ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I have seen several references to the term "Maipo." Is this a region, or does it have references to flavor/taste?

—Joel, Marlborough, Conn.

Dear Joel,

The Maipo (pronounced "MY-po") Valley is a region in Chile, located just south of the capital city of Santiago. It's known mostly for its Cabernet Sauvignon- and Carmenère-based wines.

The Maipo region's character usually reveals itself in loam and mint notes, thanks to the prevailing cool breezes that move down off the Andes and to the valley's poor, alluvial soils. If someone refers to a wine as being "very Maipo-like," "Maipo-rific" or "Maipo-tastic," that's probably what they mean.

For more information on Chile's wine regions and to see a map, read James Molesworth's ABCs of Chile.

—Dr. Vinny


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