Rosé Tasting 6.30.22 (edited) (3)

In a winemaking team full of experimentation & innovation, we are temporarily losing one of our best to the vibrant land of Chile. Never fear—He will be back. However, for the next 6 weeks, our Production Manager, Blake Miller will be strolling along the ever-evolving wine region of Almahue Valley (“Valle De Almahue”), sitting snug next to the infamous Rapel Valley; & He’s taking us along for the ride! Consider yourself personal pen-pals until his return… But before we get there, let’s tell you a little more about where he’s headed.

Chile, although over 5,500 miles away, is surprisingly similar to the Temecula wine region in terms of climate & geography. In a 60 km stretch of land, sitting comfortably between vast mountain ranges & the western coastline, the Rapel Valley cultivates a wide array of grape varietals. Specializing in Carménére, this region hosts a similar environment necessary to grow many of the Mediterranean wines you have grown accustomed to in the Temecula Valley. Alternatively, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc, also dominate in Chile’s growing region. So, let’s break that down into why.

Although first planted in the 1500s, with varietal specialties authentic to the land, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s when several French varietals made their journey into Chilean soil. Since then, Rapel Valley has become famous throughout the country for producing top-quality, bold reds, made from these native European descendants—While keeping them genuinely Chilean, of course. Varying degrees of soil composition are scattered throughout the region. While the majority contains volcanic remains & large portions of granite rocks, several portions hold clay, loamy clay & sandy soils, as well. These unique conditions create a wide array of flavors, aromas & characteristics to be present in their wines. Additionally, their rainy winters, dry summers, strong winds & cooler evenings cause for an expanding range of grapes to be grown throughout the Valley. Sound familiar?

Valle de Cachapoal
Cachapoal Valley
Vinas de almahue
Villa de Almahue
Destacada Tagua Tagua Valle de Almahue 1
Lake Tagua Tagua

With roughly 10 main wine regions throughout the country, Rapel Valley is responsible for producing approximately one quarter of all Chilean wine. Rapel itself is comprised of two sub-regions: Colchagua Valley in the south & Cachapoal Valley in the north. The vineyards of Colchagua Valley are primarily situated in the west of the Valley, absorbing heavy influence from the Pacific Ocean. Consequently, the cool ocean breezes guide their character to be more fruit-forward, with a well-balanced acidity. This portion of the land holds a similar effect to our La Cresta vineyards, gently perched in the hills above the Valley floor & the Coast. Alternatively, the vineyards found in the Cachapoal Valley sit in the east, near the foothills of the Andes. Sheltered safely below this vast mountain range, vines grow on drier, well-drained soil. These conditions cause for more concentrated fruit, with bold characteristics like our Valley floor vineyards; painting the perfect canvas for Blake’s adventure!

In a country with so many similar qualities to our own, we have a lot to learn from them. This unique opportunity gives us a chance to elevate our own winemaking & innovate our program from within. We will miss him dearly during his brief time away, but cannot wait to learn from his travels. So, that’s what we’re going to do, together! Every Thursday, Blake will share stories of his time in Chile as we learn more about the wine, the people & the history. For now, let’s just wish him safe travels.

Cheers to Heading South!