CHILEAN WINES: CLASSIFICATION AND ORIGIN COMPLETE GUIDE!

Chilean wines are world renowned. Here in Chile, we think that there is no better way to enjoy the celebrations and festivities of life than with friends, family, and a glass of good wine. Chileans are big fans of the harvest and its products. We would like to take this opportunity to share some of our favorite Chilean wines, traditions, methods, and influences.

CLASSIFICATION AND ORIGIN OF CHILEAN WINES

The wine production was born from the “uva del país”, meaning rustic country grapes. These grapes, which were brought by the Spanish conquistadors in the sixteenth century, were the first varieties to be grown in Chile. From this inheritance, our wines have grown into an internationally appreciated product.  As luck would have, some of those original grape vines turned out to be popular to the modern palate. Today, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are historic grapes in Chile. Recently the world has also come to appreciate Chile for Carmenere and Syrah.

Most wines produced in Chile are expressive of classic varietal characteristics with unique regional differences. This regionality has been embraced by wineries across the country. 81.6%  of the nearly 300 billion liters of wine declared in 2018 had a denomination of origin (DO). Chile contains a wide variety of DOs, from the various valleys of the country to the desert region of Atacama (Valles de Copiapó and El Huasco), and to the south with the emerging Osorno Valley. Today the most common DO is DO Chile, with most of this national  wine coming from the Central Valley.

Chilean wine is not limited to still wines.  Chilean sparkling wines are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their body, dynamic bubbles, and cool climate aromatics.  Would you like to celebrate today?

SOME TYPES OF CHILEAN WINES

Sauvignon Blanc – This is the most planted white wine grape in Chile. Due to its characteristic aroma, this wine is ideal to accompany a variety of food. Appetizers, spicy dishes, seafood, pasta, fish, and goat cheese are all great pairings. The ideal serving temperature is between 8.5 and 10 . Casa Marin is one of the foremost producers of quality Sauvignon Blanc. Try our world-renowned Cypress Vineyard bottle ((LINK HERE))

Chardonnay – the second most planted white wine grape in Chile. Originally from the Burgundy region in France, Chardonnay is noted for its acidity and potency.  It is a great pairing for pasta, white meat, and seafood.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Chile has been growing this grape for almost 200 years. Today it is the most cultivated grape in the whole country. The wines produced are fruity and concentrated, with a marked aroma of blackcurrant and eucalyptus, forests of which are common in Chile. This big and bold wine is traditionally accompanied with grilled meats.

Merlot – This is the second most produced red grape in Chile. Commonly cultivated in the southern area of the country, this mountain range has mostly cold environments. This is the ideal climate for Merlot as it can quickly accumulate sugar. Merlot is considered the younger brother of Cabernet. Due to its intense fruit and body, Merlot is commonly paired with stews or grilled lamb.

Carmenere- While this is only the third most planted red grape in the country, Chile contains almost all the Carmenere worldwide. The wines are known for great complexity. and elegance. Typically characterized by intense garnet red color, it has aromas of red fruits, herbaceous green vegetables, wet soil, and spices. Typical Chilean dishes are usually accompanied with this almost exclusively Chilean wine.

Syrah – First planted in 1984, this grape is one of the newest arrivals in Chile. This grape, which typically thrives in the sunny hills of southeast France, has quickly become one of the best expressions of the Chilean terroir. The wines have characteristically powerful aromas of black fruits in warm climates, and a spicier rustic aroma in cold climates.

Pinot Noir – This grape is known for its finesse, derived from its thin skins and delicate aroma.  This grape form small clusters that look like an inverted black pine tree, hence the French name ‘Pinot Noir’. In Chile we might call it ‘Pino Negro’. These wines are known for a gentle fruit and spice aroma with elegant tannins. Discover our half-sized bottle of Pinot Noir Litoral 2018.

Garnacha – or as our French counterparts would call it – Grenache. This variety tends to be high yielding and high quality in sunny + hot environments like Spain, Southern France, and Chile. Thanks to the medium size of the grape and a dark violet skin, its berries are juicy, and the wines tend to have a unique blue hue.  

Gewurztraminer – Originally from the Alpen town of Traminer, the Germans called this wine Gewurztraminer, meaning ‘Spiced Traminer’. This grape has a unique aroma of tropical fruit, flowers, and spice. Typically, a bright yellow hue, the wines are creamy, without any excessive acidity or alcohol. It is ideal to accompany sushi, a wide variety of Asian dishes, and even desserts.

Riesling – Traditionally grown in colder areas, Riesling thrives on the Chilean coast with its cold antarctica currents. The fruit is typically golden green, leading to a wine that is fresh and light on the palate. Ranging from a pleasant citrus aroma to intense tropical fruit the depths of this high acid varietal can age for decades. The slight residual sugar is the best friend of spicy. Enjoy the experience!

VITICULTURE INFLUENCE

Chile is often called the winemaker’s paradise. With intense sun, cooling winds, and a predictable lack of summer rain, grapes thrive here. With an almost 15° difference in latitude from the North to the South there are a diverse array of climates. The Chilean terroir also has a wide variety of types of soils  thanks to the countless mountains and valleys. This combination of climates and soil factors has led to endless combinations of terroir to explore.

Wine Day

This day of deliberation was signed into law in 2015. On the 4th of every September, Chileans celebrate our National Wine Day. This day means much more than just raising the glass. It means recognizing the wine industry as a generator of jobs, as well as a key exporter of Chilean culture to over 1.8 billion consumers worldwide.

Wine is a big part of Chile; its economic impact is felt around the globe. Chile is the 4th largest exporter of wines worldwide. The Day of Chilean Wine is celebrated throughout the Country. To celebrate our success, Casa Marín carries out tours, talks, and tastings to showcase viticulture, oenology, and our unique geography.

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