Hello All! We welcome you to come travel with us this month to Chile! Each month we travel to a different region to bring you different styles and tastes of wine. When you come to visit us, get your passport book, and after enjoying your flight get your passport stamped with each region.
Take a look below to see what Chilean wines we are featuring for you!
For our White Flight we are featuring the following wines…
Los Vascos 2018 Sauvignon Blanc
Los Vascos wines blend Lafite tradition with the unique terroir of Chile to create elegant wines that bring exceptional to the everyday. The region is Casablanca Valley, Chile-Produced by Domaines Barons de Rosthchild (Lafite). The Grapes are 100% Sauvignon Blanc, cool climate grown. This wine is fresh and juicy with an abundance of white peaches, pineapple, lychees, and pears with herb tints. The palate is fresh and develops with a balanced, persistent acidity. This wine is to be enjoyed on its own, or with salads, white meats and seafood dishes.
Casas Del Bosque 2021 Sauvignon Blanc
This single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is grown on sandy loam soils, directly around their family cellar in Casablanca. Covered by morning fog and cooled by Pacific Ocean breezes, this is one of the coolest sites for this grape in their valley and worldwide. A sustainable approach to winemaking allows us to craft a bright, crisp wine with wonderful minerality and length. Enjoy this full body, acidic, flavorful finish wine on its own or with any seafood dish.
Calcu Gran Reserva Rosé Malbec 2020
Calcu means “magician” in the indigenous Chilean language-Mapuche. Calcu Gran Reserva is the result of an exceptional terroir. Located in Marchigue-Colchagua Valley, just 29 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean, its vineyards have granitic soils with a high clay content and low fertility. These conditions deliver a fantastic natural concentration, structure and elegance to its wines. Very pale and elegant pink in color, on the nose it is a very expressive Rose with notes of tropical fruits, such as mango and fresh strawberries on a delicate floral background. On the palate you’ll enjoy fresh and juicy wine, with a great balance between power and elegance, with a crisp, clean and dry finish. The grapes are 90% Malbec and 10% Petit Verdot. This you will enjoy on its own and with meaty, oily fish dishes.
Estelado Brut~Rosé 2018
The PAÍS grape varietal was the first to arrive in Chile in the 16th century. Grown by a large number of small farmers, this varietal “PAÍS” has long been forgotten and undervalued until it was recently rediscovered for making top quality wines. Each bottle of sparkling “PAIS” consumed helps to create demand and, as a result, better conditions for the wine~growers of Chile! This beautiful sparkling wine gives you a light taste of berries and cream. Enjoy a glass on its own, with meaty, oily fish, or a light berry dessert.
For our Red Flight we are featuring the following wines…
Montes Alpha Carmenére 2018
Montes Alpha wines have been crafted using grapes selected from their vineyards in the Colchagua Valley, which are irrigated under their Sustainable Dry Farming regime. Developed by Aurelio Montes and his team after of research and investigation, this viticultural practice now allows them to determine the exact level of irrigation required by vines after the winter rains, resulting in a 65% decrease in their water footprint and in wines with enhanced fruitiness and aromatic expression. Intense purplish red with potent fruit aromas marked by red and black fruits such as blueberries, plums, and tart plums complemented by notes of fresh black and red pepper, candied fruits, and spices. 12 months in French Oak barrels lend complexity and toasted aromas that pair very well with the fruity characteristics of the Carmenére. This intense and fruity palate has a lactic note as well as excellent soft, round tannins that pair perfectly with ripe black fruits, mocha, and chocolate. A bold, long pleasing, velvety finish that you will enjoy with beef or venison.
Maquis Cabernet Franc 2018
This wine is made from Cabernet Franc grapes grown between the Chimbarongo Creek and the Tinguiririca River on the Maquis Estate in central Colchagua Valley. The two-meter-deep alluvial soil with 35% clay content is ideal for producing Cabernet Franc grapes that are full and rich yet display balance and elegance. This is a big, bold and structured wine, that pairs beef and venison.
Casas Del Bosque Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Casas Del Bosque is a family-owned boutique winery in Rapel Valley, whose renowned quality of wines, especially for their excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is a classic example of this varietal, one which has received numerous accolades both in Chile and abroad. Made from fruit sourced from vineyards in the Maipo Valley, a terroir which consistently delivers an elegant and balanced style of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is bold and structured, pairing well with beef and venison.
Penalolen Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Maipo Valley is one of Chile’s most important wine producing regions located just south of the capital, Santiago, on the edge of the foothills of the Andes, With this wine you will enjoy candied black currants, raspberries, plums and blackberries with elegant notes if sweet chocolate, mocha and coffee. Aromas of dried herbs, flowers and a mineral touch enhance the complexity. In the mouth, a structure of velvety tannins is balanced by a voluptuous texture, with a long bright finish of fruit, spicy chocolate and tobacco. This also pairs well with beef and venison, as well as alone.
Chilean Wine History
Chilean wine has a long history for a New World wine region, as it was the 16th century when the Spanish conquistadors brought Vitis vinifera vines with them as they colonized the region. In the mid-19th century, French wine varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère and Franc were introduced. In the early 1980s, a renaissance began with the introduction of stainless steel fermentation tanks and the use of oak barrels for aging. Wine exports grew very quickly as quality wine production increased. The number of wineries grew from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005.
A large number of French people immigrated to Chile during the late 20th century, bringing more viticultural knowledge to the country. Chile is now the fifth largest exporter of wines in the world, and the seventh largest producer.The climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. So far Chile has remained free of the phylloxera louse, which means that the country’s grapevines do not need to be grafted with phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.
Since December 1994, the Chilean wine-producing regions have been officially defined as follows, to help identify the different features of wines produced in different parts of Chile’s variable geography. The Chilean ministry of agriculture redefined in a decree of May 2018 the zonal winegrowing structure.
Named after the Atacama Region administrative territory, this region is divided into two valleys, Copiapó and Huasco, both of which are coterminous with the provinces of the same names. The region is known primarily for its Pisco and table grapes, but in the 1950s wine began to be produced on a small scale around Copiapó. Examples of wine from these valleys include “Vino Copiapino” (literally, “Copiapó’s Wine”) by Viña Fajardo and Pajarete wine, a varietal from Spain that is now produced successfully in the Huasco Valley.
The Coquimbo Region contains three wine-producing sub regions: Elqui, Limarí and Choapa, all are coterminous with the provinces of the same name.
The Elqui Valley is located 530 km (330 mi) north of Santiago, at the southern end of the Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo Region. It is known for producing table grapes and other fruits, as well as Pisco, Chile’s most popular liquor. But it is also notable for being the most commercially viable wine-producing region of northern Chile.
The region’s vineyards extend from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Andes Mountains in the east, rising to an altitude of 2,000 m.a.s.l. (6,500 feet). Wine production began in the Elqui Valley in the 1990s when Chilean wine producers began to look at potential viticulture sites outside the Chilean Central Valley. Since then, 286 hectares (710 acres) of vines have been planted, mostly along the River Elqui valley, where grape growers have access to high-quality water for irrigation. The region is characterized by a sunny, desert-like climate, less than 70 mm (2.8 in) of annual rainfall, dry rocky terrain, steep valleys and temperate hills cooled by strong winds from the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, producing excellent results for varietals like Syrah.
The Limarí Valley is located roughly 470 km (290 mi) north of Santiago, in the Coquimbo region.Vines were first planted here in the mid-16th century and have seen a recent resurgence, due to new technologies and winemakers seeking new terroirs. The area is best known for producing Sauvignon and Chardonnay, first planted during the 1990s, and also successfully produces Syrah and Pinot noir, with a climate similar to Marlborough in New Zealand. The Pacific Ocean has a strong influence on the coast of the region with the cooling Camanchaca, a fog that enters the valley from the west each morning and retreats as the sun rises over the Andes from the east. With less than 4 inches of rainfall per year, drip irrigation is used to water the vines that grow in the mineral-rich soil. The combination creates fresh wines with a distinct mineral edge.
The Choapa Valley lies around 400 km (250 mi) north of Santiago, in the southern part of the Coquimbo Region. Like the Atacama, this region is primarily known for Pisco and table grapes. It lies within the narrowest part of Chile, where the Andes meet the Coastal Range and consists of two sectors, Illapel and Salamanca. There are no wineries in either of these sectors, but vines planted on the rocky, foothill soils produce small quantities of high quality Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with high acidity and low pH, which is increasing wine producers’ interest in the area. Only one brand of wine, De Martino Syrah, currently holds the DO of “Choapa Valley”.
Main article: Aconcagua (wine region)The administrative region of Valparaíso contains two wine-producing subregions, the Aconcagua and Casablanca valleys. The Aconcagua Valley is coterminous with the province of San Felipe de Aconcagua Province while the Casablanca Valley is coterminous with the commune of that name. The Panquehue commune is also gradually developing a reputation for high quality wine production.
In the Aconcagua Valley, snow melt from Aconcagua and the surrounding mountains is used to irrigate the vines.
The small 1,098 hectare winegrowing area is well known for its red wines, which have earned international acclaim, with Vina Errázuriz’s “Seña” placing ahead of both Château Lafite and Château Margaux in blind tasting held in Berlin in 2004, a milestone for the Chilean wine industry. Although the valley is primarily known for the red grapes grown in its interior, white grapes are also now being grown in new coastal plantations.
The Casablanca Valley takes its name from the commune where it is located, and stretches roughly 30 km (19 mi) east-west from eastern border of the Valparaíso province in the Valparaíso region.Vines were first planted here in the mid-1980s during the revitalization of the Chilean wine industry and the area quickly became known for its white wines, most notably Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay, as well as Pinot noir, which thrives in its cooler climate. Although the valley is located at 33°S, much closer to the Equator than any European vineyard, viticulture here is possible because of the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean, in the shape of cool morning fog and greater cloud cover than is found elsewhere in the north of Chile. Free-draining clay and sandy soils, whilst good for viticulture, encourage nematodes, so grafting onto nematode-resistant rootstocks is common.
San Antonio Valley is a small wine region known for producing Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay.
It is located very close to the sea around the city of San Antonio, Chile, south of the Casablanca Valley and only 55 miles (89 km) west of Santiago. As in other Chilean wine regions, like the Casablanca Valley, San Antonio is highly influenced by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean which makes wine production possible in this area. Soils are in the valley are granitic, poor and well drained with a topsoil of clay, providing a good substrate for vines. Rains are concentrated mainly in the winter season and the vineyards require drip irrigation for the rest of the year, using water from the Maipo river. The San Antonio Valley is seen as an up-and-coming wine region and the wine industry is expected to continue growing in the future.
Over twenty grape varieties are grown in Chile, mainly a mixture of Spanish and French varieties, but many wineries are increasing experimentation in higher numbers. For most of Chile’s history, Pais was the most widely planted grape only recently getting passed by Cabernet Sauvignon. Other red wine varieties include Merlot, Carménère, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet franc, Pinot noir, Syrah, Sangiovese, Barbera, Malbec, and Carignan. White wine varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon vert, Sémillon, Riesling, Viognier, Torontel, Pedro Ximénez, Gewürztraminer and Muscat of Alexandria.
Chilean winemakers have been developing a distinct style for their Cabernet Sauvignon, producing an easy drinking wine with soft tannins and flavors of mint, black currant, olives and smoke. The country’s Chardonnays are less distinctive, following more the stereotypical New World style. While sparkling wines have been made since 1879, they have not yet established a significant place in Chile’s wine portfolio. In recent years, the Pais grape variety has been creatively employed on its own or in blends, to make modern wines that have received favorable reviews.
Merlot and Sauvignon blanc
In the late 20th century as Chilean wines became more popular, wine tasters around the world began to doubt the authenticity of wines labeled Merlot and Sauvignon blanc. The wines lack many of the characteristics and typicity of those grapes. Ampelographers began to study the vines and found that what was considered Merlot was actually the ancient Bordeaux wine grape Carménère that was thought to be extinct. The Sauvignon blanc vines were found to actually be Sauvignonasse, also known as Sauvignon vert, or a mutated Sauvignon blanc/Sémillon cross. In response to these discoveries several Chilean wineries began to import true Merlot and Sauvignon blanc cuttings to where most bottles labeled Merlot and Sauvignon blanc from vintages in the 21st century are more likely to be those varieties.