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What You Should Know When It Comes to Chilean Red Wine

Chile is usually bundled into what’s known as the “New World.” However, it’s been home to vines for hundreds of years-it dates all the way back to the 1500s. This happened after the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. Afterward, the French came about; classic varieties then came about in the 1800s such as:

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Chardonnay
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sauvignon Blanc

At around the same time, Carmenère came in from Bordeaux.

Chilean Wine: A Background

Chile is one of the world’s largest wine exporters; they presently rank fourth. Back in 2020, the United Kingdom received almost 127 million litres of Chilean wine. Top varieties imported include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The modern winemaking story of Chile has a notable point in the arrival of Miguel Torres. He essentially revolutionized the process when he brought stainless steel tanks in the 1970s.

Chile’s Wine Regions

Extremes are synonymous to Chile in a major way: Atacama Desert up north, Patagonia and its glaciers down south. It’s got rather pronounced boundaries, given how it’s a hundred miles from west to east. A natural border is then made by the snow-capped Andes alongside the Pacific Ocean and Argentina to the west. This is relevant because it plays a key role in isolating Chile’s vineyards, which are disease-free and pest-free. Here are the country’s wine regions:

  • Central, especially Aconcagua
  • The North, especially Elqui, Huasco & Copiapò and Llmari
  • The South

There are four main red wine grapes that are most-often planted in Chile:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Carmenère
  • Merlot
  • Syrah

White wine grapes are planted as well, mainly Chardonnay, Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

Taste

In the last few decades, Chilean winemakers have explored new territory for vineyard planting. The limits of climate and altitude have been pushed, and the result is a range of red wines that are more exciting and cutting edge. Few places are better to explore the possibilities of white wine – chalky whites with a mineral edge found along with those that are riper and more opulent. Chile is exploring the possibilities of red wine too; you’ll find wines here that range from rich and bold all the way to coastal, nervy Pinot Noirs.

Which Chilean Organic Red Wines Are the Best?

Aside from the Adobe Reserve Pinot Noir, highly notable Chilean organic red wines also include the Pura Fe Carmenère. However, the best of the best boils down to:

Viña Emiliana

This has been biodynamic as well as organic since 1998, certified organic in 2001. Emiliana is the biggest organic winery globally. In 2006, they were Latin America’s first estate to produce biodynamic-certified wine. Biodynamic practices in their cellars and farm have since been accredited. As of today, every single one of their properties is certified. Emiliana also has the certification to use the Vegan Society trademark. This means that their wines are absolutely produced who no products that are derived from animals.

Coyam 

This particular wine has become iconic, with the first vintage coming out in 2001. It won both “Best Blend” and “Best in Show” in the Annual Wines of Chile Awards.

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