The Maule Valley is one of Chile’s designated wine producing areas. It is located over 150 miles south of Chile’s capital city of Santiago, and is the southern part of a region called the Central Valley. This large region is one of the country’s oldest and most diverse wine growing areas, dating back to the original colonization of the area by the Spanish.
Vineyards in the Maule Valley are located between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes mountains, which provide cooling to the region, slowing down the ripening of grapes, allowing for retention of acidity and development of flavor. The valley has higher rainfall than other Chilean wine regions, and the Maule River provides some additional moistness to the area, but the vineyards are dry-farmed, therefore not irrigated. Not providing the vines with water, the vines have to develop deep roots to find ground water and this helps produce more concentrated, richer wines.
Due to its vast size, the Maule Valley has diverse soils and microclimates that allow both red and white grapes to be grown. The predominant soil types are rich, which means that grapes have ample nutrients, and large volumes of grapes can be produced for bulk wine production. However, since the 1990s, newer technologies and better viticultural knowledge have allowed winemakers to control vine vigor, leading to an improvement in the quality of the wines produced.
The Maule Valley is known for producing powerful wines, from Cabernet Sauvignon, and spicy wines, from Carménère. Other notable grapes from the region include Carignan, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Chardonnay.
This Saturday, January 16, 2021, City Vino will be pouring four wines from the Maule Valley in Chile, for your exploration of this region and its wines.
The first wine is the Inu Chardonnay Maule Valley Chile 2016. This wine is 100 percent Chardonnay, aged in stainless steel tanks, with aromas and flavors of grapefruit, lemon zest, lime zest, and pineapple, with a hint of minerality. This wine will pair with light meats and seafood dishes, salads, and a relaxing evening.
The second wine is the Las Casas De Vaqueria Corral A18 Reserva Carménère Maule Valley Chile 2019 which is 85 percent Carménère, and 15 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. Twice this past year, Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post listed this wine in his column including his recent end-of-year Top 20 Bargain Wines of 2020. This wine has notes of dark cherries, tobacco leaves, black olives, and spice. Dave suggests pairing this wine with grilled meats, and we also suggest earthy dishes with mushrooms, or chili.
The Oveja Negra Cabernet Franc Carmenere Reserva Estate Bottled Valle del Maule Chile 2019 is our next featured selection. This wine is 60 percent Cabernet Franc, blended with 40 percent Carménère. It has aromas and flavors of black and red fruits, along with touches of coffee, tobacco, and vanilla. Again, pair this wine with meats but don’t be afraid to include some spiciness to the dish.
Our final offering this week is the Inu Carménère Maule Valley Chile 2018, which is 100 percent Carménère. Expect some concentrated fruit flavors of both red and black fruit in this wine along with hints of black pepper, coffee, and oak.
Let us explore Maule Valley together. We will see you Saturday!