Concha y Toro Vineyard
By Sydney Tong on March 01, 2017. Read time: 3 mins.
Concha y Toro is Chile's most famous vineyard. Wine lovers from all over the world head to Chile to taste the world's best Carmenere and to learn the tale of Casillero del Diablo.
Don Melchor was living in France when he heard of the quality of Chilean soil. He packed up the finest vine stocks and headed to Santiago where he founded Concha y Toro in 1883. His vineyard expanded and by 1970, Concha y Toro was the first Chilean vineyard to export to five continents.
During the 1990s, the Cameneré grape, which was previously only grown in Bordeaux, was rediscovered after being thought to be extinct for over 100 years. This variety of grape along with Cabernet Sauvignon cemented Chile's reputation in the wine industry. Nowadays, Concha y Toro is well-known amongst wine lovers across the globe.
Chile is known for its Carmeneré style wines but also produces some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines that can compete against the top California wines. We headed over to Concha y Toro to see what the hype was all about and we left forever loyal fans.
Book your reservations at least 24-hours ahead of time online.
The estate overlooks the vineyards
I loved picking the grapes straight from the vine
The tour begins with a walk through the garden as the guide explains the history of Concha y Toro. Rows of grape vines line the back of the residence where Melchor and his family spent their summers. We walked through the lines of grapes and sampled many different varieties straight from the vine. I loved snacking on the Gewürztraminer variety, it is a tasty grape that is used in white wine. After we finished sampling the grapes we walked up to the veranda overlooking the estate and our guide poured us generous servings of Sauvignon Blanc. The lightly crisp wine was a chilled relief from the hot summer sun.
The tour led us through their temperature controlled aging room. They keep the temperature rather cool to prevent the wine from evaporating from the barrels and from spoiling. After some detailed explanations and a glass of Carmeneré from the Gran Reserva series, we headed to the oldest wine cellar on the property.
Barrels of aging wine locked in their cellars
Tours can be given in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
In the dark and cold cellar, our guide recounted the legend of Casillero del Diablo. The legend connected to the wine is what made Concha y Toro famous worldwide. Several years after Melchor founded the vineyard, the quality of his wines began to gain a reputation among the locals.
Strangers would sneak in during the night to steal bottles from him. In order to halt the theft, Melchor started a rumor that he had seen the devil appear on the property and it resided in the cellar. He started the rumor among his workers and it subsequently spread to the town deterring the thefts. After listening to the story of Casillero del Diablo we sampled a smooth blend of Syrah and Carmeneré from the Casillero del Diablo 2013 series.
El Diablo lurking in the cellar
Once we finished the tour we enjoyed 'oncé' at the wine bar. 'Oncé' refers to a late lunch or early dinner in Chile. We ordered pastel de choclo, which is a Chilean sweet corn pie with beef and veggies, and paired it with a 2011 Carmeneré. We spoke to one of the vineyard's sommeliers for advice on wine pairings and other special products.
Pastel del choclo is a Chilean favorite
Included in the tour are 3 glasses of wine and an engraved wine glass.
Cheers from us to you.
Getting to the vineyard via public transportation is very easy and takes about and hour and a half. Take the blue line to Las Mercedes Station and exit through 'Concha y Toro Poniente'. From there take either bus number 72, 80 or 81 to the vineyard which will cost about 650CP. Taking a taxi from the metro station to the vineyard will cost 4,000CP. For a faster trip, rent a car and drive to the vineyard. From Santiago, the trip could take less than 30-minutes if traffic permits.
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