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Day 5 - Chilean Wines

Pirque, Chile

Before we begin we forgot to post this pic. It's what I like to call "Chilean Power Bar". This is a lamp post splitting power to houses in every which direction with absolutely no plan or organization. I guess the bottom line is, everyone got their power. Plugging the laptop in to charge overnight now makes us worry a little more.

We spent the day sampling wines at a few wineries in the Casablanca and Maipo regions. Casablanca is famous for their white varietals such as Sauv Blanc as well as their Pino Noir. It was painful finding the places and the government conveniently placed toll booths at all exits off the highway that leads to wineries. It made for a more difficult time getting to the actual wineries.

Our first stop was at Casa Del Bosque which won a few awards and has a 91pt Sauv Blanc which I wanted to try. The Building is gorgeous and he inside is very clean and modern looking. I'm not sure how old this winery is but the 'tasting room' consisted of comfy couches in a living-room setup and they bring drinks to you.

Well at least this was what we saw some other people doing. We got to taste in their tasting room which was layed out like a dining table. Still pretty fancy. I got to try a sauv blanc and a chardonnay as well as a pinot noir. The tasting cost us 5000 pesos (about $10CDN!). Needless to say I was very underwhelmed with the wines and we left. Well, we tried to leave but they took so long to give me change I ended up forcing them to move their asses. Who the hell fills out a DHL form when a customer is waiting to pay for tasting your barely passable wine?

Our next stop was Veramonte, a pretty large winery down the road from Casa Del Bosque. Their service was quick, they poured us a wine for 500 pesos ($1 CDN) so we tried 2 - Another Cab Sauv and another Pinot Noir (hell we're in Casablanca, this is the shit they grow here!). The Cab Sauv was delicious with nose of pinneaple and citrus fruits. We picked up a bottle. Oh and I got my change promptly here.

Our last stop (unforunately due to time constraints) was of course the mega winery - Concha Y Toro. This place is nuts. For a winery this large I am still surprised how difficult it was to get to by car. Their web site only posts "subway and taxi" solutions. Clearly it isn't an easy one to get to. Situated in the small town of Pirque, the winery is not really that close to a major highway and requires some poking around to find.

Ok the story of our journey to Concha Y Toro begins like any story by me. Google maps. So google maps had like 5 hits on this one location close to Pirque and some smattering of dots elsewhere. Since the winery web site didn't have directions we took the google ones with us. After a lot of detours and constructions zones we found a large archway with the name "Concha Y Toro". Awesome we found it. The security guard was very confused. We were trying to tell him we wanted to go to the Winery (arms gesticulating). He looked miffed but let us through. We drove in and found nothing but a Winery called Almaviva. Hmm. The gate was closed. We drove around to the front and went into the parking area....

A cop with a whistle tooted as us and had us freeze at our car and then asked us (my translation) "what the fuck are you doing here?". So some more gesticulating it turns out he has no idea what we want but he directed us out back the way we came (we thought he was giving us directions to the actual winery. No dice.

So we get more lost and end up a grocery store where some friendly girls there gave us directions. Well how nice, they gave us directions to the SAME Concha Y Toro with the same confused security guard. So that didn't work, we proceed to a gas station and he gives us the SAME directions BUT this time we tell him it's the one in Pirque and he goes "oh! Pirque". Directions were finally given and we finally stumbled on it. This is like the top wine producer in NORTH AMERICA. How the hell can it be so hard to find and in the middle of butt fuck nowhere with no signs? Hilarious.

So we get in, pay for a tour and do our thing. It's a pretty cool Winery with a few cheesy parts to the tour. The "motivational video" at the beginning was oozing Chikuwa Cheese. The "Diablo Story" where they turn out the lights to spook you is also pretty damn cheesy but hey its all in good fun and the Wine, most importantly, is quite quite good.

We picked up some Late harvest - how the hell do you go wrong with a $4 late harvest??. We also picked up a Marques - Cab Sauv (wow this was good) - $16USD and a bottle of the "Casillero Del Diablo - Cab Sauv - Syrah Blend" - $6 USD (!!). Wow man this is insanely cheap stuff.

We also found out what Almaviva was all about - It's a joint venture between Concha Y Toro and Baron Phillipe de Rothschild of France. Bourdeaux grapes with a French Ally Winemaker. The bottles were listed at about $124 USD each so I can see why we got our balls busted at the gate when we found a way into the winery. I'm guessing they only do private tastings there.

permalink written by  yungwesl on January 9, 2009 from Pirque, Chile
from the travel blog: Sandy and Wes in South America
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Don't you guys have the NICE CHRISTMAS PRESENT we bought you???.. which prevents you from getting into situations like this!!

permalink written by  Justin on January 9, 2009

I see no proof that this is a trip that is attended by Sandy. Please provide proof in the form of Sandy holding a newspaper with a current date on it or I will refuse to believe that she exists on a South American plane!

permalink written by  James Warren on January 12, 2009

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