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Published: October 8th 2014
Breath-taking view of vineyards
5:10 p.m. We are on the bus finishing our trip today after a splendid lunch at Matetic Vineyards that lasted until almost 4:30!
We had a late start this morning (sleep-in, hooray!), and drove about an hour through the coastal mountains. They are old, low, rounded and covered in scrubby bush and trees. We travelled through the Casablanca Valley, a winegrowing region, into the St Anthony Valley, which was thought to be unsuitable for wine production until the Matetic Vineyards (Jugoslav-Coatian owner) proved otherwise.
Our delightful Matetic guide, Marielena, explained that this 1999 farm was completely organic, as evidenced by the booming noise cannons scaring away the birds. All the vineyards were on the slopes of the valley. Matetic also grows many fruit trees and is experimenting with blueberries. Additionally they raise cattle and llamas.
The wine production building nestled into the hill was designed by a Norwegian, all wood, glass and steel. Steel fermentation casks are visible through windows but are not accessible to outsiders. We toured down into the oval cave built into and under the hill to keep chilled – which it was indeed! Our wine tasting was upstairs on the deck overlooking vineyards across
A few moments of contemplation before the delicious lunch
the valley. For the first time I didn’t like the white wine, a very dry Riesling with an overly oak flavour, in my view. (The oenologist in Buenos Aires taught us we can say anything about wine, if we underline it is our view.) The red “Winemaker’s Blend” was better, but still too much oak for the fruit, for me. Of all the wineries, only this one orders oak wood from France and has the barrels made in Chile.
A short ride brought us to the resort that is part of the Matetic business venture. We hung out in the enclosed formal garden: boxwood enclosures in a mandala design with late roses and other flowers. Close by was a small swimming pool and some sunbathing guests.
We were ushered to a long dining room with a single elongated oval table set in formal linens and cutlery. When everyone was seated, James introduced himself as the server of our lunch, and he introduced the menu and wines. Everything was made on the estate, including their first production of olive oil. Also, for the first time the small biscuit/rolls were a nutty whole wheat rather than white flour. First course
Marvellous artwork in the river-side park
was a lovely whole-leaf salad of red leaf and butter lettuces, cress, endive and for me prosciutto instead of marinated goat cheese. Second course for me was beef braised for eight hours and potatoes sliced and cooked in olive oil. It would have been more delicious if it had been less salty. The Pinot Noir blend red wine was excellent. For dessert the others had homemade cheesecake with raspberry sauce, and I had flavourful fresh fruits: mango, strawberries and local apple that tasted like pear. Coffee to follow if wanted. We drifted out of the resort to the bus for the drive to Santiago.
5:40 p.m. As we enter greater Santiago, the telltale signs of a big city arise (7 million pop.): industrial buildings, choked smaller older houses, and high-rise apartments. Our drive has been on a highway of tolls and tunnels that punch through mountains. A long tunnel takes us below the outskirts to the city’s more modern commercial and high- and mid-rise residential developments. Our hotel is one of these: sleek and a little formal. My room has two single beds, which later prove to be hard and uncomfortable.
Dinner was on our own, but everyone
Airy metal installation
The students seemed to be shooting videos.
was too full to think about food. I asked Lee if she would like to go for a walk in this neighbourly area. To forestall naps we set off immediately. Only a few blocks away was a large river park, enjoyed by many young couples and groups of presumably university students. There are lots of educational institutions in this area. As we walked along our side of the park, we noticed sculptures on the other side. A bridge across the barely flowing river brought us to a sculpture park – almost all modern pieces intended for human interaction. Two young women were laughing and screeching as they walked on the jagged stone representation of either water flowing or foothills and a mountain … or something! Another student propped her back as she studied on one of three yellow latticed light bulb shapes. Oddest of all was a cube formed of steel rods, both straight and in right-angled shapes. Some students were playing in and around. Others were oddly sitting in a rough semi-circle watching them. Suddenly the playing students coalesced and danced the Harlem Shake while the others videoed. Wonder if I can find it on YouTube? (nope)
Araucaria, nature's sculpture
Competing with human creation
walked back on a different route to the hotel, easily finding our landmark – a large shopping mall. In the basement was a full grocery store where we thought about how to tempt our palates for a snack in our rooms. I bought a beef empanada and a “bitter” chocolate bar and water. In my room I discovered that the empanada was meanly filled, but it was enough; the “bitter” chocolate was terribly sweet! While eating I watched two good British shows. “Miranda” was a comedy written by and featuring one of the actresses from “Call the Midwives” . The other was “Accused” in which the usually macho hero Sean Bean played a transvestite – superb story and acting.
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