On Thursday, December 22nd (I know, we are the worst bloggers ever) we had the pleasure of touring four wineries in the Casablanca and San Antonio valleys. My always sacrificial mother offered to stay at our condos and entertain Jackson for the whole day, while the rest of us indulged in fine wine and good food.

The Casablanca valley is endowed with the cool Pacific breezes, but not burdened with its humidity thanks to its location 20 km inland of the San Antonio valley. This climate is ideal for many varietals of white wine, reds of cool weather, and the Chilean classic: carmenere.

We first stopped at Loma Larga, a precious, boutique winery with a unique cellar that is under the vines above. We enjoyed the personalized tour and we pleasantly surprised by the quality of their wines. In fact, Jennifer’s new favorite red is their 2008 Malbec.

Next, we toured the organic vineyard, Emiliana, learning about their rather unique practices. They focus on biodiversity (hence the chickens roaming the vineyard) and avoiding use of agrochemicals (including fertilizer, which they produce naturally from all the farm animals). Interestingly, they ran into a problem in the past year with foxes intruding into the vineyard to feast on the biodiversity. Now, the chickens are safe in their little field house, but with an early curfew! Additionally, Emiliana is a huge believer in “biodynamic agriculture,” as derived from the ideas of the Austrian-Hungarian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. We had a chance to see the biodynamic preparations made by the winery and used in accordance with the biodynamic calendar to revitalize the precious earth from which they produce grapes.

For lunch, we headed over to House of Morande. Pairings were marvelous and the scenery was spectacular. Even better, the prices of their wines were an absolute steal! Caro and I took home three bottles all for the price of one in Bolivia (and around $10).

Finally, we wrapped up our decadent day at Matetic, the only winery outside of the Casablanca valley. Situated in the San Antonio valley just a few kilometers from the Pacific shoreline, Matetic specializes in a number of white wines. That said, don’t count their reds out! The winemaker’s special red blend, Corralillo, will leave you with a smile.

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