Itata wine region
The Itata Valley is Chile’s oldest wine region, yet probably the least familiar to outsiders. It got its early start due to its unusually high rainfall – by Chilean standards, anyway. Vines could survive here without needing to be irrigated.
Of Chile’s fourteen or so wine regions today, only Bío Bío and Malleco are further south. They produce mainly white wine, while Itata, though definitely cool-climate, is warm enough to produce reds as well.
Its fortunes declined in the 19th century, when vast irrigated vineyards were created in hotter, dryer regions further north. The fragmented and steep Itata vineyards were hard to mechanise and were largely ignored by the new giant wine businesses. Many vineyards were turned into pine and eucalyptus plantations.
However, those that remain are now starting to be rediscovered. Most are planted with old, ungrafted bush vines on steep, granitic soils. Winemakers are being drawn to these ancient vineyards to produce exciting cool-climate wines, with lower alcohol and crisper acidity than is usual for Chile.
The international varieties that dominate the northern vineyards are not much found here. Instead these old vines are of traditional varieties like Carignan, Cinsault and Pais, with Muscat of Alexandria the main white.
Decanting Club wines from: Itata
Rogue Vine, Grand Itata Tinto
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