Granitic soils and their effects on Chilean Wine
Chilean wines made with grapes planted on granitic soils are present mostly from Santiago, south to the Bío Bío Region, in the area of the Coastal Mountain Range. The vines are found in soils with distinct levels of decomposition, a factor that largely determines the effect on the wines that originate from these soils.
Chilean wines and Granite
To talk about granite, there’s something that needs to be made clear first. Granite is an igneous rock formed by an aggregate of crystals of different compositions, such as quartz, feldspar, and mica, that form very deep in the earth due to the cooling of liquid magma under extreme conditions. The decomposition of these rocks gives these areas granitic-sandy soils that have special conditions for planting grapevines destined for high-end wines.
In Chile we can find distinct types of granitic soils, with the three most representative among Chilean vineyards being: 1) Transported granite 2) Transported granite with high levels of evolution 3) Granite in situ.
Wines from transported granite soils are medium volume wines, with good weight on the palate, and well balanced. Wines from transported granite soils with high levels of evolution have greater structure, a broader and heavier feel in the mouth, and smooth tannins. And lastly, wines from granite soils in situ are fresh and vertical, with long, piercing tannins.
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Quality for Chilean wines
In general, wines made with grapes from vineyards planted on granitic soils are more austere on the nose, but also more elegant. On the palate the wines have a granular texture.
This type of soil is perfect for creating white wines, as it preserves the acidity very well, delivering mineral notes and very long on the palate. On the other hand, in red wines this acidity is transferred to fresher, lighter and more vibrant wines.
Wines made from grapes grown on granitic soils are present both in Chile and abroad.
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