Chile: Santiago and Wine Tasting in Maipo Valley

Landing in Santiago, Chile, itinerary in hand, ready for “The Best of Chile and Argentina tour,” the 8-day excursion I had selected with Intrepid Travel. The tour consisted of 2-day stops in Santiago, Mendoza, Bariloche, and Buenos Aires. A perfect introduction to the countries I’ve wanted to visit for a very long time.

Our first night in Santiago, the group met tour leader, Juan Sanchez and fellow travellers: two couples from Australia and six solo women from Australia, Canada, and South Africa. The perfect group size!

View of Santiago from the rooftop of the hotel.

View of Santiago from the rooftop of the hotel.

Santiago, Chile is a modern city offering many ways to immerse yourself in its rich culture, such as art museums, cafes, bars, and historical districts. The city is surrounded by mountains, creating stunning vistas.  On a walking tour of the city, led by Juan, we were taken to the Plaza des Armes.

Plaza Des Armas - teaming with shoppers and office workers.

Plaza De Armas – teaming with shoppers and office workers.

Catedral Metropolitana built in 1748.

Catedral Metropolitana built in 1745.

Catedral Metropolitana -inside view.  Stunning architecture from the early Spanish colonial period.  The Catedral has suffered from damage many times from earthquakes.

Catedral Metropolitana -inside view. Stunning architecture from the early Spanish colonial period. The Catedral has suffered from damage many times from earthquakes.

We stopped at Bella Vista barrio, for our first group dining experience, at “Agua Para Chocolate.” The restaurant is inspired by the book “Like Water for Chocolate.”  The food is delicious and the menu features a combination of Mexican and Chilean dishes.  Ordering the Filete al Lodo (filet of beef  with sweet potatoes) dish and Shrimp appetizer.  It was delectable and artistically presented.

Shrimp Appetizers

Shrimp Appetizers

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Filete al Lodo

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Bella Vista, a Mecca for tourists and natives of Santiago, features smart bars, restaurants, and cafés. The later it gets, the busier it gets in dining establishments.

Tip: Expect to spend as much for dining out in Santiago as you do in North America.  It was a bit of an eye-opener for me. 

Wine Tasting at Concha Y Toro

Our program had winery tours marked for Mendoza. However, with New Year’s Eve celebrations about to be in full swing and it being a national holiday in Argentina, we ventured over to the Concha Y Toro, just outside of Santiago. Located in the Maipo Valley, the winery was established in 1883 by Don Melchor Concha y Toro, a prominent Chilean politician. Today, the business is an international conglomerate, exporting wine around the world.

Entrance to Concha Y Toro

Entrance to Concha Y Toro

We toured the Pirque Viejo vineyard and the French-inspired estate grounds of the founding family, followed by wine tastings on the patio. It was very busy at the winery with many tour groups and visitors from around the world.

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Locals believe that the devil lives in the depths of the wine cellar  and hence the wine is named “Casillero del Diablo”, the Devil’s Cellar.

The wine cellar

The wine cellar

Our tasting  included 6 labels ranging from white Cabernet Sauvignon to bold Cabernet Sauvignon.   Many of these labels you may recognize at your local wine store from Trio’s to Cassillero del Diablo.

Wine Tastings

Wine Tastings

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Finishing off our perfect morning, we stopped for lunch at a Chilean steakhouse and grill, El Manso Toro. I had a perfect empanada and avocado celery salad.  The Asado of mixed grill beef, ordered by the table, looked mouthwatering.

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Disclosure: My tour was partially assisted by Intrepid Travel.  All opinions expressed in this article are my unbiased views.

4 Comments

  • Michele says:

    Great article – nice overview of Santiago and its foodie and liquid delights. Great photos too!

  • Germán Pino says:

    Nice overview of Santiago, Bellavista is a great place if you want to have fun, good bars – good clubs – great people.
    But what about Concha y Toro?!! Sure Casillero del Diablo is the most popular wine from Chile, but from the touristic point of view, it´s not the place if you want to have a really awesome time.
    I’m sure you can find a better experience in this vineyards:
    Santa Rita or Perez Cruz (Maipo Valley)
    San Esteban – Errazuriz (Aconcagua Valley)
    Emliana Organic – Morande – Matetic (Casablanca Valley)
    MontGras – Viu Mament – Montes (Colchagua Valley)
    You can visit all these places in a 5-6 tour, or one valley per day
    If you need help, contact me I would love to help you.

    • Parm says:

      Appreciate for your feedback. We had only morning to visit a winery on our group tour and this was the closest the tour leader was able to arrange. Once I do a return visit to Chile will definitely love to chat with you to visit the wineries you have mentioned. Thank you.

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