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Chilean Wine

Chile is an enormous country, with a hugely diverse geography and climate.  There is the Atacama Desert in the north, whereas the Patagonia south is full of ice fields.  Because of this, however, wine can only be made in the areas with a reasonably stable climate: the middle of the country.  In fact, wine has been produced in Chile for hundreds of years and 19th century Europe was particularly privy to wines from Chile. And, some 100 years later, Chile really gained international recognition for the fantastic quality of its wine.  It offered Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays, all of beautiful and gorgeous tastes and at prices that were only about a third of other international wines.

Climate and Geography
There are two main influences on the Chilean climate, being the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountain Range.  Because of this, the air is reasonably cool.  The Andes give a steady supply of irrigation water, making its way on to the sea through irrigation canals that were built by the Incas.  The majority of vineyards are found around the capital of Chile, Santiago, in the Central Valley.

Chilean Grapes
One thing that is really remarkable about the wines in Chile is that the grapes have never been touched by Phylloxera.  These louse killed off all the grapes in Europe in the 19th century, which means that the only original European grapes today can be found in Australia.  In the past 10 years, the louse diseases devastated the Californian vineyards as well.  However, traversing the Andes mountains has clearly been impossible.  It is believed that this is in part due to the fact that they are planted using ungrafted rootstock, which is very rare in viticulture.

Chile now produces a huge range of wines, including the more popular and better known international ones.  They also regularly experiment with creating different ones, with Pais being one of the best, if little heard of varieties.

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