Chilean Wine Country: day 1.5
Well, that was a fun start! I am sitting in the inner court yard of our hacienda, surrounded by vines, with lush green leaves, daisies and day lilies, palms with sweet sounding little birds and sunshine. The slightly cool breeze, brushes over my sun burn, which is everywhere, making me shiver slightly. As I write this, I am nursing my bright red skin with aloe from the garden, and realizing that writing these daily posts, maybe a lot More work than I had expected.
The flights down south to Chile we're relatively uneventful, as you would hope them to be. About 5.5 hours to Panama, then a 6 hour flight to Santiago. I have flown much since a little child, yet the magic and overwhelming effort taken to fly has never ceased to amaze me. From flight plans, reservations and passenger coordination, the profound mathematics of fuel, lift, drag, ascension, trajectory and LANDING, the sheer amount of coordinated human effort is astounding. All of this is is in play as our extremely polite attendants serve another round of JimmyWalker on the rocks.
Sometimes taking chances, putting yourself out there, reaps huge rewards. Sometimes the risk isn't very big either, or maybe, in life, the risk is always big, so huge, in nearly every situation, that we cannot comprehend its total consequence. In any case, we took a risk, to travel, leaving the ground only days after my resignation from a comfortable, stable position, working a job where I have achieved relatively good success . Our friend, L, who has organized this trip, threw a bid out for flight upgrades only hours before take off. So, here we are, sitting in first class, sipping on Scotch, heading toward adventure, and the unknown, arching over the world. I assess the risks, with the hum of our aging aircraft creating a dull white noise behind Incubus performing in my ears. I try to feel the ground under me, and the tens of thousands of feet of space between us. I imagine the conversations going on in the cockpit, only several feet from where I sit, as I turn another page from Malcolm Gladwell's book the "Outliers". Coincidentally, no, ironically, I am reading a chapter entirely dedicated to the causes of plane crashes.
The drive from Santiago airport to Metatic Vineyards, lasts an hour or so, with the sun rising to our backs. As we head west, we pass morning commuters waiting for buses, fields of maize and groves of Ecalyptus trees. We enter into the San Antonio Valley, where the morning air has become thick, quite cool but humid, and with a light fog.
The Metatic family has owned most of this valley for generations. Originally from Yugoslavia, they immigrated to Chile and raised lamb for export, eventually buying up more than 50,000 acres of Santiago and Casa Blanca.
Metatic grows, not only wine grapes, but blueberries for export to the US, peaches as well as raising livestock. After the grape harvests, the sheep and chickens are let into the vineyards to fertilize the ground and eat insects. With this method, and the fact that the airid countryside is not accommodating to mold or parasitical insects, Metatic does not use any chemical treatments for their grapes. The same is true for the blueberries, though they do spray them with a protective compound before harvest to prevent bruising.
The on site total production winery is an incredible building made of concrete and hardwoods , river stones, glass and steel. The Chardonnay, though blended to be light, still holds quite an oaky flavor under its bright fruitiness. The Savigoun Blanc has a slight sense of effervescence though, very clean and slightly dry. The Syrah is fantastic, clean, lightly filtered, with, as our traveling companion, J, put it, a nice pair of legs on it!
With the afternoon spent, running the paths in the dry bush and fields, poolside with cervezas and vino blanc, we gather together for dinner in the villa with some newly found Canadian friends. To start we have a large assortment of sushi, one with a smoked white fish tempura. Lamb chops with red wine reduction an Lima bean purée, Arctic char with spinach and green onion cake for entrees, blueberry tortes and chocolate mousse for desserts. With eight of us around the table, though, conversation was definitely the highlight! So much so, that the waiter, James, closes the door to our dining room, after a Venezuelan girl eating next door comes in to take a photo of the ruckus crowd disturbing everyone else's quiet evening!
Retiring to our rooms, late in the evening, we are all very aware that the early mornings bike ride through the vineyard is not going to happen.