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Let's Explore the Peaks and Valleys of Chile!

As we travel the world through wine, my travel list keeps growing and growing, and Chile has climbed to my top 5 places to go. Chile has so much to offer from Santiago to the Atacama Desert to the delicious sea bass in the Chilean Sea. Yum!

With a 4,000 mile coastline, Chile is much bigger than one may think. Chile is the 4th largest exporter of wine worldwide and the industry is a large portion of the economy. Chile's wine regions are diverse and extend from the Atacama Desert in the north to the Bio-Bio region in the south. Key wine-producing areas include the Aconcagua, Casablanca, and Central Valley regions, each offering unique climatic conditions conducive to different grape varieties.

Aconcagua Valley: Known for producing robust red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. This region benefits from a combination of warm days and cool nights, which helps in developing rich flavors and balanced acidity.

Casablanca Valley: Famous for its white wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The cool, coastal climate of Casablanca Valley is ideal for these varieties, resulting in crisp, aromatic wines.

Central Valley: Encompassing sub-regions such as Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule, the Central Valley is the heart of Chilean wine production. It produces a wide range of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, and Chardonnay.

Bio-Bio Valley: Located in the southern part of Chile, this region is known for its cooler climate and is gaining recognition for its Pinot Noir and aromatic whites like Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

The Andes mountains play a crucial role in Chilean viticulture. They create a rain shadow effect, protecting the vineyards from excessive rainfall and ensuring a dry, sunny climate that is ideal for grape growing. Additionally, the meltwater from the Andes provides a reliable source of irrigation, crucial for the vineyards in the arid regions of the country. The temperature variation between day and night, due to the proximity of the Andes, helps in developing grapes with balanced acidity and complex flavors.

The Carmenere grape, originally from Bordeaux, France, was thought to be extinct after the phylloxera plague in the late 19th century. However, it was rediscovered in Chile in the 1990s, where it had been mistakenly identified as Merlot. This grape variety thrives in Chile's climate, producing deep-colored wines with soft tannins and flavors of red fruits, spices, and earthy notes. It is often referred to as 'the lost grape' due to its long period of obscurity and the fortunate rediscovery in a new terroir where it has found ideal growing conditions.

This weekend we will be tasting the diversity of Chile, from the oldest grape, Pais, to Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet and Chile's beloved Carmenere. Come join us as we explore Chile!

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