Ted Travels: Vik Chile
Travelling from one desert valley dominated by the Volcano Lincancabur (“Mountain of the people”) in the north to the orchard valley of Millahue (“place of gold”) in central Chile certainly shows the diversity of this long skinny country.
I just had the pleasure staying at the Vik Chile, a boutique art hotel and winery about 90 minutes south of Santiago. If you’ve read me before you may know that some of the many things I love about South America are the mountains, the coffee and, the red wine.
This valley with the indigenous name Millahue meaning “place of gold” is certainly that, a long valley off the highway, rich in farm lands of orchards, fruit and vegetables, and right at the end is the Vik vineyard, set in 11,000 acres abutting into the mountains, 400 of those acres are all under vines.
The hotel is set on top of a hill with 22 suites and 360 degrees view of the surrounding landscape full of plots of vineyard, small valleys, hills, forest and a lake. Looking back east about 35 km away, are the snow-capped Andes and to the west, there is a small mountain range. You spend the mornings looking at sunrise in the front lounge with a nice cup of coffee and then looking out into the sunset in the evenings from the balcony overlooking the pool while you taste their delicious wines. What else can I say? Wow.
The rooms are a bit “different”, each one of the rooms were assigned to a Chilean artist who had free creative licence for the art decoration. I must admit some of them were too avant-garde for my taste. However, they are very comfortable, and the hotel is all inclusive of different activities, from horse riding to walks and cooking classes.
Below the hotel is the winery, you need to see the photo of this place to appreciate the architecture and lay out. Our wine expert was Finnish, Varpu, a young lady with a vast amount of knowledge about the wine making. They grow 5 varieties of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. They blend them into 3 wines only: Vik, Milla Cala and La Piu Belle.
What happens is that the wine maker will see what the vintage produces and, after testing and tasting for about 6 months, will determine the percentage of fruit content; for example we loved the 2012 Vik which had 53 % Cabernet sauvignon, 35 % Carmenere, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 2% Syrah. The percentage volume changes each vintage and they keep them in French oak barrels for 5 years.
For your very special clients who would like the experience of this winery and/or one of my other favourites in the Colchagua valley next door, give a us a call and our expert consultants will suggest and design a wine tour or visit to the Chilean or Argentinian wineries. Either if it’s your whole family travelling, a study group tour, or a special interest in architecture and wine tour, we can help!
Ted Dziadkiewicz is Director and Founder of Contours Travel, Australia’s longest running tour operator to Latin America. He has been more than 100 times to Latin America over the past 40 years and visited over 20 countries. If you want to know more visit www.contourstravel.com.au