
  • full bodied


Where in Chile does Pinot Noir shows its best?

In cool, coastal regions such as San Antonio Valley or Casablanca Valley.


Syrah is planted all over Chile, but from ___ Valley it's lighter in body and from ___ Valley it's fuller in body.

Lighter: Elqui Valley

Fuller: Colchagua Valley


What are the two dominant white varieties planted in Chile?

  • Sauvignon Blanc (does better in cooler sites)
  • Chardonnay


What role does Muscat of Alexandria play in Chile?

Muscat of Alexandria is the 3rd most planted white grape and it is mostly used for Pisco production, not wine.


What region lies south of the Atacama Desert?

Hint: it's also Chile's most northerly wine region.

Coquimbo Region


What are the three subregions of the Coquimbo Region?

From north to south:

  1. Elqui Valley
  2. Limarí Valley
  3. Choapa Valley


The biggest challenge in Coquimbo region is:

  • lack of sunshine
  • lack of water
  • lack of wind

Lack of water

Water isn't as plentiful here as it is in the southern regions.


What grape is Limarí Valley known for?

Limarí is known for making high-quality Chardonnay.


The most interesting wines coming out of Elqui Valley are made from ___ and ___.

Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc


What are the 3 subregions of Aconcagua Region?

From north to south:

  1. Aconcagua Valley
  2. Casablanca Valley
  3. San Antonio Valley


The Aconcagua Valley is famous for being one of the ___ wine regions in Chile.  

Which grape(s) is Aconcagua Valley known for?


Aconcagua Valley is known for Cabernet Sauvignon, but Syrah has been on the rise as of late.


How do Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley differ from Aconcagua Valley?

Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys

  • lie between the Pacific and Coastal Range
  • cooler than Aconcagua Valley
  • diverse soils with various aspects
  • more white grapes planted

Aconcagua Valley

  • lies between the Coastal Range and the Andes
  • hotter than Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys
  • fertile soils and flat
  • more red grapes planted


What is San Antonio Valley's zone that has a reputation for making great Sauvignon Blanc?


Leyda Valley zone

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay also perfom well in Leyda Valley.


The bulk of Chile's vineyards are found in the ___ Region.

Central Valley Region


Wine production in the Central Valley region focuses on high-quality or inexpensive wines?

Inexpensive wines, most of them based on Merlot and Chardonnay.

Central Valley is a large, flat area that is warm and known for making uncomplicated, everyday wine.


What are the 4 subregions of the Central Valley?

From north to south:

  1. Maipo Valley
  2. Rapel Valley
  3. Curicó Valley
  4. Maule Valley