October 29, 2009
One of the most recognized features about Chile, around the world, is the quality of its wines, their abundance, richness and variety. The climate, together with the rich and perfectly appropriate soil, provide the ideal combination for many parts of the Chilean territory, especially in the Andean region, to be the sources of some of the world’s best wines, tasted and valued highly, even in sophisticated and traditionally wine-oriented cultures, including Europe.
A short distance southeast of Santiago, the Chilean capital city, is the fertile Maipo Valley, precisely one of the best and most famous grape-growing and wine-producing centers along Chile’s geography. The valley lies between the towering giants of the Andes to the east, and the smaller coastal mountains to the west. Summer days are sunny and bright and some of the best vineyards are planted at elevations slightly above 2000 feet high, along the granite foothills of the Andes. In climatic environments like this, the temperatures plummet at night, an element which helps building rich, complex and balanced wines.
Some vintners blend juice from grapes from across the Maipo Valley, deriving all the benefits of the different climate and soil conditions from various parts of the valley. Some of the most renowned wineries are precisely located at the Maipo Valley, where many of the most familiar names come from. The major red grapes of the zone are the Cabernet Sauvignons as well as the Merlots. On the side of the white grapes, best performers are the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs.
Santiago, the capital, is actually surrounded by vineyards, even though, urban growth has made many estates practically become engulfed by the city. But, the fact is that Chile is synonymous of good wines. And, for touring and travel, it is simply unconceivable to visit Chile, and having some time in the Santiago area, not to take the time for a visit to the Maipo Valley or other delightful and well known wine producing regions and locations.
A host of wine tours, visiting vineyards and producing estates is offered and they all include tasting sessions, special food delicacies to accompany them, and the enjoyment of some incredibly pretty countryside sceneries, quaint and picturesque towns and the contact with the naturally hospitable Chilean people.
And of course when it comes to lunch or dinner time, at homes or at the hundreds of restaurants, from the most elegant and sophisticated ones, featuring some of Chile’s most splendid gourmet cuisine, strongly associated with the sea and its products; to the most modest establishments; wine is the inseparable companion to any meal, more so, to a good meal. Experts have determined the importance of dining and fine wine tasting when people travel, and Chile is indeed a perfect venue to experience the combination of sightseeing, learning and discovering, with the pleasures of good food and world famous wines.