Jesse and I started our current trip way back on December 18th. We flew to Santiago, Chile, and were standing in the customs line ran into another teacher. During this accidental rendezvous, we discussed getting together to do a winery tour on the next day. I, being the wine connoisseur that I am, really voted for the tour.
Chile is world renowned for its wines, and there are wineries all over the central area of Chile. We decided to go to the most famous winery, Concha y Toro, because unlike some of the other wineries, we actually drink this wine at home.
As we walked along the tour, we saw the storage facilities where the wine is kept in oak barrels. It was interesting, because they use mainly oak wood to make the barrels, and most of the oak is shipped in from the U.S. One type of wine, called carmenere, is only grown/made in Chile, and the grape variety was only rediscovered in Chile a few years ago.
Concha y Toro exports more wine than any other winery in Chile. The tours take place at where the winery started, and part of the tour grounds are where the proprietor used to live. The Concha y Toro label has many different lines, from pretty cheap to exquisite.
Outside of the tour were large casks of wine just waiting for a beautiful picture to be taken.
The winery offers a wine tasting with a sommelier, to teach us a little bit about the different types of wine they have. Each type of wine (merlot, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, and carmenere) has a specific type of cheese or flavor that helps bring out the flavor in the wine. I didn't actually think it was true, that cheese or a specific food really accentuated a wine, but its true. It was amazing how much more body the wine had after tasting the cheese. We learned the correct way to breath wine to allow for all the flavors to be enjoyed, and how to properly taste test different styles of wines.
After the sommelier was finished teaching us everything she knew about wine, we were able to finish our wine, take a glass with us, and scout out the wine shop. It was a really nice way to spend part of a day, and we definitely plan on taking our newly found wine knowledge with us on our next trip to the grocery store.