MAYCAS del LIMARI, Limari Valley

The Limari Valley, 470 km north of Santiago is both an old and new wine region.  Vines were first planted in the mid-16th century, but new technology has led terroir-hunting winemakers to take a fresh look at this curious territory.  It's a semi-arid (less than 4” rainfall per year) coastal region, defined by morning fog, marine influences, and a remarkable luminosity — indeed, several of the world’s largest Observatories are here.  There are no coastal mountains in this small area.  The Pacific Ocean’s cooling ‘Camanchaca’ fog creeps into the valley from the west each morning, and retreats as the sun rises over the Andes bathing the vines in pure light in the afternoon.  The calcium-rich soil creates fresh wines with distinct minerality.  60% of the region’s GDP is based on mining, predominantly copper.

In 2005 Concha y Toro purchased the Francisco de Aguirre winery and vineyards, creating a new and exciting project — Viña Maycas del Limarí.  There are less than 2,000 ha of vineyards in the entire valley (from 93 ha in 1995), and Maycas is one of only 3 actual wineries, due to scarce water rights.  Through careful mapping of 265 ha of estate vineyard, Maycas has planted varieties best suited to the terroir, focusing on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.  The harvest is done by hand.

Maycas del Limari’s labels pay tribute to the Inca civilization that once dominated the Limarí Valley, lured by its minerals & precious stones.  Today, these same soils are defining new character for Chilean wine.