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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

North, south , east and west

Hi all - currently I'm in Chile as a guest of a wine marketing company Brandabout, with journalist Paul O'Doherty. We arrived here last Thursday 10th June and are in Valparaiso at present. I will have a few posts shortly about the various tastings we've had so far but I thought a brief post about Chile might be useful.
If you've ever taken a WSET course you'll have been told that Chile has a near-perfect climate for grapegrowing and that there is no phylloxera due the fact that the country is bounded to the north by the Atacama desert, to the south by Antarctic tundra, to the east by the Andes and to the west by the Pacific. Most people then assume that as Chile is a long country then the further north you go the warmer it is and the further south you go the colder it is.
While this is essentially true it turns out that the main climate determinant is not the north-south axis but the east-west one. Why? Well, the Pacific is a very cold body of water and the Andes are snow-capped all year round. As a consequence, vineyards close to either are cooler than those halfway between them. So, in a  valey such as Maipo, vines grown in the Alto Maipo, under the Andean foothills have a cooler mesoclimate than those in the middle Maipo, near Isla de Maipo for example.
One of the trendy new valleys is Limari which produces some lovely cool-climate fruit yet it's quite far to the north of Santiago i.e. closer to the warmer, northern desert! Further south is Maule, where Chile is at its widest. Vines grown in the central Maule have a warm to hot mesoclimate due to the continental effect of their location.
So, just when you thought you understood that latitude made all the difference in terms of climates it turns out, that in Chileat least, it's longitude that matters.
Bye for now.

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