Raising a Glass to the Chilean Wine Country

Considered a paradise for agriculture, not only does Chile grow fruits and vegetables that are enjoyed in marketplaces around the world, it is also the proud producer of unparalleled wine. The oldest wine-making country in the Americas, wine has been flowing from Chile since the 1550s, and the industry is still growing quickly. Today, Chile is the seventh largest wine supplier in the world, and is home to hundreds of wineries of all sizes.

With hot summers, moderate rainfall, and cooling winds from the Pacific, the long, thin country which stretches down the western coast of South America has a Mediterranean climate that is optimal for growing wine grapes.

From Santiago, Chile’s cosmopolitan capital, it’s a relatively short drive to many of the principal wine regions that grow grapes for wines such as Pinot Noir, Carménère Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as lesser known varieties like Pais, Carignan, and Petit Verdot.

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The Blue Parallel team recently traveled through the Chilean wine country to sample its fantastic wines while exploring Chile’s scenic landscape. Their first stop was Viña Almaviva. One of the top wineries in Chile, Almaviva was created as a collaboration between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Viña Concha y Toro. This chateau concept winery releases one Bordeaux blend per year, which combines the unbeatable Chilean terroir with traditional French winemaking. Almaviva’s wine has received worldwide acclaim, including an outstanding rating of 95 out of 100 points from Wine Spectator for its 2005 Carménère, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

Next, the team had a wonderful stay at Viña Vik, a boutique hotel in Millahue, which produces top-quality wine and offers premium accommodations with a modern, avante-garde design. Set amongst the mountains and sweeping valleys with soaring Andes mountains in the distance, the serene landscape of the resort is peacefully remote and gives you the feeling that you have the whole area to yourself.

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The state-of-the-art facility uses advanced technology to produce its wine, with the goal of making the best wine in South America. From Viña Vik, the team enjoyed lunch at the restaurant terrace overlooking the infinity pool and the green valley below. The team then toured the expansive vineyards on horseback and mountain bikes and enjoyed panoramic views of the estate.

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From there, they traveled just over an hour to reach Colchagua Valley, where many of the best red wines in Chile are made. The Colchagua Valley is one of the most important wine regions in Chile because of its excellent climate, which is dry with occasional rainfall, and warm but cooled by the breezes from the Pacific. Many of the facilities in this area are modern and welcoming to visitors, which has contributed to Colchagua’s reputation as the “Napa Valley” of Chile.

While in Colchagua, the team spent an afternoon at Viña Lapostolle. This winery has a traditional Chilean hacienda style and has the goal of creating world-class wine that unites French expertise with Chile’s excellent terroirs.

Cofounded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle of France, whose family founded and owns the world-renowned liqueur Grand Marnier, Lopostolle is dedicated to the production of its signature wine, Clos Apalta. With 370 hectares across three separate vineyards, Lapostolle produces a total of 200,000 cases, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Carmenère.

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During their visit, the team enjoyed a delicious lunch at Lapostolle’s restaurant, where chefs prepare a special menu for each wine and use organic vegetables from the garden.

On the next stop in their journey, they visited Neyen Vineyard. Nestled in a horseshoe-shaped ring of mountains in the Apalta Valley, Neyen is known for producing spectacular red wine. The 300-acre winery has an ideal location because its surrounding mountains keep it protected from harsh westerly winds.

They then visited Montes Winery. Located in the heart of Apalta in the Colchagua Valley, Montes is a large, modern winery with a creative design and features Gregorian chants played underground where its barrels are kept. The wine itself is phenomenal, and several of Montes’s wines have been awarded scores of more than 90 points by the Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast.

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Interested in enjoying the Chilean wine country and its unforgettable wines? We recommend visiting from October to February when the vines are growing, or from March to May for the harvest season.