The expansion of viable Chilean wine regions in recent decades has revealed several suitable appellations (In Chile the term is denominacion de origen, or DO) for Pinot Noir. This finicky grape requires a cool climate along with good air flow to minimize disease pressure; Chile’s unique geography delivers both in a number of spots. Here’s a quick look at the most notable DO’s, moving from north to south.
In the Coquimbo region, both the Elqui and Limarí Valleys enjoy lots of sunlight throughout the year, which promotes consistent ripening. Of equal importance, their proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Humboldt Current that flows just offshore provides the necessary cooling influence that yields good balancing acidity.
Due west of the country’s capital, Santiago, are the Casablanca and San Antonio Valleys. The former runs east-west and therefore sees cool, foggy conditions many mornings. The latter runs north-south but is close enough to the ocean to benefit from cool breezes. Very promising Chilean Pinot Noirs can be found from both DO’s.
Chile’s southern region includes two more Pinot-friendly appellations, Bio-Bio and Malleco. These and the other DO’s mentioned above have seen a growing number of producers delivering crisp, fresh versions. Pinot Noir from Chile typically offers the varietal’s trademark elegance and fine drinkability, complete with ripe red fruit, earthy tones and food-friendly acidity. Try Chilean Pinot Noir wines from producers like Viña Leyda, Santa Carolina, Casas del Bosque and Hacienda Araucano.