This valley was for years included along with the Colchagua Valley, but the split came when differences between climate and topography became too distinct to ignore. The Alto Cachapoal near the Andes produces world-class cabernet sauvignon with a freshness and natural elegance derived from its alluvial, infertile soils and cool breezes. To the west, carmenère has thrived, achieving a perfect maturity. Other grapes that are producing interesting results are viognier, syrah, merlot, and cabernet franc. In addition to wine, the Cachapoal Valley is home to a couple of fascinating attractions such as one of the oldest haciendas in Chile, the deepest copper mine in the world, and an old-world spa modeled after Vichy. Tip: The drive from the Pan-American Highway (Rte. 5) up to Termas de Cauquenes along the "Copper Highway" is one of my favorite drives in Chile for its utterly spectacular Andean views.
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