The Maipo Valley wine region is one of the most important wine making regions of Chile. This region is situated just south of Chile’s capital city of Santiago, extending east to the Andes Mountains and west to the coast. The Maipo Valley is well known for producing some of the most prestigious Chilean wines, with the region often being referred to as the Bordeaux of South America. The most famous wine of the Maipo region is the Cabernet Sauvignon which is extremely rich and fruity. The Maipo Valley is the heart of viticulture in Chile as this is where the first vines in the country were planted in the 1540s.
The Maipo Valley has a rich history of winemaking and viticulture. Although the first Chilean vines were planted here during the 1540s, it was only in the 1800s that viticulture in the area began to boom. This growth in viticulture was a direct result of Chilean entrepreneurs who became wealthy through the mineral wealth in the country and who developed a passion for producing local wines.
The geographical location of the Maipo Valley means that it receives very little annual rainfall. The warm and dry climate can be challenging in terms of wine making and to counter this, technology is increasingly being used to bring consistently to the local wine making processes. Local viticulturalists use drip irrigation to help survive the long periods without any rainfall. Stainless steel tanks and oak barrels are used to control the fermentation process and to promote quality in ageing.
Maipo Valley wine region is home to over 2955 hectares of vineyards. More than half of these vineyards are dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends.
Maipo Valley soils are clay-based and extremely fertile. The nature of the soil and the terroir means that the wines produced are slightly less refined than those produced in other regions.
The sub regions of Maipo Valley wine region
The Maipo Valley is divided into the sub-regions of Alto Maipo, Central Maipo, and Pacific Maipo.
Alto Maipo sub-region can be found in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at altitudes of between 1300 and 2600 feet. The sub-region has a mountainous climate and extremely porous and rocky soil. These conditions place significant stress on the vines, which results in the production of famously bold and elegant Cabernet Sauvignon.
Central Maipo is located along the meandering Maipo River and is one of the oldest winemaking regions of Chile. This area was the first part of the Maipo Valley to be settled and where the first vines were planted. In Central Maipo, Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant varietal but more recently, winemakers in the region have also begun producing Carmenere wines.
Pacific Maipo sub-region is the youngest of the sub-regions in the Maipo Valley. This sub-region has only a few vineyards along the banks of the Maipo River. The grapes grown here benefit from the influence of the Pacific Ocean and the local alluvial soils. The red wines produced in the Pacific Maipo are refreshing, with natural acidity.
What to Taste in Maipo Valley
Internationally Acclaimed Chilean Wines
The Maipo Valley region is internationally recognised for its world-renowned red wines. The red wines produced in this region are full bodied with substantial ripe tannins. The Alto Maipo sub region is well known for red blends which are full bodied and similar to the Cabernet Sauvignon produced in the Napa Valley area. The red blends have notes of blackcurrant, fig, black cherries and baking spices. The Cabernet Sauvignon of the Maipo Valley has a high level of intensity and is packed full of flavour. The aromas of the wine are of fresh red fruits.
Red Varieties: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot, Malbec
WhiteVarieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Carmenere wines of the Maipo Valley have intense deep red color and flavors of ripe fruits and coffee. Carmenere has a wonderful expression with notes of plum, spices, and blackberries.
Although white wine is less commonly produced in the Maipo Valley, they are also some of the best in Chile. White grapes are grown along the coastal areas of the Maipo Valley. Sauvignon Blanc from the Maipo Valley has an easily recognisable straw yellow colour with greenish tints. The wine expresses the flavors are of pears with tropical fruits and green apples. The Chardonnay of this region is extremely refreshing to drink. This wine has notes of pineapple, oranges, lychees and fresh herbs.
Antiyal is a family-run winery that was established in 1996, starting with only 2 acres of vines to fulfill a family dream of winemaking. Today, Antiyal produces an average of 50 000 bottles of wine per year that are considered some of the best wines produced in Chile. The Antiyal Family Winery invites visitors to the estate to enjoy tours of the vineyards and the winery, wine tasting experiences, tastings with the winemaker, picnics in the vineyards, and a range of events.
The De Martino Winery and Estate have been producing wine for over four generations since 1934 in the Maipo Valley region of Chile. The wines of De Martino are well known locally and internationally for their purity, balance, and respect to the local land from which they come. These wines are produced using only sustainable practices and traditional vinification techniques. De Martino offers a range of tasting and tour options. At the estate, there is also a shop that sells all of the estate wines at excellent prices.
Santiago is one of Chile’s most diverse and vibrant cities that breathes life into all who visit. The best way to enjoy Santiago is to explore its many neighborhoods on foot. In many of the streets, one can find exciting attractions such as shops, art galleries, markets, restaurants, bars, cafes, and night clubs. The best way to truly experience Latino nightlife is to spend a night in the hip and famous Bellavista. Downtown Santiago gives one the true feeling of the city. It is also home to the famous Central Market which is filled with local delicacies. For nature lovers, the hills that surround the city provide the perfect getaway and breathtaking views of the city against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains.
Not only does Santiago offer visitors a range of attractions, it is also a hub for festivals and events that attract both local and domestic tourists throughout the year.
San Bernardo Cathedral
The San Bernardo Cathedral is one of the world’s most renowned catholic temples and is the seat of the Bishop of San Bernardo. This place of worship is located on the Plaza de Armas in San Bernardo in Santiago, Chile. The original cathedral was built in 1820 but has since been renovated as a result of damage caused by earthquakes. The new building was opened in 2000. The cathedral is open to the public for daily masses and viewing.
The San Bernardo Cathedral is the ideal place to learn the history of the Catholic religion and to find a moment of peace on a trip to the Maipo Valley.
Buin – Experience the Rich Culture and Heritage of Chile
The city of Buin is located near the capital of Santiago in the Maipo Valley region of Chile. Buin is a wonderful place to visit thanks to its unique character, history, and culture. Although Buin may not seem as popular as other tourist destinations in the Maipo Valley, it is truly a hidden gem that leaves all who visit in awe. Some of the must-see attractions in Buin are the Buin Zoo, the Costanera Centre, the Palacio de la Moneda, and Santa Lucia Hill.
The Land of Magnificent Mountains
The Maipo Valley is uniquely located and surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain ranges. Alongside the imposing Andes Mountains, runs the Maipo River, carving a beautiful path through the land. The natural landscape of the Maipo Valley provides the perfect landscape for outdoor lovers and explorers looking to experience the best of Chile’s natural beauty.
Laguna Aculeo – The Natural Lagoon of Aculeo
The Aculeo Lagoon is located close to the capital of Santiago. It is one of the region’s main ecological reserves, known for its natural beauty and biological diversity. Along the shores of the lagoon, there is a range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy including camping areas, restaurants, clubs, fishing areas, horseback riding, and picnic areas. For those who like water sports, the lagoon is popular for swimming, rowing, water skiing, kayaking, and windsurfing.
Along with its range of attractions, the Aculeo Lagoon is also popular for those looking to enjoy the freshest seafood along the Chilean coast. It is here that one can enjoy local delicacies such as eel soup and shrimp empanadas.
A visit to the lagoon is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Santiago and the perfect opportunity to recharge in perfect nature.
Buin Zoo – Where Entertainment and Education Meet
The Buin Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Buin not only as a traditional zoo but as a place where entertainment also meets education on all of the animal species that it houses. The Buin Zoo is home to over 2000 animals of 250 different species. These animals and their related attractions are organized by geographical region of the origin of the animals. Additional attractions inside the zoo include the Dinozoo, which takes visitors on a dinosaur safari with real sound and movement. There is also the Buin Marimo which is an exhibition incorporating live marine animals. The Buin Zoo is the perfect educational and entertainment experience for all visitors of all ages.
Cerro Manquehuito – Hike Your Way Through Santiago
The Cerro Manquehuito is a hiking and trekking path near the town of Santiago. The path is easy enough for all to enjoy while viewing local fauna and flora such as condors and beetles. The main attraction of the hike is the beautiful nature of the environment. It also provides one with the best views over the whole of Santiago. For those ready to take on the beautiful hike, it is recommended that you wear shoes with good grip to avoid slipping. As some of the path is over very high cliff edges with no fences, it is not advised to leave children unaccompanied on the walk. At the start of the walk there is a map detailing the route. Pack plenty of water and a hat and enjoy the day out!
Regional Chilean Cuisine at Its Best
The cuisine of the Maipo Valley is based on the freshness of the local ingredients and the agricultural crops in the region such as maize, quinoa, and potatoes. The delicious local foods paired with the excellent Maipo wines provide the perfect gastronomic experience for food and wine lovers.
Grilled Lamb – Chilean Lamb Cooked on an Open Fire
For a traditional experience in the Maipo Valley don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the experience of a lamb cooked over an open fire while chatting to the local people.
One of the most incredible Chilean food experiences is enjoying local lamb grilled in a metal cross on an open fire. In total, the cooking of the lamb takes approximately 4 hours. While the lamb is cooking, you can be like the locals and cook your own churrascas or kneaded bread on the grill close to the fire. Before the lamb is cooked, when it is killed, the blood of the lamb is collected in a bowl with salt, garlic, onion, and cilantro. Once the blood is coagulated it is cut into squares and served with wine.
Charquican – Local Traditional Stew
The name Charquican comes from the word charqui which refers to any smoked or dried meat.
Charquican is a traditional Chilean stew enjoyed in both the winter and the summer. The ingredients of the stew depend on the vegetables that are in season at the time that it is being cooked. The meats that can be used in Charquican include horse, beef, or even fish. Charquican is prepared by sautéing onions and meat and then adding squash, potatoes, salt, petter, oregano, cumin, paprika, and broth. Once the vegetables are soft, they are mashed with a fork and missed with corn, peas, and green beans. To serve the dish, a fried egg is added to the top. For the true taste of Chilean culture, tuck into a warm bowl of Charquican in any season.
Valdiviano – The Oldest Soup Recipe in Chile
Valdiviano is a local Chilean dish made with soup and charqui which is dried and salted meat. This delicious soup is considered by local Chileans to be the oldest soup in the country. It was traditionally made as a way to use leftover meat when there was no method of refrigeration. To prepare the dish, charqui meet is chopped along with oregano and cumin and added to a mixture of bread soaked in milk. This mixture then forms a paste to which broth and vegetables are added. Once the soup starts to boil it is flavoured with parsley and lemon juice. To end the dish an egg is added onto the top for additional taste. This delicious and comforting dish gives visitors the true taste of Chile and its gastronomic history.