By Tim O’Rourke, San Jose Mercury News
Chile is home to world-class wineries, but it offers so much more.
From the lunarlike landscapes of the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia in the south to the towering Andes in the east to the cosmopolitan capital of Santiago, it’s a country of vibrant cultures, stunning vistas and countless opportunities to make memories.
But so what? You’re going for the wine.
If you have only a few short days in the longest north-south country in the world, fear not: Here’s a step-by-step guide for a whirlwind wine tour starting in Santiago and ending in one of Chile’s premier winemaking regions, the Colchagua Valley.
Step 9: Viva la Viu; it’s not a secret
After an extended tasting at Lapostolle, you’ll be hungry. Head to Viu Manent’s nearby San Carlos de Cunaco vineyard and grab a table out back at the Rayuela restaurant and settle in for a memorable meal filled with simple, seasonal ingredients highlighting the Colchagua Valley’s world-class agriculture and Chile’s nearly 4,000 miles of coastline. For an affordable bottle to remember, order from the Secreto line. The base grapes are carmenere, syrah, malbec or pinot noir, but the blend, as the name implies, is a secret. After lunch, take a tour of Viu, one of the country’s first wineries, where some of the vines are more than 120 years old.