Historic Wines Pushing The Boundaries – BY BRITTANY O’ROURKE
Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains, Chile stretches for nearly 4,300 kilometres up the coast of South America with more than 1,287 of these
kilometres covered in vineyards. Spanish Missionaries introduced vinis vinifera to the country over 500 years ago, and Chile quickly revealed itself as an enviable home for any vigneron. The warm summers in the valleys are dry and dependable, with the ocean and mountains protecting on either side. It is no wonder that with the ease of grape growing, Chile quickly became a name for value, full bodied wines. In the past decade, though, there has been a resurgence of exciting new winemakers, grapes and styles that have returned to the country’s wine heritage; instead of a singular focus on recreating Bordeaux wines in Chile, grapes such as Pais and styles like Pipeño have reemerged. Winemakers and grape growers alike are turning back to their terroir to find a Chilean winemaking culture that is purely their own. Here are some of the key grapes that play
a part in this transition, and some of the wines in Canadian retailers and restaurants that will show diversity of Chilean wine:
The famous French grape continues to make up one third of Chile’s wine production and deliver the intensity and concentration Cabernet lovers crave. In the changing Chilean landscape, look out for unexpected blending partners such as Carignan, Carménère, or Syrah as the Bordeaux blend is reinvented.
An old Bordeaux grape that was at one time heralded as the champion of Chilean wine similar to Malbec in Argentina, Carménère continues to make a statement as vignerons continue to diversify. It was originally known for very green and vegetal aromas paired with juicy fruit, soft tannins, and an almost magenta hue. Now, as committed winemakers move their plantings to more preferred single vineyard sites closer to the mountains, top Carménère shows an elegance and freshness similar to Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley.
Although Pais is one of the least recognized grapes in the international market, it is the variety with the longest history in Chile. Brought by Spanish missionaries from Tenerife in the Canary Islands, many remaining Pais vines remain untouched in vineyards with more than 100 years of age. The reembracing of this grape hints at Chile’s transition from a singular focus on high octane full bodied wines, and suggests a turning of attention to fresher styles.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE | CASABLANCA VALLEY | MENDOZA | BUENOS AIRES
11 DAYS from $6,065 CAD
Explore the best of South American Wine Country during this 11-day tour through Argentina and Chile. Begin your journey with two nights at LA CASONA at Matetic, a boutique winery in the Casablanca Valley of Chile. Discover the luxury at the base of the majestic Andes mountains at The Vines Resort & Spa and end your journey in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires.
Rustic charm at LA CASONA at Matetic Vineyards, Chile
Private tour of Santiago de Chile
Open-flame cooking at Siete Fuegos at The Vines Resort and Spa
Private city tour and authentic Tango Show with dinner in Buenos Aires
Roundtrip international and domestic airfare from Toronto*
Welcome assistance upon arrival and departure at all airports
Private transfers and porterage between airport and hotel
8 nights accommodation
2 nights in Cassablanca Valley, Chile at LA CASONA, Standard Room
3 nights Mendoza, Argentina at The Vines Resort & Spa, Standard Room
3 nights in Buenos Aires, Sofitel Buenos Aires Recoleta, Deluxe Room
Breakfast daily and other meals as indicated
Hotel taxes and service charges
Airport & departure taxes**
*Add-ons from other cities available upon request.
For MORE details or to book this tour please contact a BON VIVANT CULINARY TRAVEL SPECIALIST (LINK TO THE SPECIALISTS PAGE)