We only tend to visit wine country in the southern hemisphere, in the midst of their winter. When we were in Chile this past July, we joined a tour venturing from Santiago to Viña Undurraga. It was just a half-day tour… there are many longer, more involved ways to explore Chilean wine country, but we were running out of time so a half day would have to do. And thus we found ourselves here:
We arrived early, with about half an hour before the English-language tour was set to begin, and were encouraged to explore the beautiful grounds.
It was neat to be able to explore a bit, independently.
I’ve seen photos of this vineyard in January, and it is lush and verdant. I have no such photos to share with you, because July is when the leaves fall and the vines are dormant in Chile. But I find the landscape has its own kind of bare beauty in winter.
We came across a stand of trees, which sheltered these Mapuche totems:
Obligatory photo of us standing in a wintertime vineyard:
We came upon this intriguing little building:
So… we are now aware of Carmenere grapes, which are delicate and earthy. And create a red wine. I’m allergic to red, so I could not taste this. But if you find Chilean red wine with Carmenere grapes, please do try it. Andrew recommends it. (An aside: we’re more into beer than wine, so it’s not like we have this incredible palate or anything…)
Wandering around some giant buildings. There’s wine in these silos, I do believe.
And then we descended more stairs, to the cellar, where wines are being aged in oak barrels:
From there, we ventured to a sort of small museum behind the cellar, where there is a display entitled “The Andean-Mapuche Collection: The People of the Earth”. The Mapuche are the indigenous people from the south of Chile. The owner of Undurraga (who is Chilean) has been learning more about the Mapuche people. I think he sees it as all being connected, “the people of the earth” and their attention to the earth in regards to growing the grapes… but perhaps I’m putting words in this mouth. I just kind of remember something about care and attention in this way.
And then we had our tasting. I think wine always tastes better when you hear the story behind it, and walk the ground upon which the grapes have been grown. And then you’re given only a very little bit to sip. Plus I gave all my red wine to Andrew. So I treasured every sip of white, and quite enjoyed the wine. And thus concluded our half-day tour to Chilean wine country.