Wine Celebration On The Highest Level

Given that the foggy weather spoiled our plans for the beach we decide to have some wine after all. Not that we didn't have any wine so far on our trip ... The last part of our long trip through Chile and Argentina brings us to the most important wine regions of both countries. In Chile we visit Valle Maule and Valle De Colchagua and in Argentina we can’t leave without at least a short visit to Mendoza. This gives us an excellent opportunity to compare how they make and celebrate wine combined with some tastings of course. ;-)


One questions we get asked again and again is: “Which wine is better?” No, we don’t dare to answer this question. However, what we can say is that the wines from Chile are more European style compared to the ones from Argentina. Needless to say that we tasted excellent wines in both countries! They are just a bit different.


One thing that we also noticed is that while every winery we visited in Chile pointed out that they are certified for bio dynamic and organic production this was not mentioned at all in Argentina. Despite the fact that most of them probably are. In general we found organic food is a much more relevant topic in Chile anyway. While in Europe we find that there is a discussion if organic wine production makes actual sense or not in Chile it’s rather difficult to not do it. That’s simply based on the fact that they have such excellent conditions as well as plants from Europe from before the time when Phylloxera (“Reblaus”) destroyed most of the plants in the 19th century. Making it one of the rare countries that have escaped this threat.


Art and wine goes together very well. Most of the bodegas we visit have some art collection or even an art museum. Some have also very cool hotels or posadas and for some nights we abandon our camper van and enjoy a proper bed and a proper bathroom before hitting the road for the long drive back to Buenos Aires.

A very big difference is how the wineries use oak barrels or steel tanks. It also corresponds with the price of the wine of course. Pretty much all cheaper wines are produced in steel tanks these days. Some wineries even use oak pallets in the steel tanks for the cheaper lines while the expensive wines are all produced in oak barrels of various sizes aged for various periods of time.


The wine making however starts well before you have it in the barrels independent of steel or oak. First you need to make sure the plants are healthy, get enough sun and water. Secondly we wee significant differences in how they select and clean the grapes after the harvest. For the premium line they manually detach the grapes from the stem and pick only the best ones. For the cheaper lines they use machines with some level of manual sorting afterwards.


After all these very interesting insights into wine making the most important thing for us is that the wine tastes well. Coming from a steel tank or an oak barrel it has certainly an impact. However, we just need to like the smell and taste of the wine. Yes, there are quite some wines we really like. A small collection we even bring with us back to good old Europe. :-)

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