Latin America’s largest wine grower, Concha y Toro produces one of the most widely recognized lines in the world, ‘Casillero del Diablo.’ It is one of Chile’s oldest wineries, founded in 1883 by the formidably named Don Melchor Santiago de Concha y Toro. The line named in his honor, Don Melchor, is an outstanding and renowned Cabernet Sauvignon. Visit their winery, located an hour outside of Santiago, for tours and tasting sessions, including a foray into the Casillero del Diablo – the Devil’s Cellar – itself. Budget permitting, try one of their Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignons for a truly special wine.
Concha y Toro, Av. Alonso de Córdova 2391, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 247 65480
Cousiño Macul is as ancient as it gets by Chilean standards; the winery was founded in 1856, and has the distinction of still being run by the founding family, but it is also home to the first vines ever planted in Chile in 1546. Their original winery is now caught up in the urban mass of Santiago, and though most of their vineyards are elsewhere, the building dates back to 1872 and it is still worth visiting. Try their Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2011.
Cousiño Macul, Calle Quilín 7100, Peãlolen, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 351 4100
Viu Manent, located in the Colchagua Valley, has been running for 80 years, and produces a small range of stylish wines. El Incidente named after an eventful hot-air balloon trip taken by one of the family members, is a blend of Carmenère, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Meanwhile, the blends that make up their ‘Secreto’ range are, as the name suggests, a carefully guarded secret. Visits to their winery include an atmospheric trip around the vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage, along with food and wine tasting. Try the Secreto Syrah – and see if you can guess what else is inside.
Viu Manent, Carretera del Vino, Santa Cruz, Colchagua, Chile, +56 7285 8350
Errazuriz was founded in 1870, and six generations later Eduardo Chadwick is still pioneering his family’s trade. It is located 100 kilometers north of Santiago in the gentle slopes of the Aconcagua Valley, known for its contrast of cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers, and produces subtle and textured wines to prove it. A visit to their winery is a luxurious experience: A tour of their modernist Don Maximiano building is followed by a trip underground into their historic cellars, along with the option of a gourmet, four-course meal. Try the Single Vineyard Carmenère, aged in oak barrels to give it a spicy finish.
Viña Errazuriz, Av Nova Tajamar 451, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 2203 6330
The Casablanca Valley, 50 kilometers northwest of Santiago, was devastated by an earthquake in 2010. The region’s burgeoning wine scene was badly affected, but it has bounced back in style and Loma Larga is one of the wineries leading the push towards international fame. It is a relatively new operation, with its first wines produced in 2004, yet it won Wine and Spirits’ 2011 ‘Winery of the Year’ prize. Try its celebrated 2010 Cabernet Franc, or an earlier specimen if you can get your hands on it.
Loma Larga, Camino Lo Ovalle, Casablanca, Chile, +56 32 274 2098
In the early 20th century, an entrepreneurial copper miner from Michigan, USA, came to the Casablanca Valley in search of gold. Carl John Kingston failed to find any, but, with a large estate to his name, settled as a dairy farmer. Five generations later, the Kingston Estate continues to foster this entrepreneurial spirit and is making waves with its artisanal selection of fine wines. In a valley known for its whites, they pioneered red wines, and are now selling them across the world. Try the popular 2013 Alazan Pinot Noir, named after a beloved family horse.
Kingston Vineyards, Hijuela el Maitén, Casablanca, Chile, +56 9 9230 2917
A contrast to Chile’s many dynastic family vineyards, Viña Von Siebenthal is the story of an outsider’s dream: Swiss Mauro von Siebenthal, who in 1998 left his career as a lawyer behind to come and set up this winery in the Aconcagua Valley. More than a decade later, Von Siebenthal produces a selection of six reds, carefully developed according to the ecology of the semi-arid conditions in which the grapes are cultivated. Try the 2010 Carmenère Gran Reserva, a Swiss interpretation of one of Chile’s most distinctive grapes.
Viña Von Siebenthal, Panquehue, Chile, +56 3459 1827
Chile’s most decorated, and undoubtedly grandest, winery, the Casa Silva estate in the Colchagua Valley, consists of a historic bodega, boutique hotel, gourmet restaurant and even a horse riding club, complete with polo fields, in addition to its hundreds of acres of vineyards scattered around the region. Known for its Carmenères, along with historic Sauvignon Blanc vines, Casa Silva produces a wide variety of high-quality brands. Each new line has to be personally approved by a specialist panel that meticulously debate its merits before releasing it to the market. Try the refreshing and fruity Casa Silva Sauvignon Blanc 2013.
Casa Silva, Casilla 97, San Fernando, Chile, +56 9 7211 3073
Such is Chile’s geography that this boutique winery, at the foot of the Andes, is accessible by Santiago’s metro. It offers views of the towering mountains on the one side, and the city on the other. With a small team, Vinã Aquitania focuses on producing a few wines of high quality. The guides meticulously lead you through their operations and, unlike at some larger wineries, the product itself is made right before your eyes. The opportunity to try exclusive, boutique wines – at very good value for money – makes this a great stop when in Santiago. Try the Viña Aquitania Chardonnay Reserva.
Viña Aquitania, Consistorial 5090, Peñalolén, Santiago, Chile, +56 2 2791 4500
Complete with an indigenous museum, an astronomical center and, best of all, a cable car to carry you above the vines, Viña Santa Cruz deserves a mention of any list of Chilean wineries. After visiting the vineyard and seeing their operations, visitors can hop into the cable car up the mountain and arrive at a purpose-built, ‘indigenous village,’ in which guided tours teach about Chile’s pre-Columbian cultures. There’s also an observatory with a collection of astronomical telescopes – there is even a nocturnal ‘tour through the cosmos’. This place is a creative and fun variation on wine-tourism. All this somewhat takes the emphasis off the wine, but try their very good Cabernet-Syrah blend.
Viña Santa Cruz, Fundo El Peral, Lolol, Chile, +56 72 235 4920