This is now day 2 in Chile, and after a few hours of driving, and after a long flight, we arrive here, in Santa Cruz. There are a lot of throwbacks to yesteryear with things like the Museo de Colchagua, or the old-style casino attached to my hotel, where you can lose hundreds of thousands of pesos in a few minutes, and like many others, I followed in that tradition.
When you look beyond these monuments of the past; you see what is in Chile’s present and future: wine and tourism.
The geography of Chile is interesting in that it is surrounded by desert to the north, the Andes Mountains to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Antarctica to the south. What does this mean? The wine regions of Chile are in a Mediterranean-style climate. By themselves, they probably couldn’t sustain the grapes that are currently growing. These regions however have an ally at their side: the Pacific Ocean, or more specifically, the Humboldt Current.
The Humboldt Current carries cold, arctic water along the Chilean coast, bringing with it, cool winds that flow over the landscape, giving warm days a cooldown at night that helps the vines thrive.
This alone is nice, but there is one other secret ingredient to Chilean wine that also applies to Argentinian wine: the Andes.
The Andes mountains by themselves have porous ground, stemming from the rock breaking down over a thousand millennia. Out of this, there is more of either rock, silt, or loam that let in the water coming down from the Andean snow-capped mountains to further enrich the vines from the roots up.
When you combine the current, the snow melt, the natural Mediterranean temperatures, and the ground, you get an exceptional quality of wine that can compete on a world stage.
I don’t want to go much more beyond this today, as tomorrow, we will dive into both the history of Chilean wine, but we will also review a winery that we were with almost the entire time, as well as the incredible food scene. One of which, I get to spend with Chef Pilar Rodriguez: arguably the best chef in the entire country!