Chile is not a very well known tourist destination on a world-wide scale. Given its natural beauties and the friendly character of its people, it is still a well-kept secret and constitutes a true paradise to discover.
There are many modern transportation and tourism facilities in the region. It is a very safe destination, with no paramilitary groups, dangerous wildlife, nor known sources of disease or infection. Santiago, its capital, is a modern and cosmopolitan city. Modern Chile participates in the global economy through major commercial agreements with the U.S.A., European Union, South Korea, China, Mexico and Canada.
This Is Chile
The Pleasures of the Vine
Many vineyards in the valleys around Santiago have been producing wine for more than 100 years, some with French vinestocks that date to the middle of the 19th century. Chilean wines were introduced to the world in the 1980s, when formerly inexpensive California wines started to jump in price. Since that time, the Chilean wineries have been working furiosly to keep pace with the broadening international demand while steadily trying to improve their product.
An oft-repeated fact about Chilean wine is that the best is reserved for the export market. Although you can find some good quality wines at upscale Chilean restaurants, the big vintners are still concentrating their energy on the international market. To that end, the best wineries are modernizing the growing and fermenting methods (with help from French and Californian oenalogical experts) to produce wines that are better suited for the European and North American markets. These changes have paid off in recent years with improved overall quality of Chilean wines. In fact, a small number of Chilean vintners are already turning out a few truly first-rate wines, including Concha y Toro’s Don Melchor Reserve, Santa Rita’s Casa Real, and Veramonte’s Primus.
As a general rule, Chilean merlots and cabernet sauvignons are more likely to be the full-bodied wines that Americans and Europeans enjoy. Chardonnays and sauvignon blancs are usually not as pleasing to the palate. When you’are considering these different varietals, keep in mind the name of Chile’s largest winery, Concha y Toro. It has a number of different labels (some made exclusively for the Chilean market) that usually offer good value. At one end is the affordable and popular Casillero del Diablo label, at the other is the export-oriented Trio wines. Other reliable wineries that are strong in the domestic market include Errazuriz, Santa Carolina, and Santa Rita. Also, be on the lookout for the smaller Casa Lapostolle winery, whose reds are highly regarded but not as widely available.