Leyda Valley is a small sub-area of the San Antonio Valley, a wine-producing sub-region, part of the bigger Aconcagua wine region. The Leyda Valley is located 90km to the west of Santiago and it is right on the Pacific Ocean. This cool-climate region experiences the effects of the Humboldt Current and consequently produces vibrant and fresh wines. The Leyda Valley wine region produces excellent examples of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
All You Need to Know About Leyda Valley Wine Region
Leyda Valley Highlights
The Leyda Valley wine region has long been related with the production of wheat and barley. However, in the 1990s, the first vine rows were planted by winegrowers, who discovered an almost perfect terroir. Wine production in the Leyda Valley rapidly gained reputation, first in Chile and then from enthusiasts from all over the world.
Indeed, in 2002 the Leyda Valley wine region received an official DO status by the Chile Appellation System. This DO is mainly direct at the preservation of the region’s signature grape, the Sauvignon Blanc. Vineyards of Sauvignon Blanc cover at least 45% of the planted area of the Leyda Valley.
Climate and Soil
The Leyda Valley wine region is right on the coast of Chile and is touched by the gentle and cooling breeze of the Pacific Ocean. This provides moderate temperatures in the morning that rise as the sunrays touch the area, but the influence of the ocean keeps the temperatures cool. This mild climate helps the grapes to fully ripen, develop a certain complexity, and keeping a good level of acidity.
The soils of the Leyda Valley wine region are mostly made up of clay and loam, with a granite base that helps the draining of water. These soils are great for the growth of premium grapes that can adapt to low-fertile terroirs. The grapes are smaller but have all their juices more concentrated.
Red: Pinot Noir, Syrah
White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
Style of Wines from the Leyda Valley
The Leyda Valley production consists of a very limited varieties, also due to the low fertility of the soil. Sauvignon Blanc is the premium grape from the Leyda wine region. The yellowish pale colour of the wine doesn’t reflect its style and character. Leyda’s Sauvignon Blanc is dry, scores high in acidity and is very aromatic and citrusy on the nose. The smoothness and light-body of the wine makes it great with seafood and for a casual drink, also thanks to its aromas of tropical fruit, like passion fruit and pineapple on the palate.
The second most planted and acclaimed grape from the Leyda Valley wine region is Pinot Noir. This red variety possesses acid cherry and raspberry aromas, along with herbal notes, trademark of the Leyda Valley. Pinot Noir’s vibrant acidity tastes very fresh on the palate. Another red wine from the Leyda Valley wine region is Syrah, which is more intense compared to Pinot Noir. The wine ages in oak barrels and it showcases aromas of leather, spices, black pepper, and blackcurrant.
Located in the small village of Lo Abarca, between the Leyda Valley and the San Antonio Valley, Viña Casa Marin is the first female-owned winery of Chile. The winery owns 41 hectares of vineyards, all of which are on steep slopes overlooking the ocean. Here, the grapes take advantage of great climatic and terroir conditions and grow to their full best.
The Casa Museo Vicente Huidobro is located in the coastal city of Cartagena and is dedicated to the poet Vicente Huidobro. The house was inherited by the poet from his mother and he used it to spend his summer holidays.
The collection of the museum has a cultural and artistic importance for Chile and for the international community. Manuscripts, first editions, pictures, original documents, and various memorabilia from Vicente Huidobro are all showcased in the museum.
Museo de Historia Natural e Histórico de San Antonio – Come Take a Fun Science Lesson
The Museum of Natural History and History of San Antonio was first born to collect and put together all the archaeological and naturalistic finds that were discovered near the city of San Antonio. The museum was built in 1980 and it has a magnificent window overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the port of San Antonio, the most important in Chile.
Today, the museum is entirely dedicated to the biodiversity that lives in the natural areas around the city, such as in the Maipo Wetlands. A section of the museum is dedicated to geology and it explains why Chile is hit by such devastating earthquakes.
Nature to Discover in the Leyda Valley
Parque Humedal Río Maipo – Prepared to be Amazed by Biodiversity
The Wetland Park of the Maipo River is located between the cities of San Antonio and Santo Domingo, on the coast of Chile. It was established in 2002 and it covers an area of 33 hectares. The objective was to create an institution that is able to protect this important biodiverse area and at the same time keep it accessible to the public.
The park offers many services to the visitors, so they can experience the wetland to its fullest and learn about local flora and fauna. Several viewpoints are available throughout the park to catch from above the beauty of the landscape and do some birdwatching with one of the expert guides.
The Maipo wetlands are an extremely diverse and active ecosystem. In here, the wetlands are touched by the Pacific Ocean and act as a ‘kidney’ for the environment, thanks to their ability to purify waters.
Food to Try in the Leyda Valley Wine Region
Caldillo de Congrio – Poetic Food
Cadillo de congrio is a traditional Chilean fish dish, made with cask-eel, either red or pink. The recipe is easy, and it basically consists of boiling together the fish heads, peppers, carrots, onions, and coriander to make the broth. Once the broth is ready, the rest of the fish is put into it and it is ready to be served.
The famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote an ode to the Caldillo de congrio.