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Decanter travel guide: Casablanca & Valparaíso, Chile

The latest recruit to the Great Wine Capitals provides the perfect way to experience the exciting Chilean wine scene, says Peter Richards MW.

Casablanca & Valparaíso: where to stay, eat, shop and relax

Hotels

Matetic La Casona
Okay, so it’s actually in San Antonio but the scenic 9,000-hectare Rosario estate is on the border with Casablanca and is tranquillity itself. Thanks to this go-ahead winery’s investments, it also now has a delightful seven-bedroom guesthouse, pool, restaurant (Equilibrio) and gift shop (Emporio), to add to some excellent wines. Both horseback and bike ride excursions are available. matetic.com

Casa Higueras
One of Valparaíso’s best hotels, located on the Cerro Alegre not far from Pasta e Vino. A beautifully restored former mansion with just 20 rooms, stunning views, an infinity pool, spa and a true sense of this city’s grandeur. casahigueras.cl

Palacio Astoreca Hotel
One of Valpo’s new breed of hip boutique hotels, along with the likes of Fauna and Zero. Great views, elegant interiors, engaging wine list and spa facilities all hit the mark. hotelpalacioastoreca.com

Restaurants

Macerado
A former family residence located at the eastern end of Casablanca town, this homespun venue specialises in local (often homegrown) ingredients and dishes. Sample plates include Lo Orozco rabbit in an apricot gravy casserole and Algarrobina frozen cake. macerado.cl

Casa Botha
Charismatic owners David and Carmen Botha have created a snug, eclectic eatery at the eastern end of the valley. The menu features local specialities with a notable Italian influence – gnocchi with home-cured salmon and vodka is a house speciality. The wine list is varied and the welcome warm, as the impressive line-up of empties on the bar demonstrates. casabotha.cl

Pasta e Vino
This buzzy, trendy Valpo eatery sports high bare walls and an Italian style menu. Pared- back seafood and vegetable dishes abound, and the black ravioli with salmon is a real treat. pastaevinoristorante.cl

Tanino
Swish restaurant at the Casas del Bosque winery in the western end of the valley. Chef Alvaro Larraguibel works with winemaker Grant Phelps to offer top-notch pairings: try Wagyu beef parcels with the spicy Syrah. casasdelbosque.cl

Shops

House Casa del Vino
Also an impressive, airy café and restaurant, House is home to the Belén wine family, which includes the brands Morandé, Mancura, Tirazis, Vistamar and Zorzal from Argentina. As well as visiting the boutique winery on site (with concrete eggs), the shop does a decent line in gastro knick-knacks – including olive oils, cookbooks, aprons andthe like – enough to keep any foodie happy. housecasadelvino.cl

Mercado Cardonal, Valparaíso
This bustling, colourful food market is like a microcosm of the city, housed in a historic, if slightly unkempt building. There are traditional-style cafés and restaurants upstairs should the produce make you peckish; Desayunador La Paloma serves the best Malaya pork sandwich in all Chile, according to local resident and Casas del Bosque winemaker Grant Phelps. Corner of Avenidas Brasil and Uruguay.

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