Cool climate wines have lighter bodies. The whites tend to be crisp, very fresh, with floral and citrus notes. The reds are considered elegant and with fine tannins, with aromas of red fruit and herbal or floral notes.
In cool climates, winemakers look for strains with thin skin and a low level of sugar accumulation. Most of them are white varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, but also some reds like Pinot Noir or Syrah.
Strains growing in cool climate regions mature despite the weakness of sunlight and cooler temperatures. Their skins have to allow the maximum amount of sunlight to penetrate the grape and accumulate sugar. The tannins and the color come from the skins of the grape. The thinner they are, the lower the potential for tannin and color.
Example of cool climate region
Fresh weather is generally determined by latitude, but may also be the result of elevation, as in the case of some experimental Andean vineyards that rise more than 1,000 meters above sea level. In these cases, the unique climatic conditions, as a result of a combination of latitude, elevation, wind patterns, etc., are called “microclimates”. The colder regions usually have lower annual temperatures and more seasonal cloudiness.
In Chile, the coast is influenced by the cold Humboldt Current. The Pacific sea breezes join the hot air masses of the coast and form low clouds and mists that penetrate to the valley, diminishing and softening the temperatures in summer (the Mediterranean summer has higher temperatures).
In the north of the country we have the coastal Limarí Valley, known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. In the central area is the famous Casablanca Valley. The climate there is Mediterranean, with very marked seasons, but with morning fogs that cool its temperatures. I remind you that this valley is the Chilean capital of white wines. From there come great wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and some reds.
Another denomination of origin of cool climate is Leyda Valley, with very similar conditions to Casablanca, but the vineyards are placed even closer to the sea. It is a favorable region for white strains such as Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The winter is less cold than in Casablanca and the sea breeze is more intense, therefore, its whites are very fresh and vibrant, such as Marques de Casa Concha Sauvignon Blanc.