Although it is considered New World, Chile has been growing wine since the 16th century, when the Spanish conquistadors brought vitis vinifera vines with them during their colonization of the region. About the mid-18th century, several French grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carmenère were also introduced to the region.
Chile’s five viticultural regions occupy an 800 mile stretch, in a country 2,700 miles long and 109 miles wide. The most common red grapes grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère – a grape originally from the Medoc region, but which has all but disappeared from Bordeaux since the phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th Century.
During the early 1980s, Chilean wineries modernized their production, bringing in stainless steel tanks for fermentation and oak barrels for aging. These were fast times, and the number of wineries grew from 12 in 1995 to over 70 in 2005. The increase in production was matched with wine exports as well, with Chile becoming the fifth largest exporter of wines, and the ninth largest producer in the world.
Join us as we talk with Andrea Leon, winemaker for Casa Lapostolle. Founded by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, her husband Cyril de Bournet and Don José Rabat Gorchs, Casa Lapostolle began as an effort to blend French expertise with Chilean terroir. Certified as Carbon Neutral for its recycling and renewable energy efforts, the winery practices biodynamic farming, and have been a leader in the “Green” movement in Chile.
For more information on Casa Lapostolle: www.casalapostolle.com
Sponsor: VinAssure, Wine Preservation System: www.vinassure.com
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