Wine Tasting In Chile
“I like on the table,when we’re speaking,
the light of a bottle of intelligent wine.” Pablo Neruda
Casablanca is a newer wine region between Valparaiso and Santiago. In the 1980s some entrepreneurs started drilling for water underground and the first vineyards were planted. The climate is good for grapes. Cold air from the nearby Pacific Ocean give the grapes a long ripening period.
The summers in Casablanca are warm but not hot, which is perfect for white wines. In the beginning, the wines in Casablanca were mainly white. Now Pinot Noir and Syrah are also doing very well here.
Our first winery at 10am was Loma Larga Vineyards. It is a Chilean boutique winery. Alejandra Guiterrez greeted us with a smile and was very knowledgeable about all things related to wine. This vineyard is a good place to taste red wine in an area that is famous for whites. The setting is beautiful with the vines growing among apple, avocado, almond trees and rose bushes.
We toured the production room, a modern facility with a steel walkway overlooking the tanks, and the barrel cellar.
The vineyard produces two lines, Lomas de Valle and Loma Larga, which ages in French oak casks.
The tasting took place indoors because it was a really cold morning. Breakfast is the most important wine tasting of the day. We bought wine. They have a warehouse in Napa, California and they deliver.
Our second winery was Kingston Vineyards. It is another boutique vineyard with a small but high quality group of wines.
It was closer to lunchtime and still very cold for spring.
We walked through their exquisite vineyards. By we I meant me and my stray dog.
The American Kingston family splits their time between the US and Chile. This vineyard was founded in the 1900’s by their ancestors as a dairy and cattle ranch. They began growing grapes in 1998. In the wine production room there are stainless steel tanks, French oak casks and concrete eggs.
The shape of the eggs allow for optimal circulation of the juice. I had never seen that before. A few other vineyards in the valley use them.
We then had a tasting and lunch in a small private room. It felt more like sitting and tasting their delicious wines with friends. Lora Kelley our guide was from the US and taught us a lot about the vineyard.
Kingston also has free shipping to the United States. We bought more wine.
Our last vineyard of the day was The Matetic Vineyards which are located in the Rosario Valley. This completely enclosed valley is perpendicular to the ocean and features ideal climatic and topographic conditions for both red and white wines.
The Matetic family emigrated from Croatia to Chile in the late nineteenth century. Chile has the largest Croatian community outside of Croatia. In 1999 they planted their first vineyards.
The winery now owns about 120 hectares of vineyards, all which are certified organic and biodynamic. They produced the first cool-climate Syrah in Chile, and with their success, other wineries began producing their own cool-climate Syrahs too.
In 2004, the Matetics constructed a state of the art winery.
The wine tasting was outside overlooking the beautiful vineyards. The wines were superb. It had warmed up by then. Tipsy and happy by the third vineyard, I could not remember this pleasant French guide’s name. They don’t deliver to the United States. We had brought wine travel pouches with us so we bought more wine.
We broke one of the cardinal rules of wine tasting that day, which is that evaluating the later wines will be difficult if you swallow the earlier ones. The alcohol you consume will cloud your judgment and your memory. A few weeks after we arrived home, bottles of wine started arriving. We did not remember buying that much.