*Guest post by Maddie Monroe
At a recent event hosted by Chile’s foremost winemakers, Montes Wines, I learned quite a few things about why this country is the next big place for wine.
Winemaker Aurelio Montes Jr. spoke engagingly about the care and commitment he and the entire Montes community feel towards this time-honoured craft. “Winemaking,” said Aurelio, “is a passion, a lifestyle, a family. But, above all, it is fun!”
Here are some of the things I learned about Chile’s “ultra premium” winery:
- Due to its long, narrow shape and geographic location, Chile has 4 distinct weather regions: dry in the North, mountainous and cool in the East, a freezing ocean to the West, and a temperate area of water reservoirs in the South. The rich soil, mixed by the ocean breeze which warms at it rushes over the Andes, allows for a stunningly diverse range of grapes. From sauvignon blanc to carmenère, to malbec and pinot noir!
- Chile has a very lengthy dry season. In order to protect the grapes and save water, Montes has pushed the vines’ roots deep into the ground so they can survive only with natural winter rainfall; without artificial irrigation. This process is called “dry farming,” and saves 840 million litres of water a year! That’s the water supply for 20,000 people!
- Montes is all about good energy – the winery is even Feng Shui’d, and Gregorian chants are played to the wines so that the grapes can age in a peaceful environment!
- Montes Wines offers some very tasty beverages. My personal favourites are the Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc and the 2012 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon. The white is zesty, aromatic, and fruity, while the red is round and creamy.
Montes Wines are available at the LCBO. Prices range from $19.95 – $89.00.