Fort Worth Restaurants - Wine and Spirits
Chances are excellent that if you ask the average American to name the top ten wine producing countries in the world they might be able to name five or six and surely France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the U.S. and Austria might be listed. It might surprise some of you that the ninth leading producer of wines in the world is Chile in South America.
Grapes were first introduced in Chile in the 16th Century when Spanish Conquistadors brought Vitis Vinifera to the New World during their travels. By the mid-nineteenth Century French grapes were being introduced, most notably the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and by the mid-1980’s oak barrels were being used for fermentation.
Simply having the grapes, however, is not enough to make Chile a leader in wine production. The other ingredient to their success is their climate which has been described as somewhere between the climates of France and California. Probably the country that most resembles Chile for climate is Spain.
Chile is dominated by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Because Chile is such a narrow country these two geographic features greatly influence the climate which is notable for hot summer days and very cool nights, absolutely critical for acidity in wines. Much of Chile lies in the rain shadow caused by the Chilean Andes so most wineries in Chile rely greatly on irrigation for their crops.
The main wine producing regions in Chile are:
Atacama Region, known for its table wines
Coquimbo Region, again known for table wines
Aconcagua Region, famous for its fine Cabernets and Merlots
Central Valley Region, again famous for the production of some of the finer wines
Southern Chile Region, a mass producer of jug wines.
Wineries like Conche y Toro have become world famous for their wonderful Pinot Grigios, Viogniers, Carmeneres and Shiraz Rose as well as the Cabernets, Merlots and Pinot Noirs. Conche y Toro is located at an elevation of approximately 1,800 feet which allows it to benefit greatly from those cool summer nights that are so important in producing fine grapes for wines.
The next time you are in the mood for a fine wine go to your local wine dealer and try one of the wonderful Chilean wines. We might also mention that Conche y Toro is being featured in our May Wine & Dine being held May 22nd.