Take a look at some of Chile's most exciting winemaking regions and get recipes to pair with the wines that are being made there.
Vineyards surround Chile's capital, Santiago, as though they're laying siege. In the 19th century, Santiago elites moved into the valley around Santiago to try their hand at the life of landed gentlemen. They planted vineyards and built immodest estates. Today, the city has swallowed up these estates so that they seem to rise up out of the suburbs.
The Maipo Valley lies between the towering Andes and the more modest Coastal Mountains, which keep the summer days sunny and bright. Some of the best vineyards are planted at elevations above 2,000 feet along the granite foothills of the Andes; here the temperature plummets at night helping to build rich, complex, balanced wines.
Some vintners blend juice from grapes taken from across the Maipo Valley, deriving all the benefits of different climate and soil conditions from various parts of the valley. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the major red and white grapes grown in the Maipo Valley. Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc are big performers, too. Many of the most familiar Chilean wineries are based in the Maipo Valley.