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Enjoy Crafting Your Own Chilean Wine

Now that the Chilean 2014 wine grape harvest is completed, wine production begins not only in this unique and well-recognized wine producing country… but, also right here in New Jersey! Chilean winemaking has increasingly become a great springtime activity for experienced and amateur winemakers in the Garden State. The reason:  Chilean wines rival the best, the varietals have ‘Old World’ character, the winemaking choices are interesting, and wine outcomes are pleasantly surprising. And of course, there is no better way to shake the winter doldrums than through a fun winemaking session with family and friends.

Chilean Wines Rated World Class

As Chile continues to grow as a serious international wine producing country, one cannot help but recognize the quality of the wines it produces. There is a Chilean wine history that one can trace… but, it is in the last 30 years that Chilean wines have become more seriously viewed based on its ever-increasing focus on producing high quality wines. The Europeans consider centuries of wine producing a rite of passage into the category of internationally acclaimed wines. But, times are changing: Chilean wines are appealing to a worldwide audience and it now ranks in the top-five wine exporting countries …and, in the top-ten wine producing countries …worldwide. It has taken its fair share of top awards at international wine competitions as well.

Have you ever wondered what European wines tasted like a century ago? Chilean wines offer a window into the past.

Chile: A Special Grape-Growing Region of the World

There are many factors that make Chilean grapes …and therefore its wines… so attractive to winemakers and wine lovers alike. Top among them is the Mediterranean climate that results from its very special geographical location and resulting climate. Consider a map of Chile: To the West, the Andes Mountains; To the North, the Atacama Desert; To the East, the Pacific Ocean; And to the South, Antarctica. Its geography has virtually isolated the country to the extent that even the Phylloxera louse, which plagued Europe over 100 years ago and even destroyed certain grape varietals, is non-existent.  Thus, Chile has preserved vineyard rootstock, avoided grafting, and can boast of a certain purity of the vines…that can’t be claimed by any of the other wine producing countries.  In fact, there are some that believe Chile’s vineyards grow grapes and produce wines containing higher resveratrol and antioxidants that are believed to benefit one’s health. No doubt, terroir [defined as geography, geology, climate] factors into the high quality and characteristics of Chilean wines.

Old World Tastes …New World Winemaking

In a recent wine tasting, a very savvy wine connoisseur noted that Chilean wines are many times misinterpreted in their traditional varietal characteristics and taste. This, due to the fact that their vineyard rootstock (void of grafting) typifies the ‘Old World’ wines of a century ago. He claimed that: “If you want to taste what wines were like before the European Phylloxera epidemic …try Chilean wines.” Truly, there is truth to this notion when one samples Chile’s most popular wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere. Each of these wines has their own special nature …and they typify an ever-growing popularity for wines uniquely called Chilean. Add to that Chile’s advances in the science of winemaking, use of state-of-the art winemaking equipment, the winemaking experience of European vineyard partners through joint ventures …and you have a winning formula for success.

Variety Makes Winemaking Exciting

The variety of Chilean wine grapes available to the discerning New Jersey winemaker makes their journey all the more exciting. For, beyond crafting a top-flight varietal, blending one’s own special Chilean wine has become increasingly popular. Both red and white wine grapes will be available to winemakers for 2014: Reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah (Shiraz), and Pinot Noir; Whites include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier.  Importers of Chilean wine grapes are reporting a high quality, healthy crop for this season. Anticipated arrival time to New Jersey will be late April for white grapes and early May for red grapes. So, whether you are interested in a classic Cabernet or Malbec, or your wine tastes lead to a special Bordeaux blend or Meritage-Style blend, you can create your own Chilean wine confident that the outcome will be as good, if not better than, those made south of the equator.

The Allure of Chilean Winemaking

As all good and great winemakers say: “Wine is all about the grapes you start with!” Herein is found the mystery of wine. Yes, there are numerous factors that go into making a great wine beyond the grapes themselves. But, the greatest winemakers know that all the knowledge, secret recipes, extensive care, proven processes, and quality control yield to the grapes used to make the wine. In the end, Chile’s wine grapes hold a mystery within that will pleasantly surprise anyone who undertakes their very own winemaking journey.

Please join us during our Chilean Winemaking Season: May 1st through June 15th 2014

Interested? Call us now at 732-851-6800 for information and reservations.