Viña Falernia is located in the Elqui Valley between La Serena and Vicuña, 520 km (323 miles) to the north of Santiago and it is at present Chile's northernmost wine estate.
The soils in our vineyards are composed partly of rubble which has eroded from the Andes mountains and deposited by glaciers and wind, and partly of alluvial sand and silt deposited by the river. While stony, gravely soils are regarded as poor for most crops, their excellent drainage qualities make them perfect for wine growing. The climate is semi-arid (average annual rainfall is 80-100 mm) making drip irrigation indispensable during the spring and summer months.
Climatic factors have a crucial influence on the quality and flavour of wine. With the majestic Andes as a backdrop, their peaks gleaming white all through the summer, the vineyards benefit from currents of cold air which descend from the high mountains at night. They cool the vineyards, causing a dramatic contrast between day and night time temperatures during the ripening season, from 27-32°C (80.6-89.6°F) to 10-12°C (50-53.6°F). This has the result of reducing respiration via the leaches and thereby furthering the accumulation of sugar in the grapes as well as the synthesis of polyphenols (tannins and coloring matter) along with the aroma and flavour substance.
Learn More About Carmenere
Carmenère is yet another grape that was eventually exiled from the
blend. In the late 1800's, Carmenère was brought over to
from France, and it never turned back. For a while, Chilean growers thought
this grape was Merlot
and labeled their wines as such. But in the early nineties, thanks to DNA testing,
vineyards were revisited and the grapes correctly labeled, and Carmenère was
discovered to be the backbone of many Chilean wines.
You can still find plantings of Carmenère in France, as well as a few other
wine growing regions, but you'll find most bottlings of this variety in Chile.
With Carmenère, Chileans are producing wines with good, plumy fruit, like Merlot,
and firm structure, similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape kicks in a heady
dose of pepper and spice, which helps distinguish it from other varietals in
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Chile
Common Descriptors: plum, spice, black fruit, rustic
Learn More About Chile, South America
Long and thin, Chile has a lot of land north to south. The wine region here is a series of districts based near Santiago. The vineyards are protected by the Pacific on the west and the Andes mountains on the east. This could help explain why the climate changes more from east to west than north to south – also why the country has remained phylloxera free. Quite a few wineries in Chile were founded by large French wine companies. Seeing the potential of the country, vineyards were bought and planted by these French folks and the results tell of a smart investment. Some of these wineries include: Los Vascos, Casa Lapostolle and Cousino Macul.
And while the inspiration may have been French, but the wines here are quite Chilean.
The main regions of Chile include Maipo (pronounced MY-poh), known for reds like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere; Casablanca Valley, a region producing delicious Sauvignon Blanc, as well as other whites & some
reds; Colchaugua, an inland district creating amazing red wines from Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly in the Apalta sub-region; and Rapel Valley, settled right under Maipo and producing the same red varietals. A couple of smaller regions to watch include Limari and Elqui, two valleys further north, producing some delicious cool-climate Chardonnay and Bio Bio, an area further south, which is also focused on cool-climate varieties. Chilean wines are growing in exports and more consumers are enjoying the delicious values coming from the country. Red wines of the region, though they cannot be generalized, make the whole gamut of wine quality – quaffable to collectible. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Carmenere are the main players, though Syrah is also making a splash. Some of the best reds are blends of the above varieties. As for whites, Sauvignon Blanc is typically crisp, herbal and racy, while Chardonnay is richer in style with full-bodied texture and tropical fruit flavors.
Complex nose and palate, smooth mouth feel, well balanced tannins. Incredible value
Hands down my favorite wine. Falernia is full of flavor from beginning to end but light weight all at the same time.
Really like this wine and this grape. I thought this was earthy, with hints of mushroom and pepper.
An absolutely wonderful wine that is so easy to drink on its own as well as with a variety of foods. I had it with some gourmet tomato soup that had a nice spice from Serrano peppers, a grilled Jarlsberg and Muenster cheese sandwich, and a spinach/apple/honey goat cheese salad and the wine was a perfect pairing with all three courses. Time to buy more!!
Paul Webber (12/27/2012)
Can't get enough Carmenere...great priced everyday wine with a green bell pepper characteristic.