Chile’s central valley named as wine region to see in 2012

Colchagua Valley offers more than just its famed Syrah and Cabernet, with a myriad of outdoor and cultural activities just a day’s drive from Santiago.  

Chile’s Colchagua Valley has once again been endorsed by the Wine Enthusiast magazine as one of the world’s top ten wine destinations for 2012.
Home to more than 30 wineries and famous for its red varietals, the valley begins at the foothills of the Andean mountain range and stretches the width of the country to the Pacific Ocean. And at around 100 miles (160 km) south of Santiago, it is an accessible day-trip from the capital.
In giving out the accolade, Wine Enthusiast described the valley as “an oasis of rural calm with just enough sophistication to whet the wine traveler’s appetite.”
In addition to its world-class Syrahs and Cabernets, the publication lauds the region’s range of outdoor activities that make it an ideal weekend retreat, from heli-skiing to horseback riding, mountain climbing to fly-fishing.
Culture buffs will also appreciate the Museo de Colchagua in Santa Cruz, which offers an intriguing insight into Chile’s indigenous Mapuche people, the Spanish conquistadors and even the Chilean adventures of the great Charles Darwin.
The Colchagua is no stranger to international acclaim, taking out top spot in the same award in 2005 – although apparently no-one told U.S. magazine Sherman’s Travel, which named the valley as the second best overlooked wine destination on earth in 2011.
But although this most recent accolade will give the Colchagua bragging rights over its regional competitors, wine aficionados would do well to look into the diverse range of grape-growing regions that Chile has to offer.
Reflecting the many climates of this geographically exceptional country, the diverse regions, each with their own specialities and idiosyncrasies, account for the strength and wide range of  Chilean wine.
That diversity was recognized by the nation’s local wine authorities in last week’s 9th Annual Wines of Chile Awards, with 11 of the 17 trophies handed to wineries from cooler regions of country, including Limarí, Elqui, San Antonio, Casablanca and Bío Bío.
The top prize was given to Viña Tamaya’s Winemaker’s Selection Syrah 2010 from Limarí, while two other Syrahs also took home trophies: Viña Mayu in the Elqui Valley and the Cono Sur Limarí Syrah.
For more on the 2012 wine awards click here.