Barrels at Salentein
Exploring the vineyards by tractor in Montes
Chile, Argentina & Uruguay
17 February - 2 March 2014
This unique South American wine tour visits the spectacular vineyards of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. All three have made huge advances in quality wine and this has firmly established them on the world wine scene. Chile is perhaps the best known, but Argentina is very exciting at the moment and Uruguay is a big surprise!
We begin with a night in Chile’s capital, Santiago, where we dine at the wine bar owned by the wine family, Torres, who have had an estate in Chile since 1970’s. From here, we head south to the small, traditional town of Santa Cruz, close to the Apalta Valley. En route we call into Maule, to one of the most impressive boutique estate, Antiyal, owned by Alvaro Espinoza (an expert in biodynamic principles) and his wife Marina Ashton, who welcome us for a relaxing lunch.
Our visits from Santa Cruz include Montes, for lunch, in their fabulous winery designed along feng shui principles and vineyards designed to be picked by mountain goats or acrobats! We are also welcomed at Cono Sur, where they are making some stunning Pinot Noirs as well as their whites from the Southernly Bio Bio region.
Staying at a lovely private wine estate for three nights is a highlight of this tour. Here you can relax by the pool, play tennis or golf, visit the wine museum or explore the vineyards by carriage or horse! This is not open to the public, but is available to A&C as friends of this beautiful estate. Our visits include Tarapaca and Casa Marin in the nearby San Antonio region. We include a day relaxing at the estate, surrounded by the Maipo river and Coastal range mountains.
The Andes and Argentina beckon! On our breathtaking route through a gorge hugged by snow-capped mountains we may well see condors soaring against the peak of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Andes. On the journey we will hold a tasting, stop for lunch at the border and to view Aconcagua. As we travel away from Chile’s plains there is a dramatic change; green, tropical crops and lush vegetation give way to bare dramatic mountains and desert scrub of cacti and acacia.
Argentina is the fifth largest wine producer in the world and vines were first planted in the 16th Century. However, it was not until the arrival of Italian immigrants that serious wine production began. With a strong domestic market Argentina was slower than Chile in targeting overseas clients, but that has since changed, and there are some stunning wines coming out of the country- not just Malbecs, but also Torrontes and Pinot Noirs amongst others!
We stay for two nights at a beautiful central hotel in the university city of Mendoza. As private guests we taste at, and lunch or dine with leading wine estates including the boutique family run Cassone, the large but still passionately family run Zuccardi, who make a stunning range of wines at all levels and also at Catena Zapata, where we lunch at their winery in the design of a Mayan temple. Argentina is as we said, very exciting at the moment and nowhere more so than in the Uco Valley, which is where we stay for the next two nights at a private wine lodge. From here we will visit the dynamic estate of O.Fourmier and also Salentein, where there is time to visit their art gallery as well.
We fly from Mendoza Buenos Aires for one night in the colourful, buzzing city capital – great for shopping and Tango dancing! Here there is some free time to explore and perhaps savour one of their best national products , succulent steak – perhaps paired with a glass of two of malbec!
For our Uruguay leg of the tour, next morning, we catch the fast ferry, crossing the River Plate to the beautiful old colonial town of Colonia del Sacramento where we have some free time to explore. We then drive across country, to see the rolling green hills of this small agricultural country, to stay in the quirky city of Montevideo situated the mouth of the River Plate. As for the wine visits; powerful Tannat grapes and exuberant welcomes from the wineries, makes Uruguay fabulous! A lunchtime spent with Daniel Pisano is an experience not to be missed and the wines are superb too. Juanico, where we have dinner, is a historical estate producing brilliant wines. They have a lovely old villa and even their own railway station.
The last morning, we take the return ferry to Buenos Aires, where the tour ends.
Join us for a great journey of South American wine discovery with fantastic hospitality!