Curious Small Sips #26: Casablanca Valley

The Casablanca Valley is an important wine growing region situated between Santiago and the port of Valparaiso and is officially part of the Acongagua region of Chile, although the wines are very different here than in the northern vineyards. The name in recent years has almost become synonymous with Chilean wine, and wineries of repute include Santa Rita, Veramonte and PS Garcia. Originally thought too cold for viticulture it was allegedly winemaker Pablo Morandé from Concha y Toro who, by converting his table grape vineyard with traditional pergola to vertically trellised white wine grapes, was determined to prove that Casablanca could produce fine white wines with finesse and become a world class wine region. There are many parallels and similarities with California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma and this led to a viticultural alliance in 2002.

The region is too far from the Andes to benefit from the cool evening mountain air or glacial meltwater but close enough to the sea to avail of the early morning mists (from the Humboldt current) and bountiful afternoon sea breezes rolling in off the Pacific Ocean. The Casablanca Valley’s growing season is long and languid and this usually results in aromatic crisp whites such as Sauvignon Blanc but it also boasts distinctive Chardonnay, Viognier and Riesling and some fine Merlot, Syrah and Carménère.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________IImage: Vineyards in Casablanca Valley; © Casas del Bosque, Chile.

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