We are spending 4 days in the colchagua valley in central Chile, an hour south of Santiago. The area is somewhat built up with wine infrastructure, there are 15-20 places to taste wine in the valley. About half of the tastings require you to tour the facilities prior to tasting wine and all of the tastings require you to spent money on the tasting. Most of the tastings are somewhat expensive but the bottles of wines are very inexpensive at least from the wineries. I have been impressed with most of the red wines the Carmaneres, Cabernet Savignons, and other other red blends. Maddy has loved the Savignon Blanc from a couple different wineries. We are staying at a house that is situated in the middle of several wine fields which makes for enjoyable evening walks and interesting jogging in most mornings. The smoke is not bad but we still are not able to see the larger more distant Andes range mountains.
We have been averaging about two wineries a day, mostly because the distance of the wineries, the tours usually take an hour or more, the pours of the wineries are substantial ( about ½ glass to 2/3 of a glass) and we are a bit paranoid of the police checks that we have heard of although we have encountered none. We started near our house at Vina Estampa where we met Phillipe who was great and gave us lots of suggestions and was very friendly, we bought our first wine a sauvignon blanc, which are from grape that come from the coast. We then went to Vina Mont Gras and had a tasting with a Brazilian Sommelier our host switched between English and Portuguese with ease, it was a blast. We went down town and had dinner at the Santa Cruz social club it was a complete disaster, Mirabelle was hiding from the waiter and Julie had a meltdown about something that didn’t matter.
The next day we drove out toward the coast to visit Vina Santa Cruz, which had a teleferico and various other museums, we arrived at 1pm but they said we couldn’t start a tour until 2 and said we had to have a tour to do a wine tasting; they were very controlling about the schedule. We signed up for the tour and left, we found an organic winery down the road who allowed us to taste wine right away, even after Vina Santa Cruz told us there were no other wineries in the area. We did go back and take the tour which took us up the teleferico and we self-toured several small exhibits on the native people of the area. We then had to wait until 3 to get our tour of the actual winery, we bugged them enough that they gave us an abbreviated tour and we got to taste wines after 10 minutes. We were not about to buy any wines though.
The next day we went to one of the more famous wineries in the valley it was called Viu Manet and it has some of the oldest vines in the valley, some close to 100 year old vines that produce less fruit but are more flavorful. We also learned that the Cholchagua valley was known for really good Merlot prior to 1994 when a grape expert came and told them that they had misidentified the grapes as Carmenere, which was extinct in Europe, so now Chile has the best Carmenere wines. We had to wait for an English tour so we went to another winery Laura Hartwig, which was near the town of Santa Cruz. Laura Harwig is more of a boutique winery but they had very good reds. They also had a polo ground that was used by the nephew of the owners. We went back to Viu Manet and we got a personal tour with their English speaking guide and got a ride on a horse drawn carriage and a barrel tasting. The wines were very tasty and they were very cheap when you bought them at the winery.
The next day we went to a part of Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley and visited three wineries Vina Montes, Vina Apaltagua and Vina Veyen. The first Vina Montes had a beautiful winery built with using the concepts of feng shui, lots of pools and they had Gregorian chants for their wines, seemed a bit over the top but it was a pretty area. Vina Apaltagua was next and it was a brand new winery we were their fourth customers to visit their new tasting room, it was a great time we loved our host and we bought lots of wine. The final winery of the day was Vina Veyen which was the oldest winery in the valley with amazing old buildings with Chilean style architecture, large barns with a huge barrel rooms, with lots of room for the kids to run. The wine was Carmenere and Cabrenet Savignon, the wines were great but the prices were steep. Thus ends our wine tour in Colchagua.
So we finally bought a soccer ball! Julie has been asking for a ball forever and she has been playing with the boys at recess so she is excited to play. It was extremely hot in Santa Cruz so we have been playing in the morning and at night. We have had some epic games; so much fun all five of us.
The place we are renting is surrounded by vineyards and we are allowed to go walking around and explore, we have been taking walks during the evenings around sunset when the light is just perfect in the vineyards. It has been a special time with the kids and with Maddy, I have included one picture and will post a ridiculous video one of me jumping over a stream in slow motion that the kids took, I laugh my head off every time I see it. We also had access to a telescope which we used for science class every night to check out the moon and other plants, the girls were so into it, we might have to get a scope at home.