Courtney Kingston
 
August 28, 2013 | Travel | Courtney Kingston

Wineries to Visit in Casablanca

One of the most common questions we get from our friends and guests to our family's winery is "what other wineries should I visit on my day trip to Casablanca?"   We thought we'd do a post on our favorite recommendations of neighboring wineries---where we like to go ourselves on a day off.  They all share our focus on handcrafted wines, and we can testify first-hand of their gracious hospitality.  It's not an exhaustive list, but instead we hope a reliable short list of other Casablanca wineries you'll enjoy visiting as much as Kingston.

As a side note, like us, these wineries are small and usually unable to keep a full time visit staff so tours must be booked in advance by at least a day to ensure tour availability.  For those tours with lunch options, even more time might be necessary to plan your visit.  In general, the rule is the more in advance you book your tour, the better.  We've also made sure that at all the wineries we mention here have tours in both English and Spanish and sometimes other languages. ---Eliana Arredondo

Alejandra Gutiérrez of Loma Larga showing the vines that grow over the bodega.

Loma Larga

A wonderful winery, you’ll be warmly welcomed to Loma Larga by their tour guide, Alejandra Gutiérrez who will take you on a walk around the small family-owned winery that is doing great things with cool climate reds and whites.  The winery, which sits far into the ranch owned by the Díaz family is a lovely setting with lots of fruit trees and a neat underground bodega which has grapevines growing on its roof.  The tour ends in a tasting of five wines in one of the cosy little houses they have near the bodega and which have been converted into tasting rooms.  One of my favorite things about the tour here was Alejandra's extensive knowledge of the winemaking process and of wines in general having taken several sommelier courses.  Chilean, she's also trained as a translator and is fluent in at least three languages, Spanish, English and French and loves to practice her French with any of you francophones out there.  Also, I'm a huge fan of their Chilean Malbec (named by Descorchados as the best Malbec in Chile) so when you're scheduling a visit, ask in advance if you can try it.

To make reservations, go to their website or you can email Alejandra at tienda@lomalarga.com

Rodrigo Gómez at Bodegas RE with a glass of their white pinot noir.

Bodegas RE

The latest winery to be opened by Pablo Morandé, the winemaker/"discoverer" of Casablanca as a winemaking valley, they not long ago opened for tours.  More than just a winery, they also produce balsamic vinegar and flavored alcohols which are sold in their shop, reminiscent of a small Italian cantina filled with countless other products made in Chile.  In terms of wine, however, one of the most unique things about the wine they produce is that it is fermented only in oak barrels, clay pots and even larger clay tanks, which makes for an exciting tour. You can even plan to have lunch inside their wine cave among the clay barrels which you won’t find anywhere else in the stainless steel dominated Casablanca Valley.  Even more interesting than the manner in which Bodegas RE produces its wines are the wines themselves.  Full of strange and intriguing combinations, one of their most interesting wines, which I fell in love with, was their $25.000 CLP ($50 USD) white pinot noir called REvelation.  Discovered by accident by the winemakers, this wine has gone on to win numerous awards in Chile and abroad.  With the nose of a fine port, this white pinot noir tastes like you’re drinking pinot noir with a rather strange but not unpleasant twist.

To make reservations, go to their website or you can email at contacto@bodegasre.cl

The first stop on the Quintay tour in and around the winery.

Quintay

Also somewhat new to the tourism scene in Casablanca Valley, Quintay opened its doors to guests in early 2012.  A co-op of wineries throughout the Casablanca valley, Quintay blends of berries of the same varietal from their different vineyards to craft delicious wines and a diverse tour experience.  The tours, which are planned by their young tour guide, Rocio, lead you on small circuit in and around the winery, so be sure to bring your walking shoes.  You’ll get to see some of their newest grape vines which are all organic and the unique architecture of the winery which lets in enough sun for them to use natural light most of the working day.  You’ll also get to step onto the winery floor and taste different wines straight from the barrel. Since Quintay sources their grapes from different growers all over the valley, you’ll get to compare wines from distinct regions of Casablanca and see how much the micro climates within the valley affect the same grape varietal.  After doing some barrel tasting, you’ll get to try the wines themselves, from the bottle, and compare even further the final blends.  Excitingly, at the end of this year they're slated to start building some new visitor installations with views over the valley.

To make reservations, go to their website or you can email Rocío at turismo@quintay.com

The beautiful tiles and architecture of Casa Marín.

Casa Marín

This winery doesn’t sit in the Casablanca Valley, rather the San Antonio Valley not too far away, but is worth the trip.  With a beautiful bodega decorated with ceramic tiles made by the sister of the winery’s founder and owner, Maria Luisa (Marilu) Marín.  One of the first female winemakers in the area María Luisa resisted others protests that she was planting her vineyards too close to the sea and has survived to be a very successful winery  Her son Felipe, is now the winemaker and year after year the winery continues to win awards for its outstanding wines.  My favorite is their Sauvignon Blanc named by Descorchados as the best Sauvignon Blanc in Chile.  Reminiscent of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc theirs is fruity and so aromatic that you can smell the orange blossoms before your nose even approaches the glass.   In addition to the great wines you'll try at Casa Marín, another benefit of making the trip out to San Antonio is the restaurant, El Sauce, located in the tiny town of Lo Abarca where Casa Marín sits and Casa Marin’s beautiful bungalow, which is, as mentioned in our blog post on hotels in Chile, a great place to stay if you’re in wine country.

To make reservations, go to their website or you can email Isabel at hospitality@casamarin.cl

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To visit Kingston Family Vineyards, email us at guests@kingstonvineyards.com

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