Chile Recs

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Jeff Loftus
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Chile Recs

#1 Post by Jeff Loftus » November 27th, 2018, 12:36 am

I’m starting to plan a trip to Chile with the wife. We are still debating which region to focus on, Patagonia or the North. Though we are leaning to towards Patagonia. We will also spend a few days for wine tourism, but I am getting a little overwelmed as the Central Valley is so large and spread out with quality producers.

I don’t know whether to just pick one or two sub regions and hope for the best. Or to actually search out the best winery experiences and our favorite producers. I’d really appreciate any recommendations or pleasant experiences anyone has had. Are there any sub valleys that are more geared for tourism than others? We are pretty flexible in our tastes for Chilean Wines, Cab, Carmenere, the blends, syrah, and Cab Sauv.

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Ethan Abraham
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Re: Chile Recs

#2 Post by Ethan Abraham » November 29th, 2018, 7:06 am

I can't really answer your exact Chile questions as we didn't go to Patagonia or the north, but we did have an excellent time in the Lake/Volcano (Puerto Varas/Puerto Montt) area with a side trip to Chiloe island. Visiting the penguins on Chiloe is really neat if you like penguins. Near Santiago we also loved Valparaiso and the coast.

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Re: Chile Recs

#3 Post by Rajesh P a r i k h » November 29th, 2018, 7:39 am

I just got back from a trip to Chile and loved it. We spent 4 nights in Patagonia and 3 nights in Santiago. Looking back on it I wish we spent at least another day in Patagonia because it was too windy to complete the base of the towers hike on our last day. As for wine regions, I can't be of much help but we did meet some people that really enjoyed biking through the vineyards.

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Re: Chile Recs

#4 Post by Ethan Abraham » November 29th, 2018, 8:06 am

Levi Dalton appears to be Instagram-ing a trip to Chile now, perhaps he'll report back on a wine board somewhere with his findings.

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Mark Y
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Re: Chile Recs

#5 Post by Mark Y » November 29th, 2018, 8:30 am

Interested in feedback as well.
Went 10 years ago and from memory the regions are hours apart driving so can’t really pick and choose.its be like picking a winery in Napa, one in Sonoma and one in SF area.
I think u need to go and focus on a region each day. Has that changed? Interested to know as I’m heading there next year for a few days before easter island and Antarctica.
Y.e.

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Re: Chile Recs

#6 Post by Jeff Loftus » February 18th, 2019, 10:23 am

OP here. After a bit of research, our plan of attack is to rent a car on arrival and drive to the Colchagua Valley for 2 days, which will be the mega-winery part of our wine tasting. I've booked tours at Clos Apalta and Montes, including a lunch at Francis Mallmann's restaurant at Montes. Our 2nd day there, will be the kick-off of the region's Wine Harvest Festival in Santa Cruz, so we will enjoy that. Then off to the Casablanca Valley for 3 days to visit the smaller producers. Day 3 will be staying on Casa Marin Vineyard surrounded the vines. Day 4 will be a non-drinking day trip to Isla Negra or Valparaiso. And Day 5 will be visiting Villard Fine Wines and Attilio & Mochi.

I'll return to post my thoughts in a few weeks when we get back.

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Re: Chile Recs

#7 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » February 18th, 2019, 1:16 pm

If you want all the down and dirty about biodynamics, Emiliana Winery is pretty interesting.
David Bueker - Rieslingfan

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Re: Chile Recs

#8 Post by bradkaplan » February 19th, 2019, 3:17 pm

Jeff, I've been spending some time on business in Santiago and did an overnight in Valparaiso, with a trip through Casablanca Valley on the way. Bodegas Re is worth a visit, nice personal tour, interesting wines - love the Re Velado (I brought a bottle home). Heard good things about Villard and Attilio & Mochi but didn't have time to visit. Valparaiso is a very cool town if you have any interest in street art especially. I stayed at WineBox, which is a combo hotel/underground winery, definitely recommend it. See further notes over on viewtopic.php?f=9&t=156874
www.ThirstySouth.com

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Re: Chile Recs

#9 Post by Jeff Loftus » March 13th, 2019, 4:25 pm

Day 1 Morning: We first visited the Clos Apalta Winery and did their standard Tour and Tasting. The facility and surroundings are beautiful and the tour was very professional, but pretty dry. A tasting of 3 wines including their icon Clos Apalta (Carmenere/Cab/Merlot - 5200 Cases) which retailed for about $150 at the winery. It drank well, but I would never pay that much, knowing how much Right Bankis out there for less $. The other wines from their Lapostolle label were good. Overall, I'd recommend the tour and tasting. Especially the experience in their amazing tasting room in the middle of their barrel room.

Day 1 Afternoon: We then drove about 3 minutes to Montes to do their tour and tasting. We did not do the premium tasting, but did one which was supposed to pour 1 of their premium wines. However, it looks like they recently changed that particular tasting as the "premium" that they poured was only a Montes Alpha. The wines were disappointing, and the tour matched. We did book an outside table on the terrace of Fuegos de Apalta, which is Francis Mallman's restaurant in Chile. The lunch experience made up for the sub-par winery visit. We both had an excellent porchetta and ordered a 2001 Montes Cab. Expensive but worth it.

Day 2: The Colchagua Valley was having their Annual Wine Festival and today was the kick-off. The festival and atmosphere around the square was fun, however I would never recommend anyone to visit specifically for this festival. I could write 5 paragraphs on how badly run and setup this was, so I'll stick to the most obvious. There were tents for over 20 wineries setup around the square, however, any wine that sold for over $15 was considered "premium" and had a small area dedicated for only these wines. 1) You had young kids pouring all the premium wines, meaning that they had no connection to the winery and no specific knowledge of the wines. On 2 occasions, they tried to pour the wrong wine 2)It was so crowded, the atmosphere around the premium wines was ruined. You had to fight to get a pour like a crowded bar. 3) The non-premium tents had few people around them and workers employed by that specific winery. So these were the people that should have poured and spoke about their own premium wines and it had an atmosphere fitting for drinking. 4) It was insanely expensive to drink the real premium wines and made no sense financially.

Day 3: Day from Hell. While driving from Santa Cruz to Lo Abarca, we got a flat. The spare inside the trunk was already flat. No one from Europcar was answering the phone, and when they did the service was horrendous. It actually took over 5 hours for them to tow us. Luckily we were only about 25 km from the Casa Marin Winery, so they dropped us off there. We ended up missing our tour and tasting at Casa Marin for that day. When we asked them to reschedule us for the next day, they gave the excuse that they had a huge group coming in and they couldn't help us. This was a little shocking for us, seeing that we spent about $200 on one of their vineyard villas for the night. We informed them throughout the day about our car troubles, so we didn't exactly stand them up. The cold greeting and flat out refusal for a tour and tasting the following day left us really confused. The next day when the Europcar dropped the new car off for us, we saw the "large group", and it looked like a tour group from one of the cruises.

Day 4: Beach day on the coast. We went to Isla Negra and Algarrobo. Flooded with Chilean tourists up and down the coast area. It was a good day to take in the atmosphere and laze on the beach. The water however is frigid and not possible to enter.

Day 5: The saving grace. Had 2 amazing visits to Villard Fine Wines and Attilio & Mochi in the Casablanca Valley. Villard is a family owned and run winery. The property is beautiful. The staff (Nicole) and winemaker Charlie were very welcoming. The tour was nice and the wines were outstanding. There Chardonnay was great and amazingly cheap. Their flagstaff estate grown Syrah was my favorite wine of the trip. Later in the day we drove to Attilio & Mochi. A husband and wife team running an upstart winery out of shipping containers. The experience we had with Angela was my favorite wine tourism experience ever. She was so welcoming and informative, and it was amazing to see this small scale process with one of the principal owners and winemakers. The both of them seemed truly passionate in their work. It was refreshing to see after so many frigid experiences with completely indifferent staff at wineries in Chile and South Africa this past month. Attilio & Mochi's wines are cool climate, but unfortunately for us, there production can't keep up with the demand, so a few of there releases were sold out. The wines we did taste were full of surprises and extremely well made, including a very low production and interesting grenache. I have a feeling their wines are going to take off in 5-10 years and become one of the boutique darlings.

Just our opinion, but from a tourism standpoint, we were highly disappointed with this Central Region in Chile. And I'm usually not that hard on the places where I go.
Last edited by Jeff Loftus on March 13th, 2019, 5:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Chile Recs

#10 Post by Mark Y » March 13th, 2019, 4:29 pm

Excellent. I have one day booked to visit Casablanca and skipping the rest (have been tho in prior trip)! Just do the saving grace day. Phew! :)

Thanks for the trip report!
Y.e.

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