Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Viña Concha y Toro

That morning I had rung up the Concha y Toro vineyard to reserve a spot on their English-language tour that afternoon. We were pretty lucky to get a place, as you're supposed to let them know at least four days in advance.

Getting there on public transport is not entirely trivial. We caught the Metro to the end of the line, and then a number 80 bus out towards Pirque. For some reason our bus insisted on going along practically every little detour it could find, so we finally arrived about half an hour late. (Very embarrassing for English people to be late!).

The guy on the door recommended that we wait and join the 16.00 tour in Spanish, which would have been OK, but we kind of got swept along with things, and ended up joining the second half of the 15.00 English tour. After that was over, we joined the Spanish tour anyway, so we got one-and-a-half tours in total. Which turned out to be a very good thing.

The tour starts outside the original mansion in which the vineyard's founder lived, with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc, goes through the gardens, and stops for a rest next to the Cabernet Sauvignon vines. In the shade of the surrounding trees, we tried a glass of the Concha y Toro Merlot - very nice, we both thought - and then moved on to the cellars underground. We marvelled at the extra-expensive wines down there - each barrel of their best stuff is worth US$15,000, and there are a lot of barrels! Sadly we didn't get to try any of that... We finished up in the wine shop, where we got to try some Cabernet Sauvignon, which was OK, but not a patch on the Merlot, or the white.

Of course, we got rather more wine than we'd bargained for, because we did the tour twice (purely by mistake, honest!). Needless to say we were rather merry by the time we'd finished the second tour, and so the journey back to our hotel seemed to go much more quickly! We got to keep the glasses we'd been trying the wine in, so we've now got two gorgeous "Concha y Toro"-brand red wine glasses - which will almost inevitably break before we can get them home.

So, now we're big fans of Concha y Toro wine - check it out in Sainsbury's. CyT is Chile's biggest vineyard. Their most expensive stuff, Don Something-or-other, costs about $50 a bottle, but their Trio range is much more affordable (we saw it in the shops here for about $4, though it'll probably be more expensive in England).


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