As the country’s profile as a world class viticultural destination grows, a group of top shelf U.S. wine journalists is on their way to tour Chile. So which regions and vineyards are on the agenda?
Wine Enthusiast, Cooking Light, Santé, Snooth; their work appears in some of the industry’s most-read publications and esteemed wine magazines, and now they are coming to Chile to see for themselves why this nation wedged between the feet of the Andes and the shores of the Pacific is steadily building a reputation as the world’s foremost wine destination.
John Harding, Doug Paulding, Scott Jones, Gregory Dal Piaz and Laurie Daniel form the contingent of wine writers invited by Wines of Chile to tour the country from this weekend through the next, enough time to experience a selection of the country’s best wine regions and wines, alongside gourmet meals, tours and tastings at over a dozen leading vineyards.
The group will focus on the the valleys that lay scattered around Santiago, the vibrant metropolis that serves as Chile’s gateway to the world, and will travel as far as the Maule Valley, 150 miles south of the capital.
Shortly after touching down in Chile, they will be exposed to the best of the capital’s culinary scene, having lunch at Donde Augusto in the historic Mercardo Central – the bustling seafood market in the heart of downtown – and dinner at the upscale Italian pizzeria and wine bar, Tiramisú, in the high-powered financial district of Las Condes.
From there the team will head to the Maipo Valley – literally on the outskirts of the capital.
The valley stretches the length of this sliver of land, from Alto Maipo – nestled between Andean peaks – to Pacific Maipo, which catches sea breezes straight off the world’s biggest ocean.
El Principal, Concha y Toro and Santa Rita are the vineyards on the agenda for Maipo, where the group will sample the Cabernet Sauvignon that the region specializes in, and tour some of the country’s most historic wineries, before returning to Santiago to spend the night.
The following day will be spent at the country’s oldest wine growing region, the Maule Valley, which stretches around the city of Talca.
Maule has undergone something of a renaissance in recent ye
ars, thanks largely to the Camenere grape, and the emergence of a new breed of innovative winemakers, who are experimenting with new ways of creating environmentally friendly, and uniquely Chilean wines.
On the way down the group will stop in at the Koyle vineyard, in the Colchagua Valley – perhaps the country’s most prestigious wine region – before pushing on to VIA Wines and the J Bouchon vineyard, where they will spend the night.
The next day will the critics returning to the banks of the Colchagua, to sample the Cabernet, Carmenere, Syrah, and Malbec of Conosur, Apaltagua and Casa Silva, their final destination for the day.
Thursday will begin at Clos Apalta before the group travels to Matetic in San Antonio – the valley that divides Santiago from the port city of Valparaíso – to sample the crisp whites and spicy reds that thrive in this region, with its cooler temperature and ocean breezes.
De Martino in the Maipo Valley will kick off the last day of touring, before the group heads to the heights of San Esteban in the Aconcagua Valley, nestled at the base of the tallest mountain in the Americas.
After a hearty week full of vineyards, the group will bring their trip to a close with an opportunity to enjoy Chile’s acclaimed wines aside foodies at the Ñam Santiago Food & Wine Festival at the W Hotel. The festival combines high-end cuisine from chefs hailing from Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Spain, and Chile, with workshops, a tapas fair and endless tastings.