Nestled at the foot of the Andes Mountains, Santiago is truly a beautiful city. A guided tour of the city provided the official start to our wine-tasting journey in Chile and Argentina.
The following morning it was off to the Nadalié Cooperage where owner Thierry Villard welcomed us at the gate. The cooperage, run by his son Sebastien, gave us a rare opportunity to see how wine barrels are made. Our tour started with a tasting that demonstrated the effect of different types of oak and varying amounts of toasting of the barrels. This was followed by a tour of the production plant itself. We saw how the staves were initially assembled then steamed to shape them into a barrel. The barrel is then toasted to the specifications of the particular winery purchasing the barrel. Finally the top and bottom are fitted and a bung hole drilled.
From the Cooperage we traveled to the Casablanca Valley and Villard Fine Wines. Thierry drove separately and beat us to the winery, meeting us to drink sparkling wine under the shade of a group of trees as he told us about growing grapes. Then it was on to a large patio at the winery where we were served a very fine lunch accompanied by a selection of Villard wines. The lunch was wonderful, the wines delicious, and the view from the patio was incredible.
Following lunch we had a tour of the winery.
All too soon it was back on the bus for the return trip to Santiago. That evening we had a sampling of Chilean folklore at the Bali Hai Restaurant. The restaurant definitely caters to the tourist crowd. While the meal was decent and the dancing, for the most part, entertaining, the show did stoop to being a bit too “Las Vegas glitzy” for my tastes.