The Valle Central is huge! It extends over 400 km from north to south. Wine from Valle Central is as varied as the terroir in Chile's largest wine-growing region, also known as the Central Valley. The wine from the raised valley is literally a delight.
The valleys of the Valle Central
The Valle Central consists of four valleys. To the north is the Maipo, followed by the Valle del Rapel, then the Curicó and finally the Maule to the south. These very large valleys and wine-growing areas are sometimes subdivided even more precisely. For example, the Rapel is made up of the Cachapoal in the north and Colchagua in the south. The Maipo Valley is close to the capital Santiago de Chile and is considered the first wine-growing region of the Andean state.
Because Maipo produces a variety of renowned wines, it has also been awarded the honorable title of "Bordeaux of South America". In the four valleys of Valle Central, complex, aromatic wines are produced. The different climatic and geographical conditions of the elongated Valle Central promote a wide range of tasty wines.
Maipo in the Central Valley
The Valle del Maipo is historically and economically important. On the one hand, the first vines are said to have been cultivated in the flat terrain of Maipo. Probably Spanish colonialists brought viticulture to Chile in the 16th century. On the other hand, the Maipo region is considered the one in the South American state that produces the most prestigious wine. Between the Andes in the east and the Cordilleras in the west, delicious red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon thrive. The microclimate in this valley, which lies less than 40 km south of the capital Santiago de Chile, is so changeable that very good white wine vines can also ripen here. In general, however, hot days, cool nights.
The cultivation areas in the elevated areas of the foothills of the Andes and the opposite mountain ranges are preferred for the cultivation of wine. At up to almost 800 m above sea level, the berries ripen between heat and coolness. The popular valley is named after the river Maipo, which is about 250 km long from its source in the Andes to the Pacific Ocean.
The sub-regions of the Maipol wine region are called Puerte Anto and Pirque. They are predominantly planted with French red wine vines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Carmenère.
Valle Central important and common grape varieties
Valle Central has many different grape varieties. Common and important ones are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Noir
The divided Rapel in the Valle Central
The Rapel Valley is made up of the Colchagua and Cachapoal wine regions. About a quarter of Chilean wines come from here. The two sub-regions are especially well known for their red wines, which are made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère or Syrah. Just as for the Maipo Valley, the river gives the name to this main valley of Valle Central. Valle Rapel is about 100 km long and lies centrally between mountains. Finally, the Rapel Valley is losing its attention in favor of the two subregions Colchagua and Cachapoal. Both the high productivity of the Cachapoal and the fine and fruity balance of the wines from Colchagua are more widely recognized internationally.
Southern Central Valley
The southern wine regions of the Central Valley are the Curicó and the Maule. Especially the Curicó valley shows a high percentage of white grape varieties like the often aromatically complex Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Visitors to the Curicó wine-growing region especially appreciate the wine festival "Fiesta de la Vendimia de Curicó". It takes place for one week from mid-March. On the wine route ("Ruta del Vino del Valle de Curicó") the local winegrowers present themselves and offer their wine for tasting. The wine festival is accompanied by music at pleasant temperatures and radiates a charming South American flair.
The southernmost area of the Valle Central is the Maule. On about 24,000 hectares the grapes ripen under good conditions. In contrast to the other valleys of the Valle Central, more rain falls in this area, especially in winter. It is a bit cooler in this region, which is also located at the river Maule, which rises in the Andes and flows into the Pacific Ocean. Characteristic soils of the valley are clay, granite, loam, gravel and volcanic rock.
Wine growing region Valle Central
Valle Central is the first and most important wine-growing region in Chile. Since the 16th century wine has been cultivated here. The wine-growing region Valle Central measures a little more than 400 km from north to south. It consists of four main valleys. They are called Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule. The terroir of the high-altitude Central Valley is so different that there is a wide variety of wine varieties and quality levels. Therefore, wines from Valle Central are popular. Whether Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc - there is a delightful wine for everyone. It is important to note that Valle Central is hot during the day and cool at night.
Interesting facts about wine from Valle Central
How big is the area under vines in the Valle Central wine region?
The area under vines in the Valle Central wine region is immense. In total, the vineyards of the four main valleys account for about 90% of the total vineyard area in Chile. That is about 124,000 hectares of vineyards in the Central Valley.
Was the Valle Central affected by the phylloxera plague in the 19th century?
No, the Central Valley was not affected by the phylloxera plague. In any case, Chile is the only country in the world, besides Cyprus, that escaped the plague. This is why the wine-growing region is special. Root-true grape varieties, which were previously imported to the Valle Central from France, were brought back to the affected countries after the devastating effects of the pest plague.
What is the most common grape variety planted in the Valle Central?
The red grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon is the most commonly cultivated in the Central Valley. It accounts for about 30% of all grape varieties in this wine region.
Buy wine from the Valle Central
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