Casablanca, Colchagua & Maipo
Chile is an agricultural paradise and their wine countries produces wine found on tables all over the world. Wine Country is made up of several areas throughout the region, mostly situated among picturesque central valleys. Our favorite months to visit are in March and April, when the grape harvests take place and you can languish extended lunches and tastings under the sun. That said, many of Chile’s tasting rooms are architectural marvels and being inside offers an equal wow.
Only an hour west of Santiago on the road to Valparaiso, Casablanca is easily reached on a day trip and the perfect destination for crisp coastal whites. Though the sauvignon blancs are the widely regarded as the best in Chile, the Syrah and Pinot Noir also benefit from the sea breeze, heavy morning fog and salty sea air. The boutique wineries of Bodegas Re and Veramonte are well-worth a visit either in combination with a day on the coast or in combination with Casas del Bosque or Emiliana to make a full day in the valley.
The Colchagua Valley is 2-2.5 hours south of Santiago with sprawling vineyard estates centered around the small town of Santa Cruz. Experience and taste award-winning wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Syrah, and Malbec. In fact, most of the world’s Carménère comes directly from Colchagua Valley. Though traditional tasting formats abound, consider a carriage ride through the vineyards at Viu Manenet or blending your own bottle at Montes. Don a poncho and descend into Lapostolle’s subterranean tasting room to learn about gravity’s roll in creating Clos Apalta’s wines. Lunch at legendary Chef, Francis Mallmann’s Fuegos de Apalta, is a love letter to food cooked over open flame.
A true destination for anyone with an interest in wine, we highly recommend spending two nights here at the end of your trip to take advantage of a relaxing departure day, perhaps even visiting the Maipo valley en route to the airport.
Maipo and Santa Rita
Maipo and the Santa Rita valleys are a stone’s throw south of Santiago. Gravel terraces combined with warm days and cool nights produce some of the country’s best Cabernet and Cabernet blends. You’ll find many of the Chile’s most iconic and widely distributed names here including Concha y Toro, Santa Rita and Undurraga along with a handful of boutique wineries.