The latest recruit to the Great Wine Capitals provides the perfect way to experience the exciting Chilean wine scene, says Peter Richards MW.
My perfect day in Casablanca & Valparaíso
Casablanca is only an hour’s drive or so outside Santiago, so easily accessible from the capital after breakfast – just try to avoid rush hour on Route 68. A morning tasting wine is the best way to kick off the day and there’s plenty of choice. It’s worth trying to mix the more easily accessible wineries (Casas del Bosque, House Casa del Vino, Bodegas Re, Veramonte and Loma Larga) with a visit to quirkier places like Montsecano or Kingston Vineyards.
For nature lovers, one option is to pick up a picnic and put up a deckchair on the shores of Lake Peñuelas, a national park on the way to Valparaíso. However, the quality of the restaurants in Casablanca has blossomed of late, so you could linger there, and visit one of the local eateries for a plate of food and local wine. Tanino at Casas del Bosque works well, not only because it’s en route to Valparaíso but also because there are plenty of other activities on-site to keep you entertained.
After taking in the serene sights and wines of Casablanca, it’s time to head over to explore the colourful, chaotic and delightfully ramshackle world of Valparaíso. Spend the afternoon riding the funiculars, getting lost in backstreets, enjoying the views over the port and maybe taking in the odd museum if the weather is poor.
Evening and overnight
Valpo has a pretty buzzy nightlife and there are plenty of places to go. For wine lovers, a drink at Café Vinilo (Calle Almte Montt 448) is recommended for its eclectic wine list and vinyl playlist. Then head over to Pasta e Vino for some fine Italian-Chilean fusion food before either hitting the town or crashing at Casa Higueras.