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Chilean White Wines

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Cool-climate Wines

Chardonnay is the White Wine King

Chardonnay is the White Wine King

Chile winemakers focus on growing red  grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère, its signature grape. However, the cool morning fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean provides a heavenly location for growing great Chilean white wines.  If you enjoy bright, refreshingly crisp and aromatic white wines then look no further than Chile. Popular Chardonnay still reigns as the most-produced white wine. However, vintners  currently are growing world-class Sauvignon Blanc wines.


Many people compare Chile’s cool-climate wine regions to California, especially the Carneros region.  Chile is a very narrow country with the Pacific Ocean and the Andes both within close proximity to the wine regions.  The Humboldt Current, a cooling influence blowing from the Antarctica waters, brings with it fog and cloud cover. However, there is virtually no precipitation.


Primary Winegrowing Regions

In the Limarí Valley, cooling fog covers the valley each morning.  Then, in the afternoon the sunshine breaks through.   Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in the Valley. Sauvignon Blanc ranks fourth behind Cabernet Sauvignon  and Syrah. The soils in this desert-like region are an unlikely limestone, which adds great minerality to the wines from this region.

The Casablanca Valley is another region  with influences from maritime breezes that make it an ideal growing region.  Located about 40 minutes north of Santiago,  producers here make wonderfully citrus peach wines with steely minerality. Approximately a third of the country’s Chardonnay is grown here.

The Curicó Valley has seen some terrific results with Sauvignon Blanc.  With soils of decomposed granite and sand, the bright whites now account for more than 12,000 acres of  vines.

Chilean wines are produced in ten primary varieties.  However, it’s the white wines, particularly Sauvingnon Blanc that have given a boost to Chile’s export markets.  With the dawn of global warming, many parts of the world including the United States, a key export partner, will see an increase in white wine drinking.  Chlean wines will surely fill many a glass on a warm afternoon.  And given the quality and increased investment in the country, the wines will surely become only better and better.

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