Chile has forged a reputation as the go-to country for affordable wines of consistently high quality. As many of the writers here at Tidings can attest, Chile has been the country to watch over the last number of years. With over 450 years of wine-making history, the wine’s success is really no surprise. Travelling to Chile? You’ll find that five regions (Casablanca, Maipo, Colchagua, Curicó and Maule) have forged wine routes that allow visitors to get a sense of the diversity of wine and food produced in each area.
Founded in 1993, Chile’s Cono Sur Vineyard & Winery is an example of what Chilean wine makers are producing. Combining the creative use of technology, orientation towards quality, and respect and commitment to the environment, Chile produces a range of varietal table wines that have struck a chord with Canadians. In fact, Cono Sur is the largest selling Chilean wine brand in Canada with over 300,000 cases sold as of the end of 2010.
“The success of Cono Sur,” says Chief Winemaker and General Manager Adolfo Hurtado, “lies in understanding the origin of New World wines: expression of soil and climate melded with intense aromas of the fruit, yielding the elegance and concentration of full, fresh and well-balanced flavours.”
Are you a fan of Chilean wine? Take this quiz and find out.
(Quiz courtesy of Wines of Chile)
1. What is Chile’s unique grape variety?
2. A hot new wine region close to the sea, known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
A. San Antonio / Leyda
C. Bío Bío
3. The influence of the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains results in Chile having greater climatic differences from:
A. North to south
B. East to west
C. Capital city to the countryside
D. Old vineyards versus new
4. Chile’s original coastal valley:
5. The mountain range that provides fresh, clean snow-melt irrigation water to the vine is:
6. A growing trend in Chilean wine-making due to naturally eco-friendly conditions:
A. Flowers of Doctor Bach
D. Fortified wines
7. Chile’s most widely grown and exported varietal:
B. Cabernet Sauvignon
8. The ocean that provides cooling effects on Chilean wine valleys:
1. B. Carménère was re-discovered in Chile in the early 1990s.
2. A. The cool-climate San Antonio Valley is the closest to the Pacific Ocean, with some vineyards just 4 km (2.5 mi) in from the coast.
3. C. Chilean climate is much more affected by proximity to the Andes or the sea than it is to the Equator or the South Pole.
4. A. The Casablanca Valley, en route between Santiago and the coast, was first planted to vine (Chardonnay) in 1982.
5. D. The Andes Mountains form the entire eastern border of Chile and many of the peaks are topped with eternal ice that provides abundant irrigation water for the valleys below.
6. B & C. Eco-friendly viticulture is a natural choice in Chile and the scant need for agrochemicals makes organic vinegrowing an increasingly viable option.
7. B. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile’s “flagship grape” is the King of the Reds.
8. A. The cold Pacific Ocean defines Chile’s entire western border.
Try these …
• 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Manso De Valasco (Miguel Torres) $42.95
• 2008 CarmenereTributo Colchagua VLY ( Viña Caliterra) $14.95
• Cono Sur Sparkling Brut NV $13.95