Regions and soils: Maule

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Important wine region in Chile which includes the subregions of Talca, San Clemente, San Javier, Parral, Linares, and Cauquenes. According to official records, Maule’s total area of wine grapevines has remained static at 30,250 ha/74,7200 acres for years (although there are some doubts about the efficiency of filing vineyard statistics in this region of smallholders). Well to the south of Santiago, this is one of Chile’s cooler and cloudier regions, thanks to the Pacific influence, although it is hotter and drier than Bío-Bío to the south. The rustic pais vine variety used to dominate plantings, especially in the rain-fed areas, but Cabernet Sauvignon has been gaining ground. Vineyards in the rain-fed western areas often suffer from serious deficiencies of nutrients, especially nitrogen and to a lesser extent potassium. Thanks to new investment and viticultural practices, Maule is no longer seen solely as a source of bulk wine. Maule also has more carignan planted than any other valley, and the variety is now undergoing a revival among Chilean producers. The grapes from old vines in dry-farmed coastal zones provide the raw material for the VIGNO (Vignadores del Carignan/Carignan Vintners) group, an association that aims to promote this long-forgotten variety. The results have been spectacular.