Which wine producing country below has escaped the ravages of the phylloxera vine pest to this day? (If you’ve been watching our #TasteWithKaren LIVE virtual tastings, you’ll know this one.)
C. New Zealand
Although phylloxera ultimately ravaged vineyards in most wine-producing countries, Chile has never been affected. The country exists in near perfect seclusion. On the west is the Pacific Ocean; on the east, the massive Andes Mountains; to the north, the Atacama Desert; and to the south, about 400 miles (640 kilometers) across the water, frozen masses of Antarctic ice. Within these formidable natural boundaries exists an almost Eden-like environment for grapes and other crops. The Spanish settled Chile in the 16th century, bringing with them the grape variety called listán prieto (later called país, and also known as mission in the U.S.). Because of its pristine isolation, Chile has pais grape vines that today are hundreds of years old. Many of these very very old vines were grafted over to Bordeaux varieties in the mid-19th century. Rich Chilean landowners and mining barons who had begun building wine estates imported cuttings from Bordeaux in the decades just prior to phylloxera arriving in France. Today, some of the oldest malbec and carmenère vineyards can be found in Chile.