Loma Larga wine tasting. Cold-climate wines from Chili

Ah, Chili! How long has this country been on my to-visit list? Very long. Still dreaming about travelling one day to this dream destination. In the mean while I will contend myself with a glass of Chilean wine.

Chili has a long history of wine-making, dating back to the 16th century when the Spanish brought vines into the country. A few centuries later the French introduced the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties, exactly the ones I like to sip now.

I recently was invited to a wine tasting evening of Chilean Loma Larga wines. Loma Larga means 'long hill mountain'. I like to drink wine but I don't pretend to know a lot about it. One thing I do know is that the more sunshine, the more the grape can produce sweet juice. So the longer the hill, the more sunshine? Oh, wait they also call these wines cold-climate wines. Less sunshine then? 

When we talk about warm climate wines, we think of wines that grow in regions like Australia, Argentina, Southern Spain and Portugal, ... places where it never really gets cold. However, wine is also produced in colder climates. Like the long stretched Chili. They get warm temperatures in the summer but the temperature drops quickly in autumn when the harvesting takes place. Those grapes get enough sun to ripen but it goes slower than in warm climates. Because of that and the quick drop in temperature at the end of the ripening, they preserve their acidity and create a more complex flavour. Two characteristics that make wine perfect to go with food. 

No cold-climate wine tasting then without food! We were spoiled with the cooking skills of foodblogger Florence Atlas who perfectly paired the wines we tasted with Latin American food.

We started with a ceviche, raw fish marinated in lime and lemon juice that was accompanied by a Lomas del Valle Sauvignon Blanc, an intense and fresh wine full of citrus aromas, grapefruit and orange blossom. The Loma Larga Chardonnay 2012 that followed had a strong body of peach and pear flavours with brioche notes and worked perfectly with a yummy empanada. All this while the sun was setting over Antwerp harbour, what a great view it was. 
A hummus and salad interval worked wonders with the strawberry and herbal flavoured Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir wine. The main course was a meaty one, grilled steak with chimichurri sauce and was fabulously complemented with an intense fruity Loma Larga Merlot, dark berries with an elegant finish. We ended the evening with a chocolate dessert and a deep red 'Rapsodia' 2011 full with spices and berry flavours.

Now I even want to go more to Chili. Let's see what 2016 will bring...

The wines we tasted that evening were presented by Koen Maenhout from LartduVin, all in the great company of Bart, Alexia, Stefanie, Nathalie, Jens and Lisa! 

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