Colchagua Valley is one of Chile’s newest wine regions, and it is also fast becoming one of its best-known for its stunning cabernet sauvignons, syrahs and carmeneres. Called the “Napa Valley” of Chile for its high quality wine, state-of-the-art winemaking equipment, and focus on catering to wine tourism, Colchagua is one of the best wine areas in Chile to visit right now.
Colchagua is located in the southern half of the Rapel Valley, south of the capital of Santiago. Cabernet sauvignon, syrah, carmenere and malbec grow best here, although the western side of the valley, which is cooled by ocean breezes, also does well with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. The valley is formed by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Coastal Range to the west, and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean allows the region to enjoy a Mediterranean climate even though it is closer to the equator than any wine region in Europe. The best vineyards lie on the foothills and lower slopes of both mountain ranges, where the nights are cool and the soils are rocky and well-drained.
Colchagua’s best appellation, Apalta, is home to many of Chile’s most prestigious wineries, including Montes and Lapostolle. The cool nights and sunny days, combined with low-fertility soil that makes the vines struggle, put the wines from Apalta in a class all their own. Two of our favorite wines include:
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Photo Credit: Wines of Chile