It was the lure of the exotic that brought Amanda Barnes – a journalist and writer from Hampshire, England – to South America. Surprisingly it wasn’t until she arrived in Argentina that she discovered a passion for wine and food, and was particularly seduced by the Mendoza region. As she discovered Chile and other parts of the continent, she carved a niche in writing about food, wine and travel in Latin America. Now she is embarking on a journey of truly epic proportions, attempting to visit 42 wine-producing countries during their vintages in the space of two years. Every step will be chronicled and communicated extensively, with the idea of subscribers joining the odyssey through a number of different media. On this episode of The Vincast Amanda talks about how she became such an authority of the wines of South America, and how she conceived of this ambitious concept to travel Around the World in 80 Harvests.
Kuyen 2009 Strawberries and cream, good earthy red currants, almond oil. Extremely intense, very tight, full flavoured but not hot, harmonious fruit balance.
Antiyal 2009 Dusty cilantro cumin and cassis, very closed, somewhat volatile. Luxurious velvety tannins, extremely bright black fruit, leathery earth late on the palate, good dirty grainy tannins, juicy red raspberries and blueberries.
And thus through the error of circumstance I returned to Santiago two nights earlier than I originally intended. Whilst I wasn’t too thrilled about having to come back and suffer the trials and tribulations of driving in Santiago, I knew that I could get a few visits to wineries whilst there. As mentioned in my last post, I got the opportunity to meet Julio Bouchon Jnr. and his winemaker for a tasting of the J. Bouchon wines in their Santiago offices, and was also treated to a lovely dinner with my official Chilean host, Jaime Rosello. Jaime was again instrumental in me getting appointments for my final day in Chile, back again in the Maipo Valley. Over dinner I filled him in on the experiences I had further South whilst in the Colchagua, Curico, Maule and Cachapoal regions. At El Bacco where we ate, they also had Neyen by the glass, so I got to try the 2005 vintage, which interestingly tasted younger than the 2006. I will forever be indebted to Don Jaime for all of his generosity, time and connections for making my first trip to Chile so memorable.
Frustrations and difficulties continued on the roads of Santiago, resulting in me being almost an hour late for my only appointment for the day. It reflects poorly on myself, and I feel really guilty that I am keeping people waiting. Leaving Santiago should be much easier, but I’m not holding my breath, as the navigator just doesn’t help at all. It’s a little bit funny when you look at my tracking and see that there is a lot of circling and wrong turns, and I’ve covered a lot of ground in one city. The second winery recommended to me by Daniela Penno from Wines of Chile and Argentina was Santa Rita, located in the Alto Jahuel, Buin in the Maipo Valley. The winery was the first to produce registered wines in Chile, and the estate is one of the oldest in the country. It dates back to when land was awarded to wealthy families (usually those making their fortunes in mining), to turn into haciendas. The purpose of the hacienda was to run agriculture and allow workers to live on the property that were provided for by the owners. Thus many estates such as Santa Rita, Santa Carolina and Concha y Toro would have communities living on the estate, complete with schools and churches. An important part of Chile’s history occurred on the estate, when 120 escaping revolutionary soldiers were hidden in the cellars. From here they escaped from the advancing Spanish army across the Andes into Argentina, where they raised another army to return and win freedom for Chile several years later.
Like I was saying, it’s really hard to get around in Santiago in a car. It’s bad enough that roads make no sense and drivers seem to have no sense, but my navigator won’t even tell me what roads to go on! A passenger in the car today would have been appalled at the expletives coming out of my mouth in sheer frustration. If anyone knows anything about Garmin Nuvi 1300s please let me know because I can’t take much more of this. It took me 1.5 hours to travel 30km today! It almost ruins the spectacular scenery of the Andes Mountains towering over the Maipo Valley.
What a difference a day makes! It most certainly is a big change going from North America to South, not just because of the language difficulties, but the difference in setting. Adding on the difference in temperature and hours of daylight and it makes for an interesting transition. On first impressions Santiago seems like a relatively poor city in a developing kind of way, and from a certain perspective it is. Having travelled directly from New York City this is a somewhat unfair comparison. On closer inspection Santiago is a vibrant, bustling and growing city, and is as modern as many in Asia or Europe. Just be careful of anything valuable within easy reach, as it is likely to be snatched away, as I witnessed first hand. I won’t bore you with details about what I got up to in Santiago, because it’s pretty much the same stuff as what everyone does when they get here. If you haven’t already visited I do recommend making the trip, as it is an eye-opening experience.
The Vincast - a Wine Podcast with The Intrepid Wino
Wine - Wine People - Wine Culture
A podcast about wine, wine culture and wine people. Every week a different guest from the wine industry joins host The Intrepid Wino (aka James Scarcebrook) for a casual chat about the world of wine.
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