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Flashcards in Chile Deck (38):

What are the 2 main geographic features that influence wine growing areas in Chile?

  1. Andes Mountains
  2. Pacific Ocean


What is unique about Chile's geography?

Chile is a long, thin, country stretching over 900 km long but only 100 km wide.  The cool Pacific Ocean is to the west, boasts two north-to-south mountain ranges, and a large, warm valley between those two ranges.

The climate varies from arid in the north to maritime in the south, and cooler conditions towards the Pacific to hot pockets inland.


Chile's climate varies greatly between north and south. 

Where is it most likely to be hot and dry?

The northern part of Chile is very close to the equator, and displays a nearly desert-like climate.

The climate becomes progressively cooler and wetter going south.


What country borders Chile to the east?


The Andes Mountain range creates a natural border between the two countries.

Colchagua, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina are on opposite sides of the Andes.


What are the two mountain ranges of Chile?

  1. Andes Mountains: separates Chile from Argentina; down drafts cool vineyards with fresh winds;
  2. Coastal Range: separates the Central Valley from the Pacific.


What is the general climate of Chile?

Overall Chile has a warm Mediterranean climate, but it can and does vary depending on latitude and altitude.


What is the Humboldt Current?

The Humboldt Current is cold water current flowing up from Antarctica that chills the Pacific waters, cooling the air and affecting Chile's low-lying areas closest to the coast and valleys on the other side of the breaks (or low points) in the Coastal Range.

In some regions, like the San Antonio Valley, the Humboldt Current encourages morning fog.


What two climate drivers can influence Chile's weather?

  1. El Niño: increases rainfall and humidity
  2. La Niña: can increase drought conditions


When were Chilean wine laws established?



What are the 4 main regions of Chile?

From north to south:

  1. Coquimbo
  2. Aconcagua
  3. Central Valley
  4. Southern Region

These 4 main regions are divided into 13 subregions, and several subregions have various zones.


In 2012, Chilean wine law changed and producers can now classify vineyard areas by their proximity to the coast.

What are these 3 new classificiations?

  1. Costa: area closest to the coast
  2. Entre Cordilleras: area located between the Andes and the Coastal Range
  3. Andes: area nearest the Andes

These classificiations are not DOs: a producer can add them in addition to using a DO.


Under Chilean wine law, what is the min % of grape variety, DO, or vintage if mentioned on the label?

Officially 75%, but for export - especially to Europe - the 85% rule is used.


What is the most planted grape variety in Chile?

Cabernet Sauvignon


Which grape is the trademark of Chile?


  • late ripener
  • performs well in warm, sunny sites
  • high tannin
  • full bodied


Where in Chile does Pinot Noir shows its best?

In cool, coastal regions such as San Antonio Valley or Casablanca Valley, and in the Southern Region.


What are the 2 most planted white varieties in Chile?

  1. Chardonnay
  2. Sauvignon Blanc


What role does Muscat of Alexandria play in Chile?

Muscat of Alexandria is the 3rd most planted white grape and it is mostly used for Pisco production, not wine.


What region lies south of the Atacama Desert?

Coquimbo Region


What are the subregions of the Coquimbo Region?

From north to south:

  1. Elqui Valley
  2. Limarí Valley
  3. Choapa Valley


What grape is Limarí Valley known for?

Limarí is known for making high-quality Chardonnay.


The most interesting wines coming out of Elqui Valley are made from ___ and ___.

Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc


What are the 3 subregions of Aconcagua Region?

From north to south:

  1. Aconcagua Valley
  2. Casablanca Valley
  3. San Antonio Valley


The Aconcagua Valley is famous for being one of the ___ wine regions in Chile.  

Which grape(s) is Aconcagua Valley known for?


Aconcagua Valley is known for Cabernet Sauvignon, but Syrah has been on the rise as of late.


How do Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley differ from Aconcagua Valley?

Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys

  • lie between the Pacific and Coastal Range
  • cooler than Aconcagua Valley
  • diverse soils with various aspects
  • more white grapes planted

Aconcagua Valley

  • lies between the Coastal Range and the Andes
  • hotter than Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys
  • fertile soils and flat
  • more red grapes planted


What is San Antonio Valley's zone that has a reputation for making great Sauvignon Blanc?


Leyda Valley zone

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay also perfom well in Leyda Valley.


The bulk of Chile's vineyards are found in the ___ Region.

Central Valley Region


Wine production in the Central Valley region focuses on high-quality or inexpensive wines?

Inexpensive wines, most of them based on Merlot and Chardonnay.

Central Valley is a large, flat area that is warm and known for making uncomplicated, everyday wine.


What are the 4 subregions of the Central Valley?

From north to south:

  1. Maipo Valley
  2. Rapel Valley
  3. Curicó Valley
  4. Maule Valley


Maipo is just south of which city in Chile?

Santiago, the capital.


Why is Maipo Valley known for making prestige Cabernet Sauvignon?

Maipo Valley is enclosed by mountains and its superior sites are in the Andean foothills.  Along with the diurnal shift, these sites are cooled by down drafts from the Andes giving lift and elegance to the wines.


What are the main red varieties grown in Rapel Valley?

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Carmenère
  • Syrah

Wines from Rapel Valley are usually bold and powerful with a lush texture and distinctive green pepper notes.


The Rapel Valley is divided into 2 zones.  What are they?

1. Cachapoal Valley

  • north side of Rapel
  • smaller, flatter, and warmer of the two
  • no Pacific influence

2. Colchagua Valley

  • south side of Rapel
  • more varied aspects
  • Pacific influence


What is the area within Colchagua Valley that has gained notoriety for producing high-quality wines?



The wines from Curicó and Maule Valleys are known for being expensive or inexpensive?


Both Curicó and Maule are warm subregions and the grapes are often blended together to make affordable wines.


What grape variety is a rising star in the Curicó Valley?


Old bush vine Carignan that has been dry farmed (and forgotten about) for decades has been rediscovered in recent years by producers.  These ancient vines produce rich, full-bodied Carignan.


What are the 3 subregions of the Southern Region?

From north to south:

  1. Itata Valley
  2. Bío Bío Valley
  3. Malleco Valley


What are the 2 traditional grape varieties grown in the Southern Region?

  1. País
  2. Muscat of Alexandria


What are some promising white varieties grown in Bío Bío and Itata Valleys?

  • Gewuztraminer
  • Viognier
  • Riesling