Wine Tasting in Chile

After waking up to pouring rain in ValPo on day 2 we decided to skip further sight seeing and art gazing and head out into wine country. We decided to visit Casas del Bosque winery in the Casablanca Valley and Monte in the Colchagua Valley. The former is known for its whites due to its cool, foggy climate and the latter for deep, full bodied reds. Entonces, something for everyone!

Tell any wine snob you’ve never heard of Chilean wines and I guarantee you’ll have them clutching their pearls. These days Chilean wines even have their own section in most grocery stores (liquor stores if one is reading this from MA). With father still making wines (read: vinegar) in his basement laboratory and the rest of the family enjoying the taste of wine we decided to go to the source and see what all the hype was about!

Winery 1: Casas del Bosque

Located in the Casablanca Valley, just outside of Santiago, Casas del Bosque is a beautiful and modern ‘family boutique’ winery. We had a lovely tour and subsequent wine tasting with everyone’s favorite being the Gran Bosque (a rich cabernet sauvignon) itself.

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After that lovely visit we meandered southward in our trusty truck to the quaint little town of Santa Cruz. We stayed the night in an adorable hostel called Bella Vista that welcomed mother with 3 playful dogs to coo at and a roaring fire for the rest of us. We spent some time in town, waiting for a restaurant to open, which naturally meant we got to explore a grocery store, father’s favorite past time.

At 7, Vino Bello opened and we were treated to some truly spectacular Italian food which, of course, paired nicely with our Chilean wine choices.

Winery 2: Montes

Most of the wineries in the Colchagua Valley are located in an area called Apalta which ironically enough actually means, “poor soil.” Especially since in 2005, Wine Enthusiast named it the “World’s Best Wine Region.” The tour of the Montes winery was really quite fancy. We started in a truck that took us through the vineyards (and showed off their llama pets) and then proceeded into the main building which looked like a Frank Lloyd Wright creation. The production rooms were all metal and edges and there was a modern tang in the air. They even have a special tank created to simulate gravity flow which wines and vines describes as, “the grape processing area on the winery building roof and a unique stainless steel tank mounted on an elevator allow grapes, must and wine to be moved by the force of gravity, not pumps.” It was all very modern but juxtaposed by a heavy zen influence. Many walls were painted red as the color of strength and the barrel room was filled with the sound of Gregorian chanting, pumped in through speakers mounted all throughout the ancient cellar.
The tasting overlooked the barrel room and we had a lovely variety of whites and reds, with the chardonnay being the favorite of the whites and the spicy malbec coming in first for reds.

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Here’s a quick tip our guide shared with us at the end: don’t bother buying your wine in Chile. Turns out Costco is a main buyer of the Montes wines and it’s actually cheaper to buy them at Costco. So, really, unless you happen to be in the area don’t bother making a special trip to Chile to buy yourself some top quality wines.

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