We find a piece of home, and more specifically of Trader Joe’s, when we visit Viña Concha y Toro, the famous wine producer of Casillero del Diablo. After a couple tastes at this winery just southeast of Santiago, we continue southward to the Colchagua Valley where we enjoy wines, lunch, vineyard-filled hills, and walks among the grapes. In the center of the valley is Santa Cruz, a cute town filled with boutique hotels, small houses with flowered window sills, and restaurants, cafes a plenty.
Chile is full of vineyards, and today we decide to explore the Casablanca Valley, which is nestled between Valparaiso and Santiago. The varietals that appear frequently throughout our tastings include Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay among the whites, and Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Chilean specific Carmenere for the reds. Our first stop, which also includes a great lunch, is at Viña Casas del Bosque. We then make our way through three more wineries before the end of the afternoon, including Emiliana Organic Vineyards, Viña Indomita, and Viña Mar. We break up our tastings with card playing, joke telling, and a little Facetiming.
We later stop in Valparaiso for some afternoon tea and juice before heading to Oda Pacifico, a wonderful restaurant looking over much of the city. Getting to the restaurant is a bit of an adventure because of the layout of the city, its steep hills, and its narrow streets. I explain to many navigators in the car that I think we are approaching a dead end, and although in one occasion I am correct, on another occasion, the road continues at what seems like a 60-degree slope, which I had inaccurately thought was impassible.
As we head back to our hotel in Zapallar, we look back on our day filled with multiple types of terrain covered, many wines tasted, and a beautiful dinner shared together.