When my dad and his wife Jane began planning a trip to Chile for October, I requested that they work around one of the two long weekends both so that I’d have more time to spend with them and so that we could go on a little getaway from Santiago. We’ve been to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar a couple times, and we’ve done plenty of wine tasting around Santiago, so I figured it was time for a longer trip to Chilean wine country.
The Colchagua Valley is home to some of the best wines in the world and some of my family’s favorites, so a couple days there sounded perfect. When I first looked at a map, I was slightly overwhelmed – with so many vineyards that we know and like, how would we ever choose? In the end, we decided to go to Casa Silva, Montes, Viu Manent and Lapostolle.
Casa Silva was our first stop as it’s just off the freeway near San Fernando, at the entrance to Colchagua Valley. This was my most selfish choice. Every time Rodolfo and I go to Curicó, we pass the sign for Casa Silva, and I’ve always been tempted to stop off for a visit. We’re always with Lola, however, which makes impromptu wine tasting a bit more complicated. So while I fully expected everyone else to enjoy the Casa Silva tour, I made the reservation to satisfy my own curiosity.
Long weekends in Santiago – or rather, trying to get out of Santiago – always mean traffic. Usually I hear reports of the roads being bad after work on the first day of the holiday, so I thought we’d be golden leaving Santiago at 9:30 on Saturday morning. Not so much. A drive that should take less than 2 hours took fully 2.5, but Casa Silva was accommodating enough to push back both our tour and our lunch reservations.
Once we finally arrived, the surroundings made our drive worth it. Casa Silva has only been selling wine commercially since the late 90s, but it has been a vineyard for around 100 years. Much of the tour focused on the history of the property and the buildings, which we all felt gave it a unique touch.
These vats, for example, are made of concrete. They were made in the late 1930s, when metal was scarce, and the vineyard still uses them, although today they’re lined with steel.
The current owner of Casa Silva is a classic car buff, and he has his prized possessions on display in the oldest part of the building. Our guide, Isabel, explained that she’s had words with the owner about this as she seems to lose a lot of the male tourists on this particular part of the tour, and our group was no exception.
We also got a tour of the hotel, which looks like your rich friend’s comfy country house. The common area begged us to sit down and stay awhile, but vino lured us back to the tasting room to complete our visit.
Somehow we missed getting photos of the actual tasting – clearly we were busy with more important tasks like drinking. We went for the basic reserva tasting and had Chardonnay, Carmenere, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Syrah was my personal favorite, and we all agreed that we’ll likely buy it in the future. All of the wines were extremely drinkable and went down smoothly.
We might have been tempted to order another glass – the tasting area is set up as a mini wine bar in the visitors’ center/shop, and they do wines by the glass in addition to tastings – but our lunch reservation was calling. So it was back in the car to drive further down Casa Silva’s dirt road to the restaurant and what we were sure would be a delicious meal.