Wine Tasting In Casablanca Valley, Chile
In October, we took a trip to Santiago, Chile over Columbus Day Weekend. While it might not be possible to travel internationally for some time due to coronavirus travel restrictions, I’d like to share the great experience. Of course, Chile is known for their amazing wines, so it was a must-do activity for us while we were there. We chose to spend a day wine tasting in Casablanca Valley, Chile. Casablanca Valley is about 50 miles outside of Santiago, and it’s a straight shot along the highway.
The drive to Casablanca is beautiful. We decided to leave in order to make it to the first winery as they opened. Online, we read that wineries in Chile are sticklers for reservations, but we only made reservations at one of the locations. We chose three wineries to visit, and then had lunch in the same area. Here’s a review of each winery.
Tasting Hours: 10am-8pm every day
Bodegas RE was the first winery on our list. The winery’s decor was very nice, but the friendliness of the staff and the delicious wine made this my favorite. Bodegas gave a full experience, starting with a tour and describing the concept of the winery.
The sommelier took us to a table with glasses and a plate of cheese, bread, and olive oil made by their property. The wines were unique because they made interesting mixes we had never tried before. For example, they gave us a Pinotel, which is a mix between pinot noir and muscatel. Many of their wines are mixes that make for an interesting tasting experience. In addition, their rosé was out of this world.
The ambience, decor, and service all were amazing at this winery. Of the three, it was definitely my favorite. We purchased two bottles of wine to bring home. This wine does not ship to the United States, so it’s a great choice to bring some home and share with the family (or not)!
After our first winery, we went to get some lunch. I found this place through Yelp, and I highly suggest it as a stop. First off, the restaurant is an adorable house structure surrounded by a nice garden.
The food is absolutely delicious. Of course, you can also order wine from Casablanca Valley, but be prepared that while their wine list is extensive, they only had two right, two reds, and a rose available.
The food was exquisite and absolutely delicious. I had the conejo (rabbit), and it was phenomenal. I definitely would add this as a stop if you are looking to grab a bite to eat mid-wine tasting.
Restaurant Macerado had excellent food, excellent service, and a homy feel. Keep in mind that the restaurant opens around 12:30pm so be sure to time it so you don’t get there too early. Many of the wineries start wine tasting around 10am, so it’s about just the right time to squeeze in a tasting or two before heading for a delicious meal.
Tasting Hours: Various times available
After lunch, we made our way to Indomita. The views from this location are amazing. The tasting room is set above the valley, and you can stand outside viewing the vast valley surrounded by mountains. Unfortunately, that was the extent of enjoyment for this winery.
For starters, Indomita is very commercialized. This is not the cozy, friendly wine tasting experience. That may be what you’re looking for, but felt like going to a wine outlet store more than a tasting room to try wines.
In addition, the service left much to be desired. We walked in and stood in front of a staff member at the cash register. She did not talk to us until we said, “Is this where we do a tasting?” She said yes and handed us a sheet, simply saying, “Pick 5 wines.” We filled out the form, and she poured each glass as we finished the other. We weren’t allowed to stand at the table where she was and had to leave to go to another table and come back when we wanted our other tasting. She never once described the wine or anything about it. The wine was also not anything to rave about.
This was incredibly disappointing since it had such beautiful scenery. You may want to go for the views, but the service and wine itself doesn’t really make it worth it.
Also beware that although they have wine tasting menus on their website, they do not have those menus at the location. As stated above, we got a form listing the wines and selected the ones we wanted. It was very impersonal.
Tasting Hours: Based on season
Price: ~$30 USD
The next and last stop for our taste of Chile wine tour (self-guided) was Emiliana. This location did not disappoint either. The location is on a farm, where you will see chickens and other animals running around as you taste, but in a folksy and nice way.
Emiliana prides itself on its organic and sustainable wines. The staff was incredibly friendly and took so much pride in the wine. They took their time describing the wine and how its made, and took the time to really give the full experience of the wines. As a warning, they had around 6 wines on the tasting menu, and threw in a couple extras.
The wines were amazing, and we purchased two to bring home with us from Emiliana as well.
If you like wine, make sure to venture out for a wine tasting in Casablanca Valley to experience local wines. This review isn’t meant to take away from any of the other vast array of wineries in Casablanca Valley. We just simply only had a day and wanted to take the time to enjoy each one, so we looked based on our specific tastes and preferences.
As another note, I will warn you that the tastings at each winery were more like a half pour of a glass of wine. This is not your little tasting that is typical of the American wineries we have visited. They give a good amount of wine, which actually gives you the opportunity to take in the wine and get a better feel for it.