The Maipo River valley, located in Chile’s central region, between the Andes and the Coastal Range bordering the Pacific Ocean, is noted for its long-standing wine-producing tradition and has been recognized widely for the quality of its red wines. Significantly, this valley lies within the outskirts and infrastructure of Santiago. Proximity to Chile’s main ports, Valparaìso and San Antonio ensures easy international shipping of the wine.
The influence of the Andes Mountains on the wines of Viña El Principal S.A. is quite distinct. The Alpine winds regulate the day-and night temperatures; in the summer, the temperatures can oscillate between 20°C within a 24 hour period. This temperature range allows the grape to ripen more slowly. As a result, the grapes are more intense in flavour, the polyphenols are tighter and the tannins are stronger. In the higher elevations of the Maipo River Valley, the soils are relatively poor. This is especially true for those areas near the mountains, where the soil depth barely reaches 60cm. These hills are clear clay, interspersed with lime sediments, stone and gravel.
The waters of the Maipo River and the mountain streams are rich in trace minerals like iron and sulphates. This fertile combination of mineral-rich water and clear clay soil lends a particular character to the wines of the area. Moreover, the vineyards of this region resemble a mosaic of soil types, due to the varieties of water as well as the differing basin- and gravel-cone collections. Geologic variations are very pronounced at different elevations. In the Piedmont, the foot of the mountain ranges, the soils are generally thin and rocky, whereas deeper soil levels can be found on the terraces.
The deep soils on the flats are formed by age-old collections of silt from mountain streams and are the most fertile. The diverse topography of the Maipo River Valley makes its more elevated regions ideal for the production of red wines. For decades, the finest, most expressive Chilean red wines have been produced here.
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