Mind your Latitude: 38° South


We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present:  38 degrees South!

Malleco Valley: Located 540 kilometers (340 miles) south of Santiago, the Malleco Valley was once considered the southernmost outpost of Chilean viticulture. The area is known for its cool, almost marginal climate and (quite unlike the northern reaches of Chile) high rainfall—which often total 1,100 mm (44 inches) a year. The region’s volcanic soils—containing red clay and sand—provide reasonably good drainage, which is essential considering the area’s impressive rainfall. Malleco Valley Plantings focus on cool-climate varieties including Pinot Noir, País, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Viña Aquitania planted some of the first vinifera vines in the Malleco Valley back in 1995, using them to produce both still and sparkling wines under their “Sol de Sol” brand.

Chapadmalal GI: Regulations concerning commercial vineyard plantings in Argentina were somewhat loosened in the 1990s, and in the years that followed some producers began to venture beyond the boundaries of the typical Andes-influenced wine regions the country is known for. As such, some producers have begun planting vines in the province of Buenos Aires. These vineyards, which include those planted in Médanos and Sierra de la Ventana, are planted mainly to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The Chapadmalal GI—located near the coast and about 200 miles (320 km) south of the city of Buenos Aires—contains the easternmost vineyards in the country. The area, approved as a geographical indication in 2014, has a primarily maritime climate and receives much more rainfall than most of Argentina’s established wine regions.

Mornington Peninsula: Located on a narrow, hook-shaped strip of land between Port Philip’s Bay and the Bass Strait, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is one the coolest-climate wine regions in Australia. Surrounded by water on three sides, the region experiences a truly maritime climate, abundant sunshine, and a long growing season. This is a relatively young wine region, with significant commercial viticulture dating back only from the 1970s. Pinot Noir is the leading grape variety, followed by Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. Cool-climate versions of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are made as well. Situated a mere 45 miles/70 km from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a popular weekend destination for wine lovers as well as those interested in the region’s growing number of cideries, breweries, and distilleries. For everyone else, there’s always the beach!

Gisborne: Gisborne is located on the east side of New Zealand’s North Island. Many of Gisborne’s vineyards are located in the valley of the Waipaoa River and in the foothills of the surrounding mountains. Gisborne benefits from abundant sunshine—provided via the rain shadow of these mountains—as well as the cooling breezes from the nearby sea. The area is largely planted to white grapes; Chardonnay is the leading variety—followed by Pinot Gris. Sauvignon Blanc is relegated to minor status here, and small amounts of Gewurztraminer and Merlot are grown as well. As befits the area’s palate of grape varieties, Gisborne is often referred to as the “Chardonnay capital of New Zealand.”

References/for more information:

Click here if you’d like to check out the rest of our “Mind Your Latitude” series. 

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

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