Our wine tour actually started on our last day in Chile but was back-to-back with our winery tour in Argentina. It is interesting to note there is a healthy competition between the two countries regarding their football teams, and their wines.
Our first stop was to the prizewinning Casas del Boque and it was a favourite. We were shown the grapes, toured the facilities and were then ushered into a very bright and pretty tasting room. Chilean wineries produce mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay whites and a lovely Pinot Noir, Carmenere (a Chilean native) and Cabernet Sauvignon reds.
Next we visited Indomita where we began with a tour and then had lunch while being serenaded by a violinist. A much bigger wine production at this winery and the wine mostly reflected it but for a smooth late harvest. Lunch was pleasant but perhaps we would have enjoyed lunch more at the Vina Casas del Boque which had a lovely outdoor restaurant.
After a travel day, we continued with our tour in Mendoza.
We arrived at ReNacer, our first winery at 10:00 a.m and had a fairly detailed tour of this elegant property with the fall-coloured vines set off by a magnificent backdrop of mountains. Some grapes were dried on racks to increase sugar content.
We really struggled with our 11 a.m. tastings, but we managed. We progressed through a series of whites and reds but the standout was the Malbec.
We moved on to Caelum winery where we had a sympathetically brief description of the wine process. They are experimenting with a ceramic barrell. It was interesting to see how they labelled all of the wines by hand, well, by hand with a machine. Netting protects the vines from hail. Here we had a bright and festive tasting with a spirited sommalier. The property also produces pistachios which nicely complement the wine. Again, the standout was the Malbec, and it was the most delicious wine we had tasted so far.
Next we drove virtually across the street to Ruca Malen. We had no idea what was in store for us! Our “cooking class” was really a class in pairing wines with the meal, and what a meal it was. Another lovely setting and the table settings were artfully made with stone from the local mountains. Seven courses, each paired with generous pourings of different wines, a prosecco and a cocktail made with basil-infused chardonnay. One of the best meals I’ve ever had, which included Argentina filet mignon cooked to perfection. The pictures speak for themselves.
Our ruta del vino was a marvellous adventure with a spectacular finish. It was great to compare the two countries’ wines; I generally liked the Chilean wines better with the exception of the magnificent Mendoza malbec.