There’s no country in the world that remotely resembles Chile. A long, impossibly slender index finger pointing half the length of the South American continent, from Peru to Patagonia, it consists of  4,000 miles of Pacific coastline, extending no more than 221 miles inland before running into the Andes mountains. The topography ranges from the world’s driest desert (The Atacama, parts of which haven’t seen rain in 500 years) in the north to the glaciers, ice floes and inverted waterfalls in the south, terminating at Cape Horn, only 600 miles from Antarctica. These quite singular environmental circumstances have birthed some of the most crucial crops in human history; potatoes and tomatoes, however you pronounce them, originate here. And while wine was invented elsewhere, it’s not surprising Chile has become one of South America’s most significant producers, responsible for an impressive diversity of styles grown across all this variegated terroir. 

     Chile’s perch between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes creates a massive air conditioner effect - sucking cool ocean air inland, which helps moderate vineyard temperatures, which can reach scorching levels during the daytime hours. As a result, despite latitudes that are the Southern hemisphere equivalent of southern Spain and North Africa, Chile generally experiences a much more temperate climate, closer to California or Boudreaux. The water, the mountains, and the deserts constitute natural barriers ensuring Chilean vineyards relative isolation from the rest of the winemaking world; phylloxera never made it past them, so  many of the country’s oldest vines remain ungrafted. The first wine grapes, including Pais (aka Listan Prieto aka Mission grape), were planted by Spanish missionaries in the mid-1500s. Eventually, colonial Chilean wine became world renowned as a cheap export wine in the 17th and 18th centuries. After Chile gained its independence from Spain in 1818, things started to change: in 1851, the first French varietal vines were planted in Chile when rich landowning Chileans had traveled to France and wanted to bring back what they had experienced. The French were equally excited by the prospects of Chile’s ideal climate and soils for fine wines and invested in the region early on. Their influence shaped Chile’s wine market towards a focus on Bordeaux varieties like Merlot and Cabernet, primarily for export. Then in the 1990s, French ampelographist Jean Boursiquot discovered that much of the country’s Merlot was actually a nearly extinct grape called Carménère.  Chile suddenly had a varietal to call it’s own, since its almost impossible to find Carménère wines in France today.  

     Today, Chile has 3 major wines regions: the Colchagua Valley, the Maipo Valley and the Elqui Valley. Each has 3 unique growing zones: The Costas (cooler coastal regions), Entre Cordilleras (warm inland valleys) and Los Andes (exposed mountainous areas). The coastal regions are best suited for cool climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc grows well here too - the  Chilean variation is highly aromatic with zippy acidity, which is why we selected one for this month’s club.  What makes this wine unique is the contrast between its fruit notes of white peach and pink grapefruit by intense green, herbal notes of lemongrass, green pea, and freshly wetted concrete. The high elevation Andes create wines with more structure (tannin and acidity) and this leads to intriguing Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The inland valleys are warmest and known for their soft and supple Bordeaux Blends. Our red selection this month hails from the latter two; appropriately it is a blend of old-vine Carignan and Bordeaux varietals.  


The PlumpJack Wine Team

P. S. Garcia Facundo 2014

Region / Country of Origin: Maule Valley, Itata, and Colchagua, Chile

About the winemaker: Felipe started P.S. Garcia in 2006. After working for larger wineries, he made his first independent wine as a declaration of what he considers true “Chilean” wine. Inspired at first by old-vine Carignan from Maule, he since have started two of Chile’s most influential small producer movements today: MOVI (Movement of Independent Vintners) and VIGNO (Vignadores de Carignan).

About the winemaking: Facundo is the wine that started Felipe's independent winemaking career. It blends old-vine Carignan with Bordeaux varieties from the heart of Chile (the Carignan and Cabernet Franc are from old vines in Maule Valley, the Cabernet Sauvignon is from Itata, and Petit Verdot is from Colchagua). The vineyards are naturally low yielding from granitic soils. The components are vinified, separated, aged for 28 months in third and fourth use French neutral oak, then filtered lightly before bottling. 30% Carignan, 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc

Tasting Notes:  Bright yet brooding. Up front, it is all fresh and expressive red berries. Then, on the palate, you find touches of herbs and cocoa. It finishes with bright cherry and vivacity.

Winemaker: Felipe Garcia

$26 bottle /$280.80 case

Suggested Food Pairing:

Grilled lamb with mushrooms, 

Beef stew,

Pasta with meat sauce,

Slow-cooked short ribs.

Laberinto Cenizas Sauvignon Blanc Valle del Maule 2022

Region / Country of Origin: Colbún, Maule Valley, Chile

About the Winemaker: As one of ten children, Rafael Tirado has long been prepared to navigate his way through life.. Over the course of his decades long career, he has made wine around the world, managed several mid-sized Chilean wineries, many of which are exported to the USA, and has become one of the most sought after wine consultants in Chile. Rafa purchased land in the Eastern Maule Valley in the front range of the Chilean Andes and planted his first

estate vines in 1993 on volcanic ash over granite. He currently has five parcels totaling 18ha of vines. His vineyards are legally recognized to be located within the Colbun DO and currently is the only estate producer in the DO. Much of his vineyard is planted in various orientations, some of which are planted in the shape of a labyrinth. Rafael built a small gravity fed winery and a geothermal barrel and bottle room on the property, and currently produces estate wines under the Laberinto and Vistalago labels. We believe these wines to be some of

the most classical expressions of terroir in all of Chile, and Rafael Tirado to be a beacon of Artisan Chilean Wine.

About the winemaking: This hand harvested, single vineyard, 100% estate Sauvignon Blanc is from organically farmed vines that Rafael Tirado planted himself in 1993. The grapes were macerated in the press for 4 to 6 hours at 11°C. Before pressed and then into alcoholic fermentation. The Sauvignon Blanc is fermented in 100% stainless steel which leads to a very juicy and refreshing wine.

Tasting Notes: This Sauv Blanc has a bright nose with guava, passion fruit, and lemon leading to a mineral mid-palate and soft undertones of crushed rock. The volcanic ash from the vineyard adds to this minerality and sustained finish.

Winemaker: Rafael Tirado

$24 bottle / $259.20 case

Suggested Food Pairing: 


Avocado salad, 

Grilled prawns with asparagus, 

Thai food

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