Chile and the importance of its Terroir
Chile and the importance of its TerroirThe country has a diverse climate ranging from the world’s driest desert in the north to a Mediterranean climate in the center and humid subtropical in the east. According to some studies, Chile hosts at least ten major climatic subtypes within its borders. The unique combination of a moderate Mediterranean climate in the central part and varied geographical conditions makes Chile an ideal place to produce unique styles of wine.
Due to the suitable climate and favorable hydrography of the country, sustainable winemaking has been developed over the years. The country has organic and biodynamic vineyards in the central part.
The Mediterranean climate in the center, with the hot and dry summers, with average annual temperatures of 14ºC, is greatly influenced by the Andes mountain range in the East and the Pacific Ocean, causing a significant variation in the daily temperature range, with temperatures between 30º and 35ºC during the day, dropping to 10° to 15°C overnight. Winters are cold and rainy in the center.
The cool air of the Humboldt Current during the day, which begins in the cold waters near Antarctica and rises to the west coast of South America, helps soften the hot summer temperatures and bring occasional rains to Chile.
The soils of Chilean vineyards located in the center vary in origin and texture. As for the origin of the soil, the soil can be categorized alluvial (a fertile soil that originated from the deposition of mineral and organic sediments on the banks of rivers and plains), colluvial (formed from the transport and accumulation of sediments of rocks and minerals, mainly quartz sediments). ), and rivers. The texture of the soil can be limestone, clay, sand, and silt (mineral fragments with an intermediate texture between sand and clay).
Vines are produced in different parts of Chile. In a simplified way, the main wine-growing areas are divided into North, Center, and South, with the central one being the most important with approximately 400 km in length, between San Felipe (Aconcagua) and Limari (Maule), and an average width of 180 km. The most important Chilean appellations are briefly described below:
There are currently around 117,559 hectares of vineyards planted from Elqui to Osorno. The area produces approximately 50 grape varieties, 75% red and 25% white. The most important are:
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling.
Also read: Argentina and Chile Wine History