Those who know me know my favorite things in the world are coffee, wine, and my husband, in that order. Just kidding! Or am I?
You will not see us write an article about Chilean coffee because it sucks. Sorry Chile, but instant coffee is not real coffee. In Chile’s defense we found a few good coffee shops that make real coffee, but for some reason Chile seems obsessed with Nescafe. I digress. Back to the good stuff – the wine.
We decided instead to write about how much fun we had wine tasting in Chile. While in Chile we had to try some of the amazing wines! Now we only went to three wineries and did two tours as our time was limited, but we would like to review them nonetheless.
Concha y Toro, Near Santiago
While staying in Santiago we had to visit Concha y Toro, one of the most famous Chilean wineries. A large part of their fame comes from being a cheap, and widely available, wine. Regardless, this was one of our favorite tours. They take you across the grounds, through the vineyards, by the family home, and into the famous “Casillero Del Diablo”, or Devil’s Cellar. You can read more about our Concha y Toro tour here as well as how to get there from Santiago.
We fully expected to drink cheap wine on this tour and we were pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed a Carmenere we tried at the end of the regular tour, and the wine and food pairings we sampled during the Marques de casa tour.
Casablanca Wine Valley
This valley is near Vina del Mar and Valpo. They are known for some excellent white wines and Pinot Noir. The climate here is perfect for white wines. The mornings are cold and a thick fog blankets the valley, and later burns off into the afternoon. They are known for some great Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. It is also an easy valley to tour. Most of the wineries sit off the side of the highway and it is about a 30 minute drive from Vina del Mar.
Indomita, in the Casablanca Valley sits high on a hilltop. The view is incredible. Once you arrive though, you realize this winery seems to be the stop of every tour group. We chose this winery for lunch as we read reviews that the food is great and the view is amazing. They were right! I had the conger eel and Dale ate short ribs. Again the food was awesome.
The only disappointment was that the wine was average. Also, the tasting we did was not informative or professional. To be fair we did not go on a tour of this winery. We were starving when we arrived. So perhaps the wine tasting with the tour is better.
If we did it all over again, we would have skipped the tasting and just enjoyed lunch and the view.
We did tour Veramonte and did the wine tasting that is paired with food. This by far is my favorite wine tour I’ve ever done. I grew up near Napa Valley and we toured wine country in Brazil (read about it here – and watch our video!), but Veramonte has left quite an impression on me. First, the estate is beautiful! They believe in sustainable farming practices. They work hard to keep a balance with nature by planting gardens nearby that protect the vineyards from insects and birds.
The main building is beautiful with floor to ceiling windows facing the vineyards. It has a modern look. They also have an excellent coffee shop inside. As I mentioned before, good coffee is hard to find in Chile, so this was a big perk! No pun intended.
The tour itself was informative. We were surprised to learn that Veramonte once owned Concha y Toro. This winery is also the farthest from the coast in the Casablanca valley so they are able to produce some great red wines. Our guide was professional and knowledgeable about the property and processes.
The tasting and food pairing was great! Our Sommelier spent a lot of time with us explaining the wines, discussing the smell and taste as well as the food pairings. She also had a wonderful sense of humor. We did the tasting with two other men from the United States and they were a lot of fun to talk to. It was a wonderful experience.
We wish we had more time in Chile to visit wineries, but three wineries over two separate days were all we had time for. There is so much to see and do in Chile! Veramonte obviously was our favorite of the three and Concha y Toro pleasantly surprised us.
If we had time to do it over again or if we return in the future we would like to visit the Curico valley. They specialize in red wines such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Syrah. That is more our style! They are a little south of Santiago and the environment is similar to the Mediterranean. Then perhaps we can rent a car and take the 4 hour drive to Mendoza in Argentina. I really hope I get to write about that trip and that I don’t end up with a hangover.