Today’s blog focuses on one of Chile’s most exciting regions. It is not a new region, with vines playing a part in the lives of the locals for over 300 years! However, the recent investment and experimentation by some of the country’s leading producers are starting to deliver some truly cracking results. The region is – Chile’s Limari Valley.
Limari is the second most northerly of Chile’s wine regions and is located some 250 miles north of the capital, Santiago, on the North West coast. It is the only place in Chile with a significant quantity of limestone in the soil’s make-up. This shelf of calcareous material is overlain by alluvial clay, providing the vines with a solid base and encouraging roots to drive down deep for nutrients.
Limari’s proximity to the coast has a significant bearing on the local climate. Not only does it produce consistent cooling breezes, but also a daily occurring fog shrouds the vineyards throughout the morning before clearing to brilliantly clear afternoons of the purest sunshine. It is also interesting to note that the annual rainfall is as low as just 4 inches, again driving roots deeper for sustenance. Irrigation is used sparingly although readily available from the Limari River.
All of the above combine to produce wines that are clean and fresh with wonderful concentration and defined minerality. For me, the most enjoyable and exciting wines are being produced from Chardonnay. The best examples are expressive, pure and packed with varietal character – green apples, citrus lemon and limes and again a clearly marked mineral edge. If Chardonnay isn’t your thing you can find a whole host of innovative and exciting wines crafted from Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and perhaps slightly surprisingly Syrah. Plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and naturally Carmenère have increased and we should all look forward to tasting new wines over the coming years.
As ever, at Virgin Wines, we aim to bring you wines that are exciting and over-deliver. We’ve already listed some magnificent examples from the Limari Valley and we’ll continue to work closely with our winemaking friends to bring you the best of the best from this awesome viticultural haven.