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New Customers Save $30 off $100+* with code AUGNEW30
New Customers Save $30* with code AUGNEW30
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In 1996, the Chadwicks entered into a partnership with the Robert Mondavi family, which presented an ideal opportunity for us to realize our global vision of winemaking centered on an exchange of cultures and winemaking philosophies.
"We saw the same potential in Chile that we saw in Napa Valley 30 years ago," said R. Michael Mondavi, President and CEO of Robert Mondavi. "But most importantly, with Caliterra we saw people who are dedicated to producing wines that belong in the company of the greatest wines in the world."
Caliterra quickly evolved into a true working partnership. In the vineyards, viticulturists Pedro Izquierdo of Chile and Andy Bledsoe of California work together on all aspects of winegrowing, including planning new vineyard sites, managing existing vineyards and harvesting the grapes at their peak. They concentrate their efforts on finding the best vineyard sources for each variety.
In 1998, Caliterra crushed its first vintage at La Arboleda, a new, state-of-the-art winery located in the Colchagua Valley. Colchagua, which is located within the Valle Central appellation, is quickly becoming one of Chile's premiere regions for red varieties. Looking ahead, Caliterra will continue to explore the potential of Chilean wines as newer vineyards develop. The partners also plan to build a visitors center.
A source of reliable, budget-friendly wines and, increasingly, more premium bottlings, Chile is one of South America’s most important wine-producing countries. Long and thin, it is largely isolated geographically, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Andes Mountains to the east, and the Atacama desert to the north. These natural borders gave Chile the very favorable benefit of being the only country to avoid the disastrous phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s. As a result, vines can be planted on their own rootstock rather than grafted. Though viticulture was introduced to the country by conquistadors from Spain, today Chile’s wine production is most influenced by the French, who emigrated here in large numbers to escape the blight of phylloxera. These settlers have invested heavily in local vineyards and wineries.
Chile’s vineyards, planted mainly with international varieties, vary widely in climate and soil type from north to south. The Coquimbo region in the far north contains the Elqui and Limari Valleys, where minimal rainfall and intense sunlight are offset by chilly breezes from the Humboldt current to produce cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Aconcagua region contains the eponymous Aconcagua Valley—hot and dry and home to full-bodied red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot—as well as Casablanca Valley and San Antonio Valley, which focus on light-bodied Pinot Noir and cool-climate whites like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The Central Valley is home to the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó, and Maule Valleys, which produce a wide variety of red and white wines. Maipo in particular is known for Carmenère, Chile’s unofficial signature grape. In the up-and-coming southern regions of Bio Bio and Itata, excellent cool-climate Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir are made.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.