The White Varietals of Chile


Sauvignon Blanc prefers the same cooler growing conditions conducive to the Pinot Noir. Of the 30,000 acres planted in Chile, most is grown in the Central Valley. The best Sauvignon Blancs come from Casablanca Valley though it also grows well in the Aconcagua sub-region as well as in the western, cooler areas of San Antonio and as far north as the Limari sub-region.

A popular stop during Chile tours, the Casablanca Valley is known for its Chardonnays. A total of 32,000 acres are planted in Chardonnay. People enjoy the mineral flavor of the Chardonnays produced in some areas of Chile that results from the soil content.
The country produces other white varietals, albeit in much smaller quantities. The medium to full-bodied Viognier is found growing in the Maipo Valley and the Colchagua sub-region of the Rapel Valley.

Chile has helped to resurrect this varietal from virtual extinction. To date, only 1,700 acres of Viognier have been planted, but the varietal is a relative newcomer to Chile. The Viognier acreage is likely to increase because Chile’s climate allows this low-yield, disease-prone variety to flourish, and its popularity is growing worldwide. About 800 acres of Moscatel de Alexandria, Riesling and Gewurtztraminer are grown in Chile’s southern wine region where the climate is cooler. Moscatel de Alexandria is one of the many Muscat varieties and is used to make sherry and raisins as well as being consumed as a table wine.

For wine lovers who travel to Chile, Southern Explorations offers an eleven-day Chile and Argentina Wine Adventure that visits seven wineries in Chile’s wine country, including the Casablanca Valley, a special treat for white wine lovers during their Chile tours. We also offer a variety of day-tours that include wine tastings for visitors to add to their Santiago tours, one of which visits the Casablanca and the San Antonio valleys, and four multi-day Chile wine tours that are not far from the capital, with winery accommodations and gourmet meals.