Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pirque Wine Festival and Concha y Toro

We recently went to the annual wine festival here and enjoyed it immensely. Pirque and the surrounding area is home to many(20?) vineyards. We live near the Concha y Toro Pirque vineyards(drive by going to town). The festival was lots of fun, many wines to taste and complimentary wine glass-for $5000 pesos, hehe. I forgot my camera-darn it. We ran into some friends and we all tasted and tasted(and many vineyards had an English speaking representative). There's a lot of wine here and it's all good. The climate here is perfect and vines here were originally imported from France , largely because there was a disease there killing the old grapevines so to protect them, some were sent to Chile.

Lots of food and booths and interesting things for sale. People in this area don't seem to preserve/can foods at home(like mom so many years ago back in Montana) but at the booths there were a number of women selling pretty jars of various strange canned fruit with spicy additives such as garlic. Odd combinations and fun to look at. But I don't want my fruit with garlic. The local artisans had an array of carved and homemade items-I couldn't resist the older lady who had made little monk outfit wine covers. Or the man who had made little wood stoves(everyone has one here) that actually had smoke coming out the stove pipe(little incense burners).

There was rides for the children and food everywhere. Everyone seemed happy and many carried a glass of wine around. I could have stayed into the evening but we didn't and missed the dancing later on.

We also finally took a tour(last week) at Concha y Toro, which we drive by almost daily. Very strange to see the same field from inside instead of outside. We visited the famous devil's cellar but what I didn't realize is that the cellar(made in the old way of bricks and mortar) is the same (cold) temperature as above which is cooled in a modern fashion(with evaporative coolers). The field we drive by on our way home is actually a field of cabernet grapes and is one of their best, the guide says-slated for the best wine. The grapes are tiny and sweet(yes, she encouraged us to taste).

Concha y Toro sells wine for everyone. They sell everything from boxed wine to Don Melchor(their most expensive wine). And Don Melchor is the wine actually kept in the old cellar, not the Casillero del Diablo that bears the name. I have to say they don't make a bad red wine.

The original mansion built on the grounds had 20 bedrooms which are now offices and has French period architecture everywhere, many statues on the grounds, which I believe she said is 58 acres. The Concha y Toro Vineyard was founded by Melchor Santiago de Concha y Cerda and his wife, Emiliana Subercaseaux, in 1883. To start the winery, he brought grape varieties from the Bordeaux region in France.

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