It’s hard to imagine a place more stunning, scenery more breathtaking, and air more intriguing with its fog and salty sea breezes: Chile’s coastal region is not only a delight for the senses, it is fertile ground for cool-climate vineyards. The coastal wines produced here are world-leaders, renowned for their fresh and elegant appeal. What makes the wines of Chile so special?
In the 1980s, Pablo Morandé, or “El Pionero,” successfully planted the country’s first cool-climate vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. This transformed the Chilean winemaking industry, introducing grapes that were not previously grown here, such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Winemaker Julio Bastias says, “These varieties are showing tremendous potential, fresh-fruit expression and elegance. The wines are ‘coastal’ in every way.”
Proximity to the ocean is key: as the area is shrouded in fog, sunlight is reduced. This creates a longer ripening period. The Coastal Range also blocks warm air from the valley. During the day, the highs hit the low 80℉s, and at night, the temperatures can dip to about 40℉. This allows grapes to maintain their natural acidity until they are harvested.
Coastal wines also benefit from the soil in the Casablanca Valley: it is granitic (heavy on the quartz) with a topping of red volcanic clay. The vines’ roots absorb minerals that directly impact the flavor of the wine. In many ways, the soil is quite similar to that in Sonoma.
These factors come together to create ideal conditions, making the wines of Chile among the best in the world. And, when growers commit to natural cultivation, harvesting, and production techniques, coastal wines become even more special: drinking natural wines is as refreshing as the cool sea air. Enjoy a bottle of your favorite Natura varietal today and toast the coast!