The Malleco Valley is the southernmost wine region of Chile. This region is located 540km south of the capital city of Santiago, in the Malleco province. As a result of the extremely rugged terrain of the region, growing grapes here is extremely challenging. Despite this, since 1994 the wine production in this region has been growing steadily using the small quantities of grapes produced. The wines of the Malleco region are described as crisp and refreshing and easy drinking for all who enjoy good wines.
The Malleco Valley wine region is located in the south of Chile. This wine region is known for producing smaller quantities of fresh, crisp, and refreshing wines. The climate of this wine region is much colder than in other wine regions of Chile. The weather conditions are by some considered extreme for winemaking, and this paired with the short growing season, makes growing grapes a challenge to winemakers in the area.
Terroir of Malleco Valley
The climatic conditions mean that only limited varietals of grapes are able to be grown in the region. Despite the cold weather, the vines are exposed to many more hours of sunlight than those planted in the northern regions of Chile. The nights are also dramatically cooler than the days, which means that the wines produced have a high level of acidity and freshness.
The soils of the Malleco Valley consists mainly of red clay and sandy soils that are volcanic and well-drained. This is essential because of the high levels of rainfall experienced in the region. As a result of the low levels of water retained in the soil, the vines have to work hard to find water. This means that their foliage uses less energy and that they produce low yields of grapes. The wines that are produced using these grapes have a high concentration of flavors and an excellent structure.
Red: Pinot Noir
White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
The Fresh and Crisp Wines of the Malleco Valley
As a result of the cool climate, Malleco Valley produces refreshing, crisp, and cool white wines from the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties.
Malleco Valley Chardonnay is bright yellow in color, with intense aromas of grapefruit and lemon. The wines have a soft butter texture on the palate, with an intensity that is enhanced by the excellent levels of acidity. When drinking, this wine has a characteristically intense finish. Sauvignon Blanc wines from this region have yellow and green tones. The wine has the aromas of citrus fruits with hints of green chili. When drunk, this wine has a great volume and good concentration with fresh and high acidity.
A smaller amount of Pinot Noir red wine is also produced in the region because Pinot Noir grapes are able to adapt well to cooler climates. These red wines are light-bodied and spicy, with a high level of acidity.
In recent times, the Malleco Valley wine region has begun producing small quantities of sparkling wines. Malleco sparkling wines are made using traditional methods, using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals. These grapes have an intense mineral and fruit bouquet which give the sparkling wines a powerful palate and a pleasant finish.
The Malleco Viaduct – One of the Engineering Wonders of Chile
The Malleco Viaduct is a local landmark in the Malleco Valley and is currently on the list to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This viaduct was opened in 1890 and was then the highest railroad bridge in the world. Today it is still considered as one of the largest metal engineering works in Chile. The bridge itself was built in France and when finished, was transported in sections either by ship and railroad. The sections were then assembled on the current site. In total, the bridge is 1200 ft long and 250 ft. Although that might not sound high, it is the equivalent of a 20-story building! The Malleco Viaduct is one of the main attractions of the region and should not be missed by all who visit.
Lumaco Town – The Hidden Gem of the Malleco Valley
Although Lumaco Town might not be on the itinerary of all trips to the Malleco Valley, it is a wonderful place to visit with plenty of Chilean charm. Lumaco Town is considered one of the most up and coming destinations in the Malleco Valley and is certainly worth a visit. This small town is home to the wonderful Lumaco Municipal Park. Other attractions in the town are the Nahuelbuta National Park and the Cerro Alta.
The Quaint Local Town of Ercilla
Ercilla is a small town and commune in the Malleco Valley within the Malleco Province of Chile. The name of the town is a tribute to the famous Chilean writer Alonso de Ercilla. The most popular attraction in Ercilla is the Tolhuaca National Park which is a haven for outdoor and nature lovers. Ercilla also offers a range of restaurants and accommodation facilities to suit the needs of any visitor to the Malleco Valley region.
The Awe-Inspiring Natural Beauty of the Malleco Valley
The Malleco Valley is known not only for its wine but for its incredible natural beauty. The small towns across the region are known for their charm and are the perfect escape for adventure lovers who enjoy camping, hiking, and skiing.
Conguillio National Park – Journey Back to Prehistoric Times
The Conguillio National Park is a national park in the Malleco Valley. This national park gives visitors access to breathtaking natural landscapes and sceneries and allows one to journey back into prehistoric times. Within the forests in the heart of the park there is still evidence of volcanic material that remains untouched and ancient. The national park extends over 60 000 hectares of land and is where the famous series ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ was filmed.
The Conguillio National Park is not only the perfect place to relax and experience the surroundings, but also welcomes visitors to participate in a number of sports including mountaineering, cycling, trekking and kayaking.
When in the park be sure to pay a visit to Mother Araucuria, the oldest tree in the park which is over 1800 years old.
Journey through the Las Raices Tunnel
The Las Raices Tunnel in the Malleco Valley is the longest of the tunnels that emerge from the Andes Mountains. It is also the second largest tunnel in South America. The Las Raices Tunnel is the connection between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is 4 528 meters long, at 1 010 meters above sea level. the tunnel only allows for one-way traffic which is control by a toll station where one needs to pay a fee of 400 pesos to enter. The original tunnel was built in 1939 and it is today one of the greatest things to see in the Malleco Valley. Drive or cycle through the Las Raices Tunnel for some of the best photo opportunities in Chile!
The Malalcahuello National Reserve
The Home of the Lonquimay Volcano
The Malalcahuello National Reserve is a magical interaction of forest landscapes and volcanic activity. Inside the reserve, the main attraction is the Lonquimay Volcano and the Navidad volcanic crater.
The Malalcahuello National Reserve was established in 1931 and covers 13 730 hectares of land. Although the reserve is relatively small compared to others in Chile, it has a vast range of fauna and flora, particularly along the slopes of the volcano in the native forests. For visitors to the park, there are a vast range of landscapes to enjoy including marshes, ravines, rivers and lagoons. These landscapes provide the perfect landscape for a range of activities including fishing, skiing, horseback riding, mountaineering and trekking.
Icalma Lake – The Glacial Lake of the Andes
Icalma Lake is a glacial lake located in the Andes Mountains of the Malleco Valley. On its shores is the Icalma hamlet that is home to a small local community. The total surface area of the lake is 890 hectares and is located at 1350 meters above sea level. Icalma lake and its surrounding shores are a wonderful playground for adventure and nature lovers of all ages. The activities which can be enjoyed at the land include horseback riding, mountain tours, fishing, sailing, picnicking, swimming and observing the wonderful flora and fauna. Along with these activities, around the lake, there is also a range of accommodation establishments for those looking for the perfect Malleco getaway.
The Cuisine of the Malleco Valley region
The Malleco Valley is known not only for its wines, but also for its wonderful local cuisine. The Gastronomy of the region is based on the freshest ingredients sourced from the land and paired perfectly with the local wines. This wine region is the perfect place to experience the best of South Chilean cuisine.
Chapalele – Simple and Delicious Chilean Bread
Chapalele is a local Chilean bread that is made using only flour and potatoes. Traditionally, this dish is steamed and cooked in a curanto, which is a hole in the ground where food is prepared. Today, Chapalele is cooked in various ways and can often be found baked, fried or pan fried. Across Chile, Chapalele can be enjoyed as a snack on its own or as an accompaniment to stews and other meat dishes. Chapalele is the perfect street food to enjoy and feel like a local Chilean.
Milcao – The Magic of the Humble Potato
Milcao is a traditional Chilean dish that is regularly enjoyed across the Malleco Valley. This dish is made of grated potatoes, mashed potatoes, lard and seasoning. The results are all combined and formed into a delicious potato pancake. For a truly traditional Milcao, only local Chilean potatoes should be used in the mixture.
Milcao are best known for being the most important side dish when eating the local dishes of reitimiento and curanto. The pancakes are served either fried, oven baked, boiled, steamed or even sweetened as a wonderful local dessert.
Share about Malleco Valley Wine Region:
Soil: Clay and sandy
Climate: Cool climate with a high level of rainfall