Only two hours from Santiago lies Colchagua Valley; Chile’s paradise of red wine. The long and hot summers, cooling mountain breezes and moderate spring rains produce the ideal growing conditions for stressing vines and petite grapes. The wineries are particularly known for producing Carménère, a bold red wine whose grape variety was first mistaken for Merlot when it was discovered in Chile.

It is actually one of the six original red varieties from Bordeaux, France but due to an outbreak of phylloxera in 1867, the grape was thought to be extinct as the climate in France didn’t allow for many vines to regrow and reproduce. However, the Carménère survived in Chile due to the country’s natural barriers, its strict agriculture laws and the temperate conditions in the Central Valley. Chile recognized the variety in 1998 and quickly became the world’s top producer of this distinctive, full-bodied and peppery wine.

With vineyards everywhere you turn, this populated valley may be difficult to navigate. Here are 10 wineries that you can’t miss. If you can’t get to Chile anytime soon, these vineyards export the majority of their wines internationally, so scope out your local wine stores for these labels and possibly discover a new favorite bottle for wine Wednesdays.

Featured in USA TODAY – 10 Best

10 Must-Visit Vineyards Around Chile’s Colchagua Valley

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Author: Jillian Dara

Read Full Story: http://www.10best.com/interests/college-life/chile/santiago/10-must-visit-vineyards-around-chiles-colchagua-valley/

Connie Poblete Cofounder & Experience Designer Colchagua Wine Tours

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