New world wine
New World wines
are those wines produced outside the traditional wine-growing areas of Europe and the Middle East, in particular from South America. New World Wine brings with it notions of freshness, innovation, and international style.
Chile is a strong, prestigious producer in the New World wine segment. Its warm climate
, regulated by the Coastal and Andes mountain ranges, make the country an ideal region for grape growing. Santa Rita winemaker Carlos Gatica sums it up best when he says: “Chile has the right conditions
: a very nice mix of soil and temperatures and people of course—their values, their lives.” The Wine of the Year brings this excellence to the table.
Vines typically grow in stressed conditions and each environment
dictates how grapes develop. Chile has a unique terroir
suitable for excellent grape growth. The Wine of the Year Cavanza grapes hail from the Rapel and Aconcagua Valleys
Santa Rita’s vineyards in the Coastal Range
regions benefit from different climates and soils. The winery utilises grapes from silty soils
at the Andean foothills and grapes grown near the Coastal Range. The Coastal Range boasts older, heavier, pure soils of silt and clay
that are fantastic for grape growth. Chilean vineyards also are fortunate to lack phylloxera, a pesky insect that commonly damages grapevines.
- Ideal Grape-Growing Climate
Featuring a warm Mediterranean climate
, the central zone of Chile offers temperatures that suit both white and red grapes. Chardonnay
grapes thrive in lower temperatures, whereas Cabernet Sauvignon
grapes need a slightly warmer climate.
- White & Red Varietals Peak
Close to the Coastal Range, marine breezes
keep temperatures cooler, which helps white varietals
ripen. By contrast, Cabernet Sauvignon
grapes grow better with some warm temperatures. The Coastal Range acts as a buffer
for vineyards between the range and the Andes, offering slightly warmer temperatures and prompting peak conditions for red varietals
. This also benefits the Cavanza Rosé
, which consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes.
INTERVIEW WITH CARLOS GATICA: CHILE’S IDEAL CONDITIONS FOR WINE
How does the Chilean environment impact the grapes and thus the wine?
If you understand vines as they are, they tend to grow a lot in tropical conditions that are extreme. They grow, expand, and produce fruits and then when you have different environments, they behave differently. That’s one main point. The bigger picture is that every single situation exposes a vine to a different condition; it can grow in a different way. It can produce different sizes of branches and the sunlight varies so the position to the light is different accordingly. Then the water, the rainfall, the amount of roots we have—finally you reach the terroir in which those conditions are unique. Here there are different flavours and aromas to an extent.
Is the grape a very sensitive plant?
It’s a very rustic plant. So when you expose vines to a stress condition during which they produce their best wines, and you can control their growth in the season they are growing, then you will find certain characteristics due to the amount of heat and rainfall.
How do you determine which soils are best in your area to grow the grapes?
First, you need a poor soil in which you can manage the growth. So actually in Chile, those soils are in the foothills close to the Andes or the Coastal Range. Then to find the area, you need to find the right climate, which means if you want a white, you need to move towards the Pacific Ocean, which has cooler conditions, because you need to keep all the aromatics and the acidics from the vine. Then when you think about red varietals, you move towards the Andes Mountains, where you will find warmer conditions. And then the climate, you need to have controlled rainfall, to have a good chance of having everything ripe before the harvest.
If you taste Chilean wine, can you tell something about the soil and the terroir?
When you drink and taste a lot of wine, you can tell at least the type of soil. Sunny soil tends to produce powerful but less concentrated wine. Plain soil tends to produce more concentrated wine. When you have a lot of sunshine in a wine, it tends to burn a little bit, the aromas of flavours. When you are trained, you can tell the environment in which the wine was developed when you drink it. It is important to also know, though, how long to hold onto a wine. The Cavanza Cabernet Sauvignon, for example, has an ageing potential of 3-5 years.
Could you say you really taste Chile?
Yes, I think so.