One of many highlights from my recent trip to Chile was a visit to the Casablanca Valley. Here are a few notes for your perusal.
The Casablanca Valley is home to vineyards producing some of Chile’s best Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. Located 45 minutes drive North West of Santiago in the direction of the coast, the otherwise hot climate is cooled considerably by the proximity of the Pacific Ocean. Daily occurring morning fogs roll in from the coast, shrouding the vineyards for large parts of the morning, helping maintain acidity in the grapes and freshness in the finished wines. Without these fogs the wines would lack balance and show overtly ripe fruit and lack finesse.
It is not a region without troubles. Having your vines here is a risk reward situation. The main issue is a lack of water. All the other main growing regions in Chile are named after the river running through them but the Casablanca Valley does not have this luxury. Water must be pumped from underground wells and is an expensive but essential exercise. Another issue here is the risk of spring frosts, so you’ll find several wind turbines dotted around the vineyards to increase the airflow through the vineyards keeping Jack Frost at bay.
We work with several producers in Casablanca, who have access to the best fruit, crafting exciting wines that really do deliver exceptional value. We will definitely keep going here, such is the current quality to price ratio and also the potential for the future. The best whites continue to balance ripe fruit with freshening acidity and the quality of the Pinot Noirs continue to improve year on year.
In my opinion this is one of the wine regions of the world with a very bright future. It will continue to improve in terms of quality and diversity as producers gain a better understanding of the terroir they work with. I have no doubts that standards will soar, especially those wines crafted from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir with an outside chance for Syrah to excel. I highly recommend you give the wines of this region a go and you’ll find several great examples, such as our Indomita Arte Reserve Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Novas Winemakers Selection Casablanca Syrah 2009 and Tierra del Corazon Casablanca Pinot Noir Reserva 2011, in our range…