Great Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Casablanca Valley
While best known for its full-bodied reds, Chile is producing some sophisticated, terroir-driven white wines, some of the best of which are based on the sauvignon blanc grape variety; winemakers from Casablanca are leading the charge. We have pulled our review of wines from this grape variety from our new AG Wine for Chile upgrade.
First planted in the early 1980s, the Casablanca (ka-sa-BLAHN-ka) Valley sits northwest of Santiago along a dry area of Pacific coastline on the western side of the Coastal Range. Only 18 kilometers / 11 miles from the coast, Casablanca is well known as one of Chile’s premier cool-climate regions, as its growing conditions are directly impacted by the sea. Heavy, cool fog enters in the evening and does not burn off until early afternoon, adding to the region’s already cool temperatures.
Although varied, soils are comprised of clay over a decomposed granite base in the flat areas and granite pebbles and sand on the hills. Further, since no major rivers run through Casablanca, the loose quality of the ancient soils allows vines to penetrate and establish deep root systems, which affords the resulting wines greater subtlety.
Casablanca can be informally divided into three sub-areas, all of which experience varying exposure to the sea’s influence:
- Lower Casablanca sits on the lowest lying land in the far west of the region. The center of Casablanca’s production, it has the greatest exposure to ocean winds and is therefore the coolest. To draw a distinction: the region is less impacted by the sea’s temperature-stabilizing effects than neighboring San Antonio — another exceptional region for cool-climate style wines — so it experiences greater daily swings in temperature (slightly warmer days and slightly cooler nights).
- Upper Casablanca sits at the highest elevation on the eastern edge of the region. The least impacted by the sea, it gets the greatest amount of sunshine and experiences the widest daily fluctuations in temperature.
- Central Casablanca has a mix of the conditions experienced in the Upper and Lower sub-areas.
Casablanca has built a reputation for attractively-priced whites that are simple, fruity, and crisp, perfect for everyday consumption.
However, more recently, there is a new class of white wines emerging that is serious and very high quality. Further, they continue to hit attractive price points, making them tremendous values.For the absolute best wines in this elite category, go with those based on sauvignon blanc, some of the best in Chile.
AG Wine for Chile’s wines is now available! AG Wine now supports Chile’s wines, profiling all of the country’s winemaking regions, grape varieties, appellations, and vintages. Best of all: It’s a FREE upgrade for existing AG Wine App owners!