Wines of Chile – Cachapoal, Colchagua and Curico Regions
For sampling the wine of Chile, we’ve looked at the Maipo region and the Aconcagua and Casablanca regions, so now we’ll start moving to the south to examine the next three regions, the Cachapoal, Colchagua and Curico Regions, where there is over 22,000 hectares (over 54,000 acres) planted in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with Merlot grapes also well-represented.
Less than 50 miles from Santiago’s city center is the town of Mostazal, Chile and the upper border of the Cachapoal Valley wine region. The first winery that you’d come across on the way from Santiago is La Ronciere, winner of several awards for their wine.
Moving south from Mostazal, through Rancagua, you can come across Anakena Winery only an hour and twenty minutes from Santiago. Once there, they offer a variety of tours and tastings. Since the tours last only an hour and fifteen minutes and start four times during the day, you may want to try them all.
Just a bit further south is the Colchagua Valley wine region. Near the city of San Fernando, about 90 miles south of Santiago, is Vina Casa Silva. There, not only do the tours offer tastes of their wines, they also have a polo pitch on the ground as well as a rodeo arena and will occasionally hold demonstrations.
Almost next door to Vina Casa Silva is Vina Santa Helena, where they offer tours three times a day. For $15, you can take a tour and have a guided tasting of two wines, for $25 you get an additional wine to taste.
Just a short jaunt to the north and west is Vina Estampa, just outside the town of Huique. A tour starts at $25, but for $10 less, you can skip the tour and go straight to the tasting. From November to April the winery is open every day with tours four times a day. During the months of March and April there are also harvest tours and live music at the winery.
Outside the town of Curico, the center of the Curico wine region is the Miguel Torres winery, where you can take a 45-minute tour. For a more in depth look at the wines and how they pair with food, you can eat at the restaurant on site and enjoy dishes like squid stuffed with crab with its matching wine for about $20, or a lamb shank with basil mashed pumpkin for $24.
Vina San Pedro offers an hour and a half tour that includes two wines to taste for $18. For $52, you can enjoy a tour that takes three hours and includes lunch with Castillo de Molina wine pairings. (If you’re a baseball fan, try not to think of the names of certain catchers and second basemen as you drink the wine, I’m sure it will make it less palatable.)
These valleys to the south of Santiago lie between the Andes and Coastal Range, just driving to any of these wineries would offer breath-taking views. What better way to celebrate the drive and the views than with some excellent wine?
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."