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A Wine Lover's Diary, part 325 (January 10, 2011)

Saturday, January 1: Our flight to Santiago is at 11:55 pm. Guy drops us at the airport, as he will need the car for his move later this week. Met up with David and Marlene Rose and Art and E.J. Steinberg, our traveling companions in Chile. Tried to use my up-grade tickets on Air Canada but it never seems to work.

Sunday, January 2: An uneventful ten-and-a-half-hour flight. Slept for a while, then watched Inception, which I could not understand, as I kept dozing off. Paid the $135 visa fee for Deborah and used my British passport (for some reason Brits need no visa for Chile). A 45-minute flight to La Serena, where we rented two Hertz cars to drive up the Elqui Valley. My car is a Toyota Yaris. Stopped at the Pulcaro dam on the way to Vicuna and then at Vicuna for a cherimoya ice cream at La Bilaina, "a tradition in the valley for 50 years" says its sign.

The school in Elqui

On to Rividavia and up into the mountains to Pisco Elqui and along a 15 km stretch of dirt road to Alcohaz, where we stayed the night at Refugios La Frontera. We had a large bungalow with two rooms. The place has other bungalows but they were booked so we had to sleep three men in a room, Deborah and Marlene in the other one and E.J. on a pull-out bed in the living area. The restaurant, called El Cielo, was out of meat and chicken. But the fish and seafood dishes were delicious. I ordered Oveja Negra Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2009 and Santa Emiliana Carmenère 2010. A lovely starry night. Not a bad night's sleep in spite of the snoring in stereo.

Cavas del Valle label

Monday, January 3: Drove into Pisco Elqui for breakfast at a B&B. Then to Cavas del Valle for a tour and tasting. According to the owner, Marlise, the winery is the first in the Elqui Valley, planted in 1996 by her and her husband, a retired geologist. Marlise, an economist, used to work for Massey Ferguson and spent a lot of time in Vancouver. At 1808 meters their organic vineyard is one of the highest in Chile, 6 hectares planted to Syrah and Pink Muscat. The winery, located on the highway, is housed in a 150-year-old barn. Elqui, says Marlise, is the only valley in Chile without botrytis and her production of 2,500 bottles makes them one of the smallest wineries in the country. On the property they also grow oranges, lemons, grapefruit, avocados, apricots, figs and pecans. They use only Demptos and Taransaud oak and age their reds for 14 months. Their winemaker is Claudia Corbo, who used to work at Falernia. Marlise served us three wines:

  • Cavas del Valle Syrah Reserva 2007: dense purple colour; spicy, oaky and acidic with a savoury blackcurrant flavour (20% Cabernet Sauvignon) (89).
  • Cavas del Valle Dry Muscat 2008: old gold colour; dry, grapey. Full in the mouth with dry orange and honeysuckle flavours (87).
  • Cavas del Valle Late Harvest Muscat 2010: light straw colour, perfumed, honeyed orange flavour (88).

Vineyards in the Elqui Valley

Dropped our luggage off at Refugio Misterios de Elqui before heading off to lunch with Guy Hooper and Marcelo Retamal, the winemaker for De Martino, for lunch at Hacienda Miraflores in Pisco Elqui. We started with the obligatory Pisco Sour. I ordered mine less sweet but it came the same as everyone else's. Empenadas were served while we waited for the pork ribs to be slow-cooked. Hors d'oeuvres of deep-fried pumpkin, black olives, ham, goat's cheese cubes and a local pork sausage dish. With this, a bottle of De Martino Legado Chardonnay Reserva 2009 from Limari (straw–coloured, apple and tropical fruit and citrus nose; full-bodied with a mineral note and lively citrus acidity (89)). With the pork rib and tomato and avocado salad, a bottle of De Martino Single Vineyard Alto Los Toros Syrah 2008 (with 17% Petit Verdot) (densely coloured, concentrated, savoury blackcurrant flavour with a floral grace note; juicy with a dry finish (90)).

Winemaker Marcelo Retamal of De Martino

In the afternoon Guy, Marcelo and Juan Luis Huerta drove us all up to see a new De Martino project – vineyards planted up to 2200 metres. Syrah, Grenache and Touriga Nacional will be planted up there. De Martino has developed a special trellising system to protect the grapes from the bright sunlight. On an upright post, a short wooden arm has been hammered in at angle of 45° to allow the leaves to shade the bunches and prevent them from sunburn.

At the base of the steep slope is a trestle of four poles covering a sacred area marked out in a large circle of quartz stones. The circle is divided into two, one half for men, the other for women. If you stand inside you are supposed to experience a rush of energy (I didn't). The vines nearest the four-sided pyramid structure were noticeably more luxuriant than those further away and their shoots seem to lean towards the frame of poles. The grapes from these vigorous vines, says, Marcelo, don't make very good wine because all the energy of the vine has gone into the leaves rather than the clusters.

The energy pyramid in the foothills of the Andes

Marcelo showed us where construction has started on a granite lagar (the same type they use to foot-tread port grapes). Seven lagars in all are planned for this area to foot-tread Touriga Nacional. These will be the first in Chile. The problem is the stone mason working on the project likes to drink and turns up erratically.

Then we all drove over to the house of Alvaro Flaño, where were will dine tonight. Marcelo prepared the best Pisco Sours for us as we wait for the BBQ to heat up. We snacked on dried goat, goat's cheese, ham and cheese. Then Marcelo opened a bottle of De Martino Legado Syrah 2008 from the Choapa Valley (the first Chilean Syrah to come from this valley. The grapes are grown at an altitude of 825 meters in the Andes: dry, savoury, medicinal nose; smoky blackcurrant flavour with lively acidity. Full-bodied but remarkably elegant. More in Northern Rhône style with great length. And good value (90)). Before the meal of steak and chrorizo sausage with French beans, baked potatoes and salad, I tasted Marcelo's new single-vineyard wines from vineyards he has found all over Chile.

  • De Marino Legado Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Maipo: very much in the style of many Cabs from this valley north of Santiago – eucalyptus and blackcurrant nose with lively acidity but a little short on the finish (86).
  • De Martino La Aguada 2008: a field blend of Carignan, Malbec, Carménère from old bush vines. Deep ruby colour; smoky, black raspberry, a fine spine of acidity carrying curranty flavours; very elegant with fine grained tannins (91).
  • De Martino El Leon Old Bush Vines 2007: from Maule Valley, 90% Carignan with 10% other varieties. Dense purple colour; richly extracted blackcurrant flavour structured by ripe, sweet tannins and fresh acidity (92).
  • De Martino Limavida Old Bush Vines 2008: from Maule Valley, mainly Malbec with 10% other varieties. Dense ruby colour; floral, blackcurrant and raspberry nose that opens on the palate; surprisingly elegant, lean and sinewy with great length. Reminded me of Brunello di Montalcino (91).
  • De Martino Alto Los Toro Syrah Reserva 2008, which we had at lunch. I gave it the same score, forgetting I had already tasted it (must have been the two Pisco Sours) – 90.

On the drive back to the hotel at half past midnight we came across a 70-strong scout troop who had obviously lost their way and looked absolutely miserable. They had walked two kilometers beyond the turn-off to their campground. Guy, Marcelo and Juan Luis shuttled them down in their trucks.

Refugios de la Frontera

Pisco Sour made with Fundo los Nichos Pisco

Tuesday, January 4: Breakfast on the terrace of the Refugio Misterios de Elqui. Crepes filled with condensed milk reduction, carrot cake, fruit and tea.

Guy, Marcelo and Juan Luis took us to visit the Distileria Rigoberto Fundo Los Nichos, a small artisanal pisco distillery. Here we met Don Pedro Artiaga, the last cooper in Chile. His father worked for Concha y Toro in the 1960s before being hired away by Pisco Control. Don Pedro hopes his son will continue the family tradition. He makes barrels based on the same numeric ratio of 1:1.618. All in keeping with the mystical spirituality of the Elqui Valley.

Toured the pisco facility that was founded in 1865 by Don Rigobato Rodriguez Rodriguez. In the cellar are half-moon niches filled with wine dating back 100 years. The owner used to invite prominent friends down here. They were expected to arrive vertical and leave horizontal. Each niche is dedicated to a friend who died. If they could consume the contents of the niche they would have one stash of wine in perpetuity.

Wine niches in the pisco distillery

After trying the pisco we drove around the Elqui Valley with Marcelo, Guy and Juan Luis looking at potential sites for sale. We visited one near the Artisan's Village in Horcon traveling in two cars – David Rose driving the 4-Runner and Juan Luis driving a red truck in which Deborah and I and Marcelo were passengers. Suddenly David took off after an identical red truck and we hurtled after him in reverse. We eventually caught up to him, having turned around. When the red truck stopped he was probably wondering who this crazy guy tailgating him was.

Artisans' village in Horcon

We returned to the Refugios de la Frontera for lunch. We had stayed the night before here but in the morning there was no-one to accept payment. We had given the key to a guy who was sweeping up. They were very pleased to see us. We ate outside under a wisteria-covered pergola – abalone shrimps, sole and chips with a bottle of El Gran Chardonnay 2007 followed by Cousiño Macul Don Luis Carmenère 2010.

We picked up our luggage from Misterios and drove to the Domo – a series of seven geodesic domes set on a hillside. I had stayed here the last time I was in Chile. Your bed is on a platform above the living area and you can unzip the roof and sleep under the stars. You can see more stars here than virtually anywhere on earth. While sitting on our deck with Stan and E.J. we saw the wine (Cavas del Valle Syrah 2006) begin to tremble in the glasses and then felt a real tremor. There had been a 7.1 earthquake south of us in Conception a day before, apparently, and this was an aftershock. Reminiscent of the earthquake I went through in Chile in 1985 with Miguel Torres in Curico. Eventually got email access with my rocket stick and had received worried emails from family members who had heard about the 'quake. Went for dinner into Elqui, where we enjoyed a glass of watermelon juice and a pizza.

Deborah outside our dome in Elqui

Wednesday, January 4: Great to sleep under the stars, but the noise of guests returning late and construction starting at 7:30 am prompted us to cut short our stay at the Domos. The price too was steep – $147.

Rio Magico

After breakfast we drove to the hotel to join David and Marlene to drive up to Cochiguaz through winding mountain roads. This is probably the most mystical place in Chile. We walked down to the Rio Magico to find a huge rock which is said to have amazing energy. Couldn't actually get to it because someone had bought the property and had fenced it off with barbed wire.

Stopped for lunch at Alma Zen Restorán – a sandwich and a delicious local beer, Guayacan Pale Ale (we'll visit the brewery tomorrow). When we got back to Elqui Deborah and I checked out of the Domo (a day early; couldn't take the noise and the precipitous stairs to the bathroom). Checked back into the Refugio Misterios de Elqui. Walked to dinner in Elqui to a restaurant recommended by Jaime, the owner of the hotel: El Durmiente Alquino. I ordered quinoa risotto and a bottle of Falernia Gran Reserve Carmenère 2007.

Thursday, January 5: Breakfast on the covered terrace. Today we flew to Santiago from La Serena. On the way we stopped into the brewery Cervecera Guayacan. They produce 4,000 litres of beer a month in what looks like a suburban bungalow. There are five partners. The brewmaster is Cristobol Holmgran, 28, a former winemaker for Cono Sur and Cousiño Macul who has also made wine at La Crema in Sonoma. He makes three beers – Golden Ale, Pale Ale and Stout. All hand-bottled, labeled and hand-dated.

Brewmaster Cristobol Holmgran

Lunch at Los Hornitos del Molle in the town of El Molle: ham and avocado on lettuce followed by braised pork and rice. Our flight leaves at 3 pm and it is 2 pm by the time we finish lunch and we are twenty minutes away from the airport. We have to gas up the rental cars and return them to Hertz and check in. We get to the check-in desk at 3:20 pm and are told the flight has closed and our six seats have been given away to stand-by passengers. We have to wait until the next flight to Santiago at 5 pm. The 45-minute flight turns into an hour and twenty minutes as we are held on the tarmac waiting for a bay to open.

The MOVI logo

Winemaker Derek Mossman of The Garage Wine Co.

We take a van to the Alton El Bosque Hotel only to find that the reservation for the three rooms has been made for November 2011 instead of January and the hotel is full. So they book us into the Intercontinental, which is "just around the corner." One of the doormen wheels the trolley with all our luggage through the streets of Santiago. Just around the corner turns out to be half a mile away. Derek Mossman, who owns the Garage Wine Company, a member of the MOVI group of small producers, meets us at the hotel and I interview him for an article about the movement. They are known as the "enfants terribles" of the Chilean wine industry. Then we taxi over to his house for a tasting of wines produced by MOVI members. We taste 29 wines. The most impressive are Marina Garcia Schwaderer Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Villard Chardonnay 2005, Carabantes Syrah 2008, Polkura Syrah 2008, Tanagra Syrah 2008, and Von Siebenthal Montelig 2006 (Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Petit Verdot). Altogether a very impressive showing.

Friday, January 6: At 9:30 am we are met in the lobby by Alejandro Pérez, the Export Manager for Montes Wines, who drives us to Apalta for a tour, tasting and lunch at the winery, a journey of about two and a half hours. He points out some of the damage to the winery as a result of the earthquake last year. Aurelio Montes, the son of the owner, who is also Aurelio Motes, takes us for a ride around the vineyards, showing us new plantings of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. In the middle of the vineyards are clumps of Peumo trees, a native Chilean variety that cannot be cut down.

Aurelio Montes Jr.

Montes's angel

We then move into the tasting room:

  • Montes Classic Series Sauvignon 2010 (Casablanca): very pale with a green tint; grassy, green plum; crisply dry. Clean, fresh (87).
  • Montes Sauvignon Blanc Limited Edition 2010 (Leyda Valley): pale straw-lime; grassy, nettle, passion fruit; minerally; fresh and lively, elderberry, great length (90).
  • Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2009 (Casablanca): pale straw; butter, vanilla oak, apple; spicy, nutty, very elegant with lively citrus acidity (90).
  • Montes Cherub Rosé of Syrah 2010 (Colchagua Valley): deep pink; raspberry nose; rose petal note; touch of sweetness but ends dry. A good food wine with fine spine of acidity (88).
  • Montes Pinot Noir 2009 Limited Edition (Casablanca Valley): ruby; vanilla, cherry, violets and an oak note; sweet fruit, firmly structured (89).
  • Montes Cabernet Sauvignon Classic Series 2009 (Colchagua Valley): deep ruby; cedar, blackcurrant with a vanilla note; well extracted fruit, smoky, firm; a little short but great value (87).
  • Montes Cabernet/Carmenère 2009 (Colchagua Valley/Apalta): deep ruby; white pepper, blackcurrant, pencil lead; firmly structured, smoky note, ripe berry fruit with a floral note (89).
  • Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2008 (Casablanca Valley): ruby; violets, raspberry with a real sense of terroir; firm structure with ripe but solid tannins (89).
  • Montes Zapallar Pinot Noir 2010 (barrel sample): sweet fruit, very elegant, rich, very Burgundian. Not yet knit but will be an explosive Pinot Noir (94).
  • Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Colchagua Valley): deep ruby; cedar, vanilla oak, sweet blackcurrant; sweet fruit, firm structure with a tannic lift on the finish (90).
  • Montes Alpha Syrah 2008 (Colchagua Valley; 7% Cabernet Syrah, 3% Viognier): deep ruby-purple; floral, blackberry, vanilla oak, with a light medicinal note; firmly structured (90).
  • Montes Alpha Carmenère 2008 (Marchigua Estate, Colchagua Valley; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon): deep purple-ruby; cedar, spicy, blueberry-blackberry, pepper; soft palate, sweet blackcurrant fruit with a firm finish (91).
  • Montes Alpha "M" 2007 (Santa Cruz/Apalta; 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot): dense purple; concentrated, coffee bean, floral, blackcurrant; rich, firm, still young; intense. Tannins are there but pliant (94).
  • Montes Folly Syrah 2006 (Santa Cruz/Apalta Vineyard): dense purple; medicinal, blackberry, dark chocolate, tobacco with a floral note; concentrated, sweet mid palate; firm structure, an iodine note, firm (94).
  • Montes Purple Angel 2007 (46% Carménère from Apalata, 46% Marchigue, 8% Petit Verdot from Apalta): dense purple; vanilla oak, white pepper, blackberry, spicy; full-bodied, chocolate, soft tannins, mouth-filling with a tannic lift on the finish (92).

Neyen's winemaker Soledad Sanchez Garcia

We are joined at lunch in the Montes restaurant by Jaime Rosello Larrain, the Executive Director of Viña Neyen, and his winemaker Soledad Sanchez Garcia. A short drive to their winery. Neyen, which makes only one blended wine, has 133 hectares of vines and recently merged with Veramonte. The winery's barrel cellar is a beautiful old barn-like structure that resembles a cathedral, contrasting with the modern cement building that houses the winemaking equipment .

  • Neyen Espiritu de Apalta 2006 (Colchagua Valley; 50% Carmenere, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon – each year the ratio changes): dense purple black; leather, blackberry, blackcurrant, dry, savoury; firm structure, full on the palate. Long dry finish with great acidity. Reminiscent of a St. Estephe (92). The Cabernet is 120 year-old-vines. 4000 cases made.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (from 120-year-old vines from barrel): interesting that it needs the Carm–nère to fill the middle palate and add a floral note and softer mouth feel.

After this visit Jaime drops us off at Lapostolle, where we will spend the next two days. We are occupying a very modern casita high above the main house and the winery, overlooking the entire valley and the vineyards. There are five casitas, each decorated in a different style. You are taken up to your casita by golf cart.

View from our casita's bathroom at Lapostolle

Lapostolle's Relais & Chateaux property in Apalta

Dinner: a Grand Marnier (Pisco) Sour on the terrace with bacon-wrapped prunes, quail egg on tomato, spinach and ricotta cheese empanadas. At the table, pumpkin and carrot cream soup with thyme, accompanied by Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay Antalya Vineyard 2008 (Casablanca). Salmon with herbs and Chardonnay sauce and mushroom risotto, with Lapostolle BoRoBo 2007. Dessert: bocado de manjar, berry sauce and pistachio ice cream, with Grand Marnier.

Saturday, January 8: A great night's sleep in the casita. Up at 8 am for breakfast and to meet Andrea Leon, the winemaker, for a horseback ride through the vineyard. My horse's name is Juanita. I felt like Gaucho Marx. We pass by a small house which was destroyed by the earthquake – but the 100-year-old vine that grows over the pergola survived.

Lapostolle winemaker Andrea Leon and Deborah

Lapostolle winery

Next a tour of the modern winery with its magnificent barrel room, where we tasted a Carménère 2010 from three different barrels – a 350-year-old Trances barrel by Sylvain (only 56 were made; Lapostolle bought five of them at auction; the trees had been planted by Louis XIV for ship building), X Blend by Radix and Transude T5 (dried for 5 years). Amazing the different flavour and mouth-feel among the barrels.

In the barrel room is a large glass table. Andrea lifted up one end and a staircase appeared leading down to a two-level cellar where the family stores its wines (16,000 bottles of Lapostolle, other Chilean producers and wines of the world). Next, a tasting in the tasting room.

  • Lapostolle Casa Sauvignon Blanc 2010: pale straw, lime tint; fresh, green bean, floral note; dry, green plum flavour with a touch of sweetness in the final taste (86).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay 2002 (Casablanca): old gold colour; high toned, oaky, pineapple, spicy, soft, creamy, lovely mouth feel (90).
  • Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay 2009: straw; fresh, fennel, white flowers; fresh, spicy, pineapple; good length, with a tangerine note (90).
  • Lapostolle Casa Carménère 2009 (15% Merlot): dense purple, stains the glass; blackcurrant, red pepper, touch of oak; nicely balanced, ripe black fruits, firmly structured with a tannic lift on the finish (87).
  • Lapostolle Casa Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (15% Carménère): dense purple; vanilla oak, blackcurrant, violets; dry, firm, initial sweetness of fruit finishing with a savory note. Ripe tannins (87).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Merlot 2008 (15% Carménère): dense purple; vanilla, blueberry, floral note; sweet fruit, juicy but firm. Medium to full-bodied, with ripe tannins (89).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carménère 2008 (15% Merlot): dense purple-black; vanilla, black currant-blackberry nose; very elegant, sweet currant fruit, chocolate note with a firm finish (91).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 1999: dense purple, very youthful; high toned, cedar, herbal, woody; licorice, drying red fruits with a heavy tannin finish (87).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (15% Carménère): dense purple; cedar, blackcurrant, vanilla oak; firmly structured, sweet fruit, still a little tight but will improve with a year in bottle (88++).
  • Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Syrah 2008 (Catchpoll Valley): dense purple black; high toned, blackberry; chunky, dark chocolate, malty note; full-bodied, massive (88).
  • Lapostolle BoRoBo 2007 (41% Carménère, 17% Pinot Noir, 13% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdant, 26% Mable): dense purple; vanilla, cedar, red berry; firm, savory, herby, dry finish (88).
  • Clos Apalta 1999 (65% Merlot/Carménère, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Mable): dense purple, youthful and holding its colour; vanilla, pencil lead, sweet blackcurrant; rich, intense, chocolate, cocoa powder tannins (91).
  • Clos Apalta 2007 (61% Carménère, 12% Merlot, 245 Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot): dense purple; vanilla, pencil lead, blueberry-blackberry nose; firm, mouth-filling, elegant and full in the mouth; beautifully balanced with a tannic lift on the finish (93).

Lunch followed the tasting, on the terrace. Matt Wilson, Andrea's husband, joined us. He is a very talented photographer who has published a couple of books on Chilean wine. The menu: octopus and crab tartar, followed by steak, mashed potatoes with Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Pinot Noir 2008: deep ruby colour; vanilla, black raspberry nose with a mineral note and a hint of violets; plum flavour with a mocha note; a little abrupt on the finish (87). Followed by Clos Apalta 1999 and Clos Apalta 2009. Dessert: Chocolate and vanilla mousse with Lapostolle Late Harvest Semillon 2007.

After lunch Deborah and I both had a massage in our room. Dinner: Grand Marnier Sour on the terrace with grilled shrimps, cheese and papaya on Melba rounds with a spot of hot sauce and cheese and spinach empanadas. At the table, corn soup with a grilled scallop with Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay 2009. Main course: Mahi Mahi, green mashed potatoes, mushroom and pepper stir-fry, with Lapostolle BoRoBo 2007 and Clos Apalta 2007. Dessert: raspberry sorbet, walnuts in honey, coffee mousse with a glass of Grand Marnier. To end, an infusion of home-grown herbs (including lemon balm and mint).

Sunday, January 9: Breakfast on the terrace. Andrea Leon joined me for a tasting of William Fèvre's Chilean wines that Derek Mossman had given me in Santiago.

  • William Fèvre Gran Cuvée Chardonnay 2009 (Maipo): straw; minerally, apple, hint of oak; pear flavour, good spine of acidity but a little on the flat side (86).
  • William Fèvre Espino Carménère 2009 (Central Valley): light for the variety, ruby; vegetal, sweet herbs; plummy, sweet, rustic; soft tannins; commercial style (85).
  • William Fèvre Gran Cuvée Carménère 2008 (Alto Maipo): deep ruby; vanilla, red pepper, vanilla oak, spicy; blueberry-blackberry flavour, chocolate note, firm finish with good oak. Subtle oak (87).
  • William Fèvre Gran Cuvée Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Alto Maipo; 10% Cabernet Franc): deep ruby; cedar, red berry fruit, medicinal note, dry savoury finish with a light floral note. A little short (88).
  • William Fèvre Chacai 2008 (Alto Maipo; 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Carmenère): dense ruby; vanilla oak, red berry, creamy; richly extracted, well balanced, full on the palate but fresh and lively on the palate (90). Cabernet from Alto Maipo is good.

Lunch on the terrace, an aperitif of Lapostolle Casa Sauvignon Blanc 2010. Hors d'oeuvres of Serrano ham with tomato confit, salmon and cream cheese wrap, empanadas filled with cheese, onion and sage. Lunch: Lapostolle Casa Chardonnay 2010 (Casablanca) with ceviche with salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and honey. Main course: bacon-wrapped filet steak with creamed corn and mushroom and pepper salsa, with Lapostolle Casa Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. Dessert: strawberries and cream with lemon sorbet.

After lunch we packed and a driver from Wines of Chile drove us to the airport in Santiago for the flight back home. The flight was delayed two hours because the lavatories didn't work. Then the in-flight movies didn't work and the system had to be rebooted three times. But we arrived home safely from 28°C to –12°C.




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