Sauvignon Blancs of Chile are delicious, aromatic and fresh. They are made with focus and attention to detail, offering incredible value for the price points offered. Now we all may think of Sancerre when we think of Sauvignon Blanc but I encourage you to taste the coastal Sauvignon Blancs from Chile and be prepared to be wowed and surprised.
Over the years Americans have become comfortable with the wines of Chile, well now it is time to get out of our comfort zone and experience the rich vibrant wine scene of Chile. No longer are the wines predictable and comfortable. The wines produced in the region are intensely rich in diversity and full of vitality and life. There is an unstoppable new generation at the helm of winemaking in Chile, and they are moving and shaking things up, creating a wine culture that is full of innovation and possibilities. Let’s begin by discovering and tasting the dynamic Sauvignon Blancs of Coastal Chile.
Sauvignon Blanc From Chile
This grape variety landed in Chile in the mid-19th century in 1841 from Bordeaux by Claudia Gabe. Sauvignon Blanc is Chiles’s second most widely planted grape variety with 37000 hectares, representing 40% of the white grape varieties produced. Since the 1990’s the quality has improved remarkably and steadily.
Sauvignon Blanc can be found in three regions of chile: coastal Sauvignon Blancs, inland Sauvignon Blancs(Central Valley & Andes Slopes), and southern Sauvignon Blancs(the deep south). Today we will explore and focus on the coastal Sauvignon Blancs from Chile, that are influenced by the Humboldt Current and the Coastal Mountain Range.
The Unique Terroir Of Chile’s Coastal Sauvignon Blancs
Coastal Chile Sauvignon Blanc is characterized by herbal notes of jalapeno and asparagus alongside citrus notes of lemon and lime. The wines boast bright zippy acidity due to the proximity to the coast. Chile’s Coastal terroir is marked by two elements that enhance the characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc and make these wines distinct and unique; The Humboldt Oceanic Current and The Coastal Range.
The Humboldt current creates a long ripening season for Sauvignon Blancs. The cooling buffer facilitates the gradual ripening of grapes and protects them from sudden peaks in temperature that you see in the Central Valley while retaining the fruitness and acidity in the grapes.
The Coastal Mountain Range with its unique terroir and soils also plays a major role in the wine. The soils consist of different granite batholiths and belong to the Jurassic period. These rocks of granite have a lot of iron and minerals that are now a patchwork of soils comprised of clay, quartz, and schists. The coastal range also provides a barrier to the cold air flowing in from the ocean. The coastal range is long and vast in its microclimates and terroir, so different regions along the coast can produce a variety of styles of Sauvignon Blanc.
Here Are 8 Sauvignon Blancs from Chile’s Coastal Range To Try Now
Pablo Morandé is a Casablanca Valley pioneer and the eponymous winery he founded has been making Sauvignon Blanc in Casablanca since the 1990s. The 2020 is pale yellow in the glass with a herbal nose that also features orange blossoms and lime aromas followed by a sharp, vibrant acidity in the mouth that is wrapped in a full-bodied mouthfeel.
Matetic uses grapes from their biodynamic vineyard in the Rosario Valley in Casablanca. EQ Coastal Sauvignon Blanc 2020 is the perfect expression of place and climate. It has aromas of grapefruit, a twist of papaya, and herbal notes. With vivid freshness and good concentration in the mouth, it has a saline feel that seasons the palate.
In the far west of the Casablanca Valley, in Las Dichas, Casas del Bosque has a vineyard planted on the slopes of the Cordillera de la Costa mountain range. Pale yellow in hue, the nose presents layers of grapefruit and passionfruit with hints of lime. Delivering good volume and offers fresh, crunchy acidity that enhances the herbal flavors at the back of the mouth.
This Sauvignon Blanc is made with grapes from a vineyard located in the Leyda Valley, on the western slopes of the Cordillera de la Costa mountain range. It’s pale yellow in the glass with a nose that offers notes of passion fruit and fresh pineapple with energetic hints of jalapeño. In the mouth. it’s vibrant with sharp acidity and a hint of minerality that underlines the voluminous palate achieved with the region’s characteristic ripeness.
Viña Koyle selects these grapes from a cool vineyard planted in the Leyda Valley five miles from the sea. This is a delicate wine with gentle notes of asparagus and hints of lime. There is bright acidity and a nice texture in the mouthfeel. The wine ends with a long and pleasant citrus finish.
Viña Garcés Silva tends a large vineyard in San Antonio, Leyda, in a landscape of hills and gullies that makes for a range of different soil types and sun exposures. The coastal character comes out in the greenish yellow color and intense nose of lime and herb aromas accompanied by hints of green chili and whiffs of orange blossom and pineapple. Concentrated in the mouth with a terse, almost creamy texture, the core delivers vibrant acidity.
Viña Ventisquero are pioneers in the exploration of the fresh, coastal climates of northern Chile. The vines are planted in the Huasco River Valley right in the middle of the Atacama Desert. There is a sharp, citrussy character on the wine with notes of green chili. Aged in foudre to enhance the saline texture & volume on the palate, this is a long-lasting, expressive white wine.
ViñaT abalí is based in the Limarí Valley. It takes its name from the mountain ridge in which it is planted: Talinay. The nose offers lime, flowers, and herbs with hints of gunpowder and a rich palate. The wine finishes with freshness and a layer of salinity that enhances the mineral characteristics of the wine.