Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Day of Wine and Roses

First the roses: Congratulations to the Amazon top one hundred semi-finalists in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
I've got a lot of reading to do. Only three of the excerpts I reviewed made the cut, even though I felt my choices all deserved either 4 or 5 stars and I would definitely want to read the full manuscript. However, this all leads me to believe that subjectivity plays a very important part in what gets picked for publication. In other words, there are probably thousands of very good manuscripts out there that are never in print and thus never read by the masses.

Now back to my ongoing travelblog of our South American tour.

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Whether it’s the thirst quenching embrace of a chilled Riesling on a hot summer’s day, or the mellowed, fruity taste of a fine cabernet with dinner: as the Psalmist once stated, “wine makes the heart rejoice.” Even John Milton, that puritan poet of the 17th century affirms,” Wine; one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.”

Since both my husband and I are lovers of the grape, when I realized we would be spending several days in Chile’s central valley, I knew we simply had to schedule some tasting tours at a few of the countries great wineries.

Our tour company sent around the perfect guide for us—a transplanted wine affection ado from the province of Alberta, Canada. He arrived as a tourist in Santiago about ten years ago; fell in love with a Spanish beauty with whom he has a daughter; and has studied viniculture ever since. The two days we spent with him learning about the art of wine were fantastic.

On the first day we headed south to the Maipo Valley, a lovely spot reminiscent of California’s Napa Valley. Fruit orchards, vegetable patches and, of course, miles of vineyards line the winding two lane roads that etch the valley. Our first winery, the Perez Cruz family’s beautiful estate, was situated in the Alto (high) Maipo region. Here we sampled their Gold winning Limited Edition Syrah Reserve 2004. Red wine doesn’t come much better than this. Their new ultra modern storage area was outstanding and an eye opener as to how far wine making has come in this country.

We then headed to a small, private museum of wine where the owner showed us some of the original primitive methods used by the early Spaniards. Fascinating to be able to see the difference one hundred years has made to this art. The history lesson over, our tour guide took us for lunch to the perfect spot in keeping with the mood of the early settlers—an 18th century hacienda built in rambling ranchero style. Here, while we waited for our meal of mouth-watering wild salmon from cold South Pacific waters, we sat on a cool veranda and drank delicious pisco sours made with Chilean Pisco Brandy, egg whites, lemon juice and sugar. By now, we were beginning to wonder if our livers could keep up to all this, but didn’t feel like hurting our hosts’ feelings by refusing.

One final winery visit in the afternoon and then we were whisked back to Santiago and our comfortable city center hotel for the evening. Needless to say we slept very well that night.

(Next time – our final days in Santiago)

1 comment:

  1. I sure appreciate your review, and feel the same... some really good ones I read were passed over, and vice versa...

    but I'm happy to have moved on!

    looking froward to hearing about those last days...