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Maule Valley Wine

Maule Valley is the largest wine-producing region in Chile other than the Central Valley, of which it is a part. It has 75,000 acres (30,000ha) under vine, and has traditionally been associated with quantity rather than quality. But this is rapidly changing – the bulk-producing Pais vine is gradually being replaced with more international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, and careful winemaking practices are being employed to make some world-class red wines from old-vine Carignan.

The Central Valley itself runs between the Andes and the Coastal Mountains from the Chilean capital of Santiago in the north to the up-and-coming region of Bio Bio in the south. The Maule Valley stretches for around 60 miles (100km), and the center of its wine production lies 180 miles (290km) south of Santiago at a latitude of 35°S. Maule is further south than the Central Valley's star regions of Maipo and Colchagua. The large amount of land covered by the Maule Valley DO (Denominación de Origen) means there is a multitude of terroirs, from low-lying river valleys to Andean hillsides.

The coat of arms of Maule

Maule Valley was one of the first areas in Chile to be planted to vine, and its viticultural history stretches back to the start of colonisation by the Spanish. The region has long been one of Chile's most successful bulk-production wine districts, as evidenced by the large amount of Pais still found planted here. It has only been in the past 20 years that Maule vignerons have made a move toward quality, pioneered by the Kendall-Jackson empire of California, which set up a winery here in the mid-1990s.

Despite this push toward modernity, some of Maule's better throwbacks have survived – the region is fast becoming known for some 70-year-old Carignan vines that are being used to produce soft, earthy red wines with rich plum and black-fruit characters. 

One of the more southern of Chile's wine-growing areas, Maule is slightly cooler than its northerly cousins and has higher annual rainfall, most of which occurs during winter. The intensity of the sunlight is high (as it is in much of Chile) and Maule enjoys warm days followed by much colder nights, extending the growing season and leading to a balance of ripeness and acidity in the grapes.

Temperature-moderating effects come from the Maule River, which flows east-west through the region on its way from the Andes to the Pacific Ocean. The river provides Maule with its alluvial soil types; these differ considerably throughout the region and include granite, red clay, loam and gravel. The soils are free-draining where the vineyards sit on the slopes of the surrounding hills, and are more fertile and high yielding on the valley floor along the banks of the river. Many of Maule's vineyards are dry-farmed to increase the intensity of the grapes – a vine that is starved of water will produce lower yields of highly concentrated grapes.

Viticultural know-how and the Chilean push toward quality winemaking have been a godsend for the Maule Valley wine industry, although the region is unlikely to rival the prestige of Maipo and Colchagua any time soon.

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Here are some wines produced in this region and all sub-regions, only the first 500 will be shown.
Wine Name
Palo Alto Reserva I Red Blend, Maule Valley, Chile Rare Red Blend $10 3094
Miguel Torres Cordillera Reserva Especial Carignan, Maule Valley, Chile Carignan (Carinena) $20 4395
Vina Calina Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $10 6827
Concha y Toro Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Maule Valley, Chile Sauvignon Blanc $18 8718
Papi Merlot Demi Sec, Maule Valley, Chile Merlot $6 8718
Terra Noble Reserva Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $13 10713
Concha y Toro Frontera Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $5 11200
Chilensis Reserva Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $8 11937
Carta Vieja Merlot, Loncomilla Valley, Chile Merlot $6 12538
Odfjell Orzada Carignan, Maule Valley, Chile Carignan (Carinena) $20 13971
Vina San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $17 15152
Alfasi Merlot, Maule Valley, Chile Merlot $10 15747
Vina Maipo Gran Devocion Cabernet Sauvignon - Shiraz, Maule Valley, Chile Cabernet Sauvignon - Syrah $17 19071
Chilensis Reserva Pinot Noir, Maule Valley, Chile Pinot Noir $10 20024
Papi Cabernet Sauvignon Demi Sec, Maule Valley, Chile Cabernet Sauvignon $6 20407
Carta Vieja Cabernet Sauvignon, Loncomilla Valley, Chile Cabernet Sauvignon $5 20481
San Pedro Castillo de Molina Reserva Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $11 22105
J. Bouchon Merlot, Maule Valley, Chile Merlot $10 23612
Oveja Negra Reserva Cabernet Franc - Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile N/A $10 24214
Tierra del Fuego Gran Reserva Syrah, Maule Valley, Chile Syrah $15 24767
Tierra Merlot, Maule Valley, Chile Merlot $8 24885
Casas Patronales Carmenere, Maule Valley, Chile Carmenere $8 25100
Palo Alto Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Maule Valley, Chile Sauvignon Blanc $11 26069
Carta Vieja Chardonnay, Loncomilla Valley, Chile Chardonnay $5 26206
Santa Loreto Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley, Chile Cabernet Sauvignon $34 27049
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