by Fred McMillin
for April 6, 1998

Make Mine Maule (mouw-lay)


Viticulturally speaking, California and Chile are similar. Both have central north-south valleys 35 degrees latitude from the equator that are cooled by Pacific air flows.

...Marc Dorman, "Wine Enthusiast"

Chile vies for world leadership in the production of attractive, early-drinking wines not over $10. Nearly all of the 120 Chilean wines we tasted qualified as Best Buys.

...Thomas Matthews, "Wine Spectator"

The Maule viticultural region, a three-hour drive south of Santiago, ranks among the best in Chile. Its key artery is the Maule River, originating in the Andes and emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

...Harm De Blij, "Wine Regions of the Southern Hemisphere"

The Rest of the Story

Here's one of those easy-drinking Maule bargains:
1996 Chardonnay, Maule Valley, Chile
Piduco Creek Winery
Sole USA Importer—Parliament Wine Co., N.J.
Phone—1 (800) PARLIAMENT
Price—$6 to $7
Rating—If you enjoy Chardonnays in this price range, don't miss this one.


The first Chardonnay vines were brought from France to Chile some 150 years ago. Thirty years later phylloxera attacked the French vineyards, which had to be replanted on resistant American rootstock. However, the insect has never reached Chile. So, ironically, the South American country grows its Chardonnay on the descendants of original French rootstock, while France doesn't.


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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