Saturday, February 13, 2016

The 'Landscapes of Wine' in Chile & Argentina

 "Don't worry about taking us to too many wineries, we have been PRACTICING....!"  Famous last words from the Vancouver travellers who visited Chile and Argentina with 
VM Travel Adventures in November, 2015.  

Jane McEwing with husband Marc, invited their architect friends who invited other friends and soon their group was comprised of fun loving folks from all across Canada AND Mexico!

Our pre-tour adventure started in the Vega Market in Santiago de Chile.  This is a place where you find few tourists, but we made some new local friends.  We were lucky to have our personal chef and dear friend Rodrigo Margolles take us through the market to discover new fruits, seeds, nuts and veggies that we wouldn't other wise know how to eat!  From the produce and fish markets straight to the table, we cooked and 'practiced' for our wine tour while drinking some lovely Sauvingnon blancs from Casablanca.  Ceviche, Risotto and Plateda beef prepared by us and into our tummies.  It was a feast for the senses, and we had not even started wine touring yet!

The group got together at the 5* Plaza San Francisco Hotel for some touring around Santiago's centre and Lastarria district, where the group discovered pisco chileno.  Time for more 'practicing' as Pisco is Chile's national drink.  Chipe Libre served up this white wine brandy as a 'sour' or with Cola or... even on it's own.
La Moneda y Carabineros, Santiago

Near Santiago we explored the Maipo Valley with a visit to Perez Cruz Modern bodega, where they are famous for the Cot (or Malbec) wines they make, stressing the importance of gravity used in winemaking.  We met the legendary 'Devil' of Concha Y Toro before taking off to Santa Cruz for another experience in Chilean Viticulture in the Colchagua Valley.   Casa Lapostolle and Santa Cruz wines were enjoyed while staying at the Santa Cruz Hotel.
Hacienda Araucano, Lolol

Casa Lapostolle's Clos Apalta Vineyard 
The architects in the group were fascinated by some of these winery buildings and landscape, admiring sculptures and gardens, all diverse and different from the Vancouver greenery.  A yellow carpet of flowers welcomed us to the Hacienda Araucano while Carlos took us through the whole portfolio of Francois Lurton's Chilean wines.  We were so lucky to have visited this place near Lolol. We were the only guests who have the privilege of spending time here and doing yoga in the empty pool, this winery is not open for tourism.

Handmade Huaso Hats

Me made sure to get a 'huaso' cowboy hat, hand made by a local before boarding the Andesmar double decker bus for the trek over the Andes Mountains.  Chef Rodrigo left us with a little surprise picnic to enjoy with wine on the 5 hour bus ride over the 30+ curves on the Chilean side. 

Cordillera de los Andes Switchbacks

Once through the border we enjoyed the snow covered purple mountains on our descent into Mendoza, Argentina.  

The Club Tapiz hosted us for three nights and we commenced our visits to a few more wineries..... we still needed practice!

At Acheval Ferrer we started tasting at 9:30 AM. Next, we discovered the art and the formidable bodega with and piano concert hall at Bodega Salentein and Victoria at Catena Zapata gave us a superb reception and opened some 'extra' 2013 Angelica Zapata Chardonnay.  

Finca Adalgisa hosted us for a dinner and we got to enjoy the wines of the Club Tapiz every night while Alejandro regained us with stories of the animals of the Finca.

Surprise!!  Corinne flew in from Buenos Aires with two professional tango dancers and friends, Juan Carlos and Trinidad. They put on a show in the Roggerone room of the Club Tapiz and then got us up dancing some tango steps as well!  It makes you appreciate just how difficult this classical Argentine dance is, with the steps and embellishments being embellished by just a little more vino!!

Did we have enough practice trying the wines of Chile and Argentina?  Never!!  But it might be wise to pause and reflect, perfect our downward dog (why not in the pool?), and get back amongst it on the next wine tour with this group of felicitous friends.  Thanks for all of the laughs Jane and Marc, you surround yourself with admirable people and I was thankful to be a part of your crew for our serendipitous week together!

Hasta muy pronto y gracias!!  

The girl with the red boots,

'Life is too short not to have this much fun...'