The Aconcagua Valley, located 60 miles (100km) north of the capital Santiago, is one of the biggest Chilean wine-producing regions.
Chile’s Best Wines Are Here – Welcome to Aconcagua Valley!
It was long thought that this hot, dry valley was not suitable for growing wine grapes but the quality of the region’s modern-day Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot has robustly reversed this opinion. Indeed, the Chilean wine pioneer Don Maximiano Errazuriz was ridiculed when he planted his first vines here.
The winery started by Errazuriz dominates the area but has been joined by other producers of note. The Sena wine produced as a joint venture between Vina Errazuriz and Robert Mondavi, came second at the 2004 Berlin Tasting, ahead of Italian and French wines. It is grown in a single vineyard with a unique mesoclimate at the heart of the Aconcagua Valley.
VIDEO: Chilean Wine – Aconcagua Valley
The Aconcagua Valley takes its name from the eponymous river flowing through it, which in turn is named after the 22841ft (6962m) Mt. Aconcagua at its eastern edge. This Andean giant, whose name means ‘stone sentinel’, is the highest mountain in the Americas and directly contributes to the terroirs found in the valley below. Measuring around 60 miles (100km) in length, the valley runs between the slopes of the Andes in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west.
This topography, common to many of Chile’s wine-growing areas, means that vineyard altitude in Aconcagua varies from 3300ft (1000m) in the east to 160ft (50m) in the west. It also creates a distinctive climatic characteristics: as the warm, dry land of the region heats up during the afternoon, the hot air in the east rises rapidly upwards, sucking in cooler air from the Pacific Ocean to the west.
Ideal Conditions for Fantastic Wines
The Aconcagua Valley lies at a latitude of 32°S (the equivalent latitude in the northern hemisphere crosses through northern Africa and the Middle East), and thanks to its unique climatic and geographical conditions quality wine can be produced by Chilean wineries in the Aconcagua Valley. Aconcagua Valley wines are generally composed of Bordeaux Blend Red which represents 25 percent of plantings, Cabernet Sauvignon for 18 percent, Pinot Noir for 12 percent followed by Carmenere and Chardonnay representing 10 percent each.
Top 10 Aconcagua Valley Wines
Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Bordeaux Blend Red
Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa ‘Las Pizarras’ Chardonnay, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Chardonnay
Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa ‘Las Pizarras’ Pinot Noir, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Pinot Noir
Errazuriz Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Bordeaux Blend Red
Errazuriz La Cumbre Syrah, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Syrah
Errazuriz Kai Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Carmenere
Clos des Fous ‘Pucalan Arenaria’ Pinot Noir, Aconcagua Costa, Chile – Pinot Noir
Errazuriz The Blend Collection, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Rare Red Blend
Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Chardonnay
Vina von Siebenthal ‘Tatay de Cristobal’ Carmenere, Aconcagua Valley, Chile – Carmenere