A really good wine gives you a taste of where it was made and delivers a real sense of place and character. Imagine how much your appreciation of that excellent wine would be enhanced if you could experience the sights, aromas and flavours of your favourite wine region first hand. There are several wine tasting holiday packages available many of which whisk you through the terroir on a lightning-fast coach or tourist train. That doesn’t really give you the time to appreciate the wine at all, let alone the full atmosphere of the region, its people, its customs and the local food.
We prefer the more intimate, active holidays that give the space and time to walk through a wine region, drinking in the atmosphere and sampling the local food as well as tasting the wines. This approach is nowhere better rewarded than in Chile. It’s said that when God finished making the world, he put all the bits he had left over – mountains, lakes, spectacular waterfalls, meadows, deserts, glaciers – into Chile. It is one of the world’s great producers of wines and the ideal location for walking holidays as you only have to go a very short distance to experience dramatic changes in scenery and climate. Chile was never affected by the 19th century phylloxera epidemic which cut swathes through European vineyards. As a result, it kept its precious old growth vines introduced by the Spanish colonists of the 16th century.
Chile is a country blessed with a unique geography. It’s long and thin with the high Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and a climate moderated by the cool Humbolt Current rising up from Antarctica. There’s a huge diversity in soils and climates in the relatively short distance from east to west and the character of a Chilean wine is mainly influenced by its proximity to the Andes or the Pacific rather than the terroir’s distance north or south in the country. Chile offers ideal conditions for a very broad range of grape varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling Viognier, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Carmenere varietal (a rich red) is unique to Chile.
Chile Holidays will introduce you to a superb range of wine and Chilean cuisine, famed for the diversity of its seafood thanks to 4,270 km of coastline. Typical mainland Chilean dishes include Empanada de Pino, a type of pastie filled with diced meat, onions, olive, raisins and hard-boiled egg or Pastel de Choclo, a typical Chilean summer dish similar to shepherd’s pie made from ground corn and meat, chopped onions small pieces of chicken, olives and raisins. Curanto en Hoyo is a typical dish from the south of Chile prepared by heating fish, seafood, potatoes, meat and bread over red hot rocks then wrapping in big leaves and burying in the ground so that it slowly cooks over a number of hours.