Viña Ventisquero Grey Glacier Sauvignon Blanc Valle de Atacama, Longomilla Vineyard 2019

Pale gold color; lime, chili peppers, minerals, saline on the nose; lemon-lime, grapefruit, citrus, pineapple, saline on the palate.

Viña Ventisquero Grey Glacier Sauvignon Blanc Valle de Atacama, Longomilla Vineyard 2019

Dry; tart acidity (3.34 pH). Tartness and saline are prominent in this wine, so it may be bit too severe from some palates, but it certainly qualifies as a distinctive wine and one that will pair very well with specific foods. Sauvignon blanc sometimes is called “a salad in a glass.” This is citrus in a glass, with emphasis on lemon-lime, grapefruit, saline and minerality. The vineyard is some 19 miles from the Pacific, which delivers the classic “Camanchaca”—a dense fog which regulates temperatures and humidity. The fog and mineral-dense soils also contribute to the saline notes.

The vineyard is in the Huasco Valley, a gateway to the Atacama desert, the driest place on earth. It has not rained in the Atacama for more than 50 years. This wine conveys some of the austereness of its desert environment. The wine also presents an intense freshness. This is a tense, challenging wine and a fascinating introduction to wine from a place you never imagined could produce wine. Irrigation and those moisture-rich fogs make it possible. Elevation also delivers wanted diurnal shift, a significant asset.

Wine aged in foudres—large wooden vats holding more than 260 gallons—for 11 months. The process imparts some oak elements, but mostly adds texture and softens the wine. Somewhat. This remains a tart, sharp wine experience. Grey Glacier wines strive to give a complete expression of single blocks of wines. Viña Ventisquero produces wines from Patagonia—the southernmost part of Chile—to the Atacama—the northernmost part of Chile. The winery states it wants to reflect the diversity of Chilean terroir.

Vina Ventisquero winery

Ventisquero has imagined and made ground-breaking wines since 1998. The effort is dream of Chilean businessman Gonzalo Vial. The “Ventisquero” name pays homage to the glaciers of Chilean Patagonia. The winey’s motto, “Challenging Spirit”, reflects the adventurous nature of the enterprise. In 2020, Viña Ventisquero became “Ventisquero Wine Estates”, a conglomerate that exports 1.5 million cases of Chilean wine around the world. It is the first winery to receive the “Certified Sustainable Wine of Chile” seal with certification of 100% of its vineyards.

Vina Ventisquero winery tasting room and vineyard

Viña Ventisquero Grey Glacier Sauvignon Blanc Valle de Atacama, Longomilla Vineyard 2019 is a distinctive version of sauvignon blanc. Tartness, lemon-lime, grapefruit, saline entertain the palate in surprising ways. Made in the Atacama Desert, the driest place on Earth—it has not rained in the vineyard in more than 50 years—fogs from the nearby Pacific Ocean and irrigation allow for quality viticulture in a surprising location. Pair with shellfish; fish; boiled shrimp; vegetarian fare. Cheese—goal cheeses are classic sauv blanc pairings; muenster, gouda. $18-22

Vina Ventisquero website

Link to panorama photo of Vina Ventisquero tasting room

Vina Ventisquero fermentation and barrel aging
Vina Ventisquero grapes and mission statement
Vina Ventisquero barrel aging