“I like on the table, when we’re speaking, the light of a bottle of intelligent wine.” Pablo Neruda is perhaps best known as a Chilean diplomat, but in his heart he was a poet and a wine aficionado.
Neruda’s native country of Chile was the inspiration for both his Nobel Prize-winning poetry and his finely-tuned palate. Chile is as diverse in culture as it is in landscapes, stretching more than 4000 km along the Pacific coast of South America.
Discover this fascinating region with Abercromie & Kent, who offer a range of luxury tours in the company of renowned experts who show you Chile as only a local can. It’s a country etched with deep valleys that are rich not only in stories, but in the celebrated vintages of new world wines. From north to south, here are five of Chile’s must-visit wine valleys.
Syrah and Pisco in the Elqui Valley
At the southern end of the Atacama Desert lies the remarkably verdant Elqui Valley. From the beaches of the Pacific in the west to the mountains of the Andes in the east, the valley beckons to travelers looking to escape the buzz of central Chile. Wine production in the region dates back only about 30 years, but in that time has produced excellent varieties of Syrah thanks to the sunny, arid climate. It’s also home to Chile’s most popular liquor – Pisco brandy.
Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in the Casablanca Valley
The first cool-climate vineyards of Chile were planted here on the western coast. Mornings in the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley are mystical, with drifting fog moving in and out on an ocean breeze. The ancient granite that forms the soil of this fertile region is rich in minerals and welcoming to the roots of vines. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay thrive here. The Casablana Valley is a highlight on Abercrombie & Kent’s 13-day ‘Chile & Argentina: Grapes and Gourmet’ private journey. You’ll get to learn the secrets of a winning vintage straight from the masters and put your knowledge to work as you create your own blend.
Cabernet Sauvignon in the Maipo Valley
Part of the central Chilean region that is most internationally recognized for winemaking, the Maipo Valley is just across the Andes from the equally renowned Argentinian wine district of Mendoza. Many credit the region as the birthplace of Chilean wine culture, and the lessons learned through time are evident in the 7000-plus acres of successful vineyards in the area. The Alto Maipo sub-region of the valley has a unique terroir that produces a bold and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon unlike any other in the world.
Malbec and Carmenère in the Colchagua Valley
The wineries of the Colchagua Valley are located at a diverse range of elevation, from valley floor to foothills and flatlands. The sun-baked region is an ideal destination for travelers looking to sample the finest in Chile’s food and wine scene. Malbec flourishes here, and no visitor should leave without tasting a Carmenère; this distinctive variety nearly went extinct in Europe and is now known as Chile’s signature grape.
Moscatel de Alejandria and Gewürztraminer in the Bío Bío Valley
Classic vintages meet avant-garde winemaking in the Bío Bío Valley. One of the most southern of Chile’s wine regions, the area has historically produced the sweet, rustic flavours of Muscat of Alexandria. Today, the vineyards of the valley are playgrounds for winemakers at the forefront of the Chilean wine industry. Gewürztraminer grapes are becoming more popular here and Riesling and Viognier are not far behind. The passion and growth in the industry here are paralleled across the country, reinforcing Chile’s reputation as a wine destination of the world.
Embark on an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday through South America, and enjoy an experience crafted by our travel experts to showcase the country's best-kept secrets from an insider's perspective.