This year, instead of donning one’s newly acquired dress or suit, new shoes, and matching accessories—perhaps including a proper bonnet—those who celebrate Easter will not head to church to gather and worship, but instead will be at home with only their immediate family, or even alone. These are times of safety first, stay in place, and quiet contemplation.
The first vines brought to Chile came via Spanish Conquistadors as early as the 1500s. Immigrants from Europe would bring more varieties to Chile, especially from Bordeaux in the 1800s. As of 2020, 70 percent of Chilean wine production is exported.
This past week, we welcomed the winter solstice, which is the official start of winter and the shortest day, with the least number of sunlight hours, of the year. In the words of Edith Sitwell, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: It is the time for home.” The only thing missing from Miss Sitwell’s wintery quote is the wine to pair with said good food.
Originally, there were six noble grapes identified: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot for the reds; and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling for the whites. “Noble grapes” is a term that was coined to describe international grape varieties that were the most recognized for the top-quality wine they produce.
We start our quick tour of Spain with a stop in Ribera del Duero, which is in the country’s northern plateau. Red wines from this region are made from the grape Tempranillo.