I was lucky enough to be received by the oenologist Pablo Barros whose contact was given to me by a client!
This was one of my most interesting visits so far!
I cannot describe everyting because otherwise the article would be much too long. But I will tell you about the history of the Bodega, the culture in espalier and an example of Sauvignon Blanc culture.
Viña Alpaltagua was established in 1995. Its winery is based in Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley. However it has a total of 400ha spread over different regions: San Antonio, Cassablanca, Maipo, Colchagua, Curico Valley, Maule Valley.
She grows white grapes (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon gris, Marsanne, Roussanne, Riesling, Pinot gris) as well as red varieties (Carménère, Cab Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Malbec, …) .
In the year the bodega produces about 300 000 caisses of 12 so 3,600,000 bottles a year. This is about a medium-sized bodega for Chile (Concha Y Tora, Chile’s largest bodega has more than 8000ha and produced 30 million cases of 12 in 2012).
Apaltagua has another production which consists in the cultivation of oranges, pomegranate and plums.
Vineyard La Pancora
Pablo was kind enough to take me further south to Santa Cruz to visit their main Sauvignon Blanc vineyard, located in the Curico Valley region.
This vineyard is the first vineyard bought to form Viña Apaltagua. It is surrounded by mountains which creates an ideal climate for wine culture.
In addition this vineyard is in sustainable development with the use of natural solution to treat the vines.
In this vineyard, they apply two types of trellises: vertical trellising and espalier technic
To perform the espalier system, the first branches are cut so that they are 2m or more high, below to better realize (for info I measure 1m75)
This system has several advantages:
It helps to protect the grapes from the sun’s rays and therefore to have grapes with a softer skin so fresh and fruity wines
This system also allows a better yield per vine so more wine
But it also has disadvantages:
The quality of these wines is often called into question because the yield is favored over quantity.
However in Apaltagua they chose the happy medium, that is to say, to still make a larger size in order to limit the high yield and to obtain wines more concentrated in aroma.
To give you an idea of the different practices, I invite you to consult the following site:
I will describe a little bit about the management of the vine on the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety at Apaltagua and in the Pancora vineyard.
As you can see, the vine is conducted vertically because we are looking for wines more concentrated in aroma. In addition, the soil is quite poor since it consists of rocks. Thus a vine line in vertical adapts better since the yield will be lower and so the vine will not run out by getting supplies in the ground.
As for the foliage, it is left quite dense since we want to provide shade to the clusters so that they do not suffer too much sunlight! It’s a bit like us, we protect ourselves against the UV of the sun! In addition as explained above, it also allows to produce wines fresher.
As for the irrigation, it is done thanks to the drip. So the irrigation is controlled. Indeed the holes are located every 50cm on the irrigation cable. These deliver 2L of water per hour. There are two holes per foot of vines so it receives 4L of water per hour. Regarding water supply, no regulation is applied in Chile. Knowing the quantity delivered is very important especially when it is desired that the vine is under water stress.
The water stress, practiced just before the harvest, allows to finish the maturation of the bunches. But beware this one should be applied with care because it can have dramatic effects on the vine. Indeed, in France, our vines are not irrigated and the water stress is due to the high temperatures. We do not have a way to control it. So this has serious consequences on the grape harvests: reduction of the volume, increase of the alcoholic degree (regulated by the appellations), increase of the acidity, …
I hope it will give you a better idea on the influence of the man on the vine to produce the wines he wishes!
After this technical article, I will see you for the tasting note of the Apaltagua wines!
The Elqui Valley is home to the northernmost vineyard of Chile, in the Cordillera about 70 km east of La Serena. Its warm, dry, semi-desert climate gives ideal conditions for the production of sweet grapes such as muscatel and torontel. The Elqui Valley has become the region of pisco.
The valley of Aconcagua
The cultivated wine area is 214 hectares. The valley of Aconcagua is flat, extending from the Andean Cordillera to the Pacific Ocean.
The average altitude is 1500 meters. The climate is Mediterranean, with maximum temperatures of 30 ° C in summer, 14 ° C on average over the year, while during summer the thermal amplitude varies between 15 ° C and 20 ° C, favoring thus the accumulation of sugar in the bunches.
The Casablanca Valley
This area is characterized mainly by its large production of Chardonnay. The cultivated wine area is 1593 hectares. This valley is located at the edge of the Pacific coast, at an altitude never exceeding 400 meters. The oceanic influence is very marked (maritime breezes), with temperatures of the order of 25 ° C the summer, and 14 ° C for the rest of the year.
The Maipo Valley
Following the Maipo River, you will find Chile’s oldest wine region. The cultivated area is 5904 hectares.
The Maipo is a transverse valley extending from the Andean Cordillera to the Pacific Ocean, with an average altitude of 1000 meters in the east and 500 meters in the west.
The valley of Curico
Located 200 km south of Santiago, the Curico Valley includes the Lontue and Teno valleys. It has 10198 hectares planted, mainly in the central plain.
The valley of Maule
It is the largest wine region in the country. The cultivated areas represent 15,812 hectares, with nearly 9,000 hectares of white grape varieties. The rest corresponds to the Pays grapes and the red grape varieties. These represent about 30% of Chile’s total grape varieties.
This important viticultural soil finds its identity in large valleys born of the collapse of the Andes whose soils, relatively poor, are a mixture of clay, stones and pebbles rolled.
Chile is located on the west coast of South America, stretching more than 5000 kilometers from north to south, but only between 90 and 400 kilometers from east to west.
The vine crops are between latitudes 27 ° 5 and 39 ° 5. The geographical location provides favorable conditions for the development of these crops despite relatively poor soils.
Mediterranean-type climate (the mechanisms that result from the close proximity of the cold Humboldt and the Andes range, which peak at nearly 6,960 m with Aconcagua, offer the Central Region, for example, the opportunity to to know a particular Mediterranean climate).
Precipitation concentrated during the winter period, and a long dry season starting at the end of the spring and ending at the end of the summer.
High thermal amplitude, with temperatures above 30 ° C during the summer months, and decreasing from 15 to 20 ° C at night.
Relative humidity (55 to 60%) during the summer.
Extension of crops and ripening period.
All of these characteristics encourage intense photosynthetic activity of the vine during the day, while changes in nighttime temperatures provide a necessary rest. This combination results in ideal conditions for maturation and homogenous clusters.
I hope this gives you a good idea of the Chilean vineyard!
Thanks to my job, I know people working in wine all over the world! So I contacted an Argentinian salesman whom I met during a show at an importer!
I went to visit Foster Lorca in Perdriel which is located in Lujan de Cuyo area.
Foster Lorca was born from the association of two bodegas: Enrique Foster and Maurizio Lorca. It has existed for 2 years and these offices have recently moved to Lujan de Cuyo. She hires about sixty people.
They always have two distinct styles of wine:
Foster: wine aged in barrel and robust
Lorca: wine without barrel and fresh on the fruit
Vineyard & vinification
The vineyard is mainly present in the UCO valley and represents 155ha consisting of Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Torrentès (region of Salta).
All the winemaking process in Perdriel and constitutes a volume of 1 million bottles.
They use French and American barrels ranging from new barrels to three-year old barrels.
In addition, their production is 85% for export.
Irrigation is allowed in Argentina as in most parts of the New World.
At Foster Lorca they use two systems: floating system and dropping system.
As the name suggests, the water vines are flooded. This is only possible on flat vineyards because otherwise there would be more runoff than real water supply. With this system the earth takes what it needs.
The dropping system consists of installing a pipe along the vine. This pipe consists of holes that deliver water drop by drop. These holes are located at the level of the vines. So they can control the amount of water brought to the vine.
But I will talk more about this type of irrigation in my article on Bodega Vina Altagua in Chile.
As the grapes of the Loire were missing, I will tell you about two emblematic grape varieties of the Loire that I tasted at Foster Lorca!
Sauvignon – Lorca – Fantasia
Sauvignon from the entry level that is grown in the UCO Valley and vinified in the Lujan Valley of Cuyo.
Nose: light with notes of white boxwood with a brilliant color
Palate: light wine in the mouth, on the freshness of lemon with a mineral finish
Cabernet Franc – Lorca – Fantasia
Cabernet Franc is a difficult grape whatever the region in which it is produced. Thus Cabernet Franc has lower yields than other grape varieties in the region.
Nose: typical of Cabernet Franc ie pepper
Palate: supple with a nice balance and a nice length.
Last article on Mendoza, very beautiful region of Argentina for landscapes and wines!
You cannot go to Mendoza without cycling to visit the vineyards!
The most visited region is the region of Maipù but the return on the beauty of the places is more than mitigated. Indeed Maipù is located very close to Mendoza so the bodegas are surrounded by houses and roads so the vineyards are not necessarily visible.
So I decide to leave with people from the hostel to discover Lujan de Cuyo!
Beginning of the day with a balance sheet: the information in Argentina is not their forte! After making sure we were at the right bus stop with several people and drivers, we waited 40 minutes without seeing the only bus that interested us!
We decide to ask again! At the end of the third bus driver, it tells us that on Saturday the bus does not go through here but 2 blocks! ☹
In short a bit of lost time, but we finally arrive at Chacras de Coria in the heart of the wine region Lujan de Cuyo. We leave rent the bikes that will serve us for the day. So we establish a route to visit three bodegas!
We stop at the family Pulmary bodega, not far from the center of Lujan de Cuyo.
We visit the cellar with the son of the family who is also the oenologist.Pulmary produces 50,000 bottles of organic wines a year.
It exports mainly to the United States and Europe. Indeed their organic wines are better valued on the export markets than on the Chilean market where the notion of organic is of no importance.
We tasted wines directly concrete vats:
Malbec 2018 in vats since 1month and 5 days
Malbec 2017 in vats since 1 year
We then went through the cellar visit with the barrels. We tasted barrels directly:
Malbec in barrels during 8months
Malbec in barrels for 3 years
We ended the visit with two wine tastings, two Malbec 2015:
One spent in barrels for 6 months
Nose: not very expressive, closed
Palate: very fruity with an explosion of fruit on the palate supported by light tannin
The other spent in barrels for 18months
With a very deep color the nose is very marked by the cherry as well as the woody side. On the palate the wine is round with a good length, the tannins are supple and elegant.
The visit of Pulmary was very interesting with a guide passionate about his job, so passionate that we stayed 2 hours!It was spinning if we wanted to do at least another! We are heading to Alta Vista.
This bodega was born under the impulse of the Count Patrick d’Aulan who saw a great potential in the Argentine soil. She is half French, half Argentinian! It is defined as the assembly of old (French) and new (Argentine).
An interesting part of the tasting room is the presentation by drawings of different soils and their impact on the vine. Below you can see some examples and thus better understand the impact of terroir on a vine:
We have the choice between several tasting 3 wines / 5 wines / 5 premium wines.
I chose the 5 wines because yes it must still respect the budget (which has already been the trunk from Australia but hey we will try to limit the damage)
I will present the wine I liked the most among the 5 and obviously it is the most expensive but it is so successful that we understand the price!
Blend: 80% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon (from the UCO Valley)
Malbec comes from the region and comes from 70-year-old vines. They are grown to have a lower yield and therefore more concentrated clusters.
In addition it is fermented in new French barrels between 18 and 20 months.
Nose: very expressive and delicate with aromas of candied plums
Palate: round with delicate aromas of candied fruits and soft and light tannins.
This tasting lasted an hour and we have more time to make a third bodega but we stop at a store of local products where we enjoyed great tapenade flavored with pepper, garlic but also dulce de leche whiskey , nutty,…
It was a great day cycling with acolytes from France, Germany, Argentina and Brazil!
As promised, after the description of the Clos de Los Siete, below you will find my tasting note !
So I tasted 4 wines:
Viognier 2017 – DiamAndes
Merlot 2015 – Cuvelier Los Andes
Petite Fleur – Malbec 2015 – Monteviejo
El Cuvelier Los Andes 2013 – Cuvelier Los Andes
I also visited two cellars: Cuvelier Los Andes and Monteviejo
Viognier 2017 – DiamAndes
The only white of the tasting. I was charmed by this viognier (my favorite of this tasting)! This world tour will have reconciled me with the whites!
This viognier 2017 was harvested later than usually! Indeed, the rainfall of the year 2017 was stronger than usual. It was therefore harvested later, which gives it different flavors from previous years. In addition it was fermented 10 months in French barrel.
Nose: delicate with aromas of wood and banana
Palate: harmonious with a perfect balance between fruity aromas and toasty notes, long on the palate with a finish on vanilla notes.
Petite Fleur – Malbec 2015 – Monteviejo
Monteviejo is one of the two cellars I visited! The highlight of the visit is the restaurant terrace which gives an incredible view of the vineyards!!
The Bodega Montaviejo belongs to the Pere-Vergé Family. They grow Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah Malbec grapes on sandy loam soil with limestone tanks, and grown without chemical fertilizers. The grapes are made manually.
The wines of Monteviejo are the image of the Argentine oenologist Marcelo Pelleriti that is colorful, structured and aromatic!
This wine is 100% Malbec and aged in oak barrels for 11 months.
Nose: notes of spices and ripe red fruits and a touch of violet
Palate: well balanced and well-structured on the palate, long and supple finish.
Cuvelier Los Andes
I visited the cellar of Cuvelier Los Andes. This cellar was one of the first to emerge from this property. It belongs to the Cuvelier family which also owns several estates in Bordeaux.
Their wish is the excellence from the vineyard to the bottle. Thus a permanent control is carried out starting from the vineyards to the laying of the labels on the bottles.
Their wines come from a careful selection in the vineyard and before pressing. In addition, the fermentation takes place in barrels of small volume. They have about 100 barrels in their cellar.
Cuvelier Los Andes vinifies on average for 12 to 18 months in barrels.
Cuvelier Los Andes – Merlot – 2015
A merlot for a Bordelais nothing original you want to say but taste this merlot and you might be surprised!
Its 11 months barrel ageing gives it a delicate suppleness.
Nose: very marked by strawberry jam
Palate: fresh on the fruit with soft tannins on the finish.
El Cuvelier Los Andes – 2013
This wine is a blend of 3 emblematic grape varieties: Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
It represents all the passion and know-how of the Cuvelier family.
Nose: marked by cloves supported by peppery notes
Palate: round and elegant with hints of spice with a nice length on the tannin.
These 4 wines are undeniably the finest wines I have tasted in the Mendoza region. If you go through Mendoza, I strongly advise you to visit Clos de Los Siete if you want to be surrounded by vineyards and tasted Argentinean nectars!
Located in the Uco Valley, Clos de los Siete is one of the jewels of the Mendoza region and also one of the most important vineyard.
I was lucky to be welcome for a private tour with Jessica on this impressive property but before going into the details a bit of history.
This project was born under the impetus of Michel Roland and Jean-Michel Arcaute in 1998. In fact Mr. Rolland had noticed, for a long time, that Argentina had a soil that could produce great wines. Thus a project with 7 families from Bordeaux came into being: Clos de Los Siete was born.
After visiting several regions, they decided to settle in Vista Flores which is located about 100km south of Mendoza in the Uco Valley. Thus they acquired a property of 850ha which they shared in 7: 4 estates and 3 vineyards.
The 4 domains are:
– Cuvelier of Los Andes
– Bodega Rolland
Particularity of Clos
These 4 Bodegas are located on the same property. Indeed the 850ha are part of the same block and extends over fifteen km ². Several grape varieties are grown here, mostly malbec, but you can also find, for example, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and white chardonnay, sauvignon and petit verdot.
There are 70 different terroirs. Indeed the terroirs located near the mountains bring different characteristics from those located next to the river which crosses the property.
However we can sum up it by saying that pebbles, clay and sand are the main characteristics of these 850ha. At a depth of one meter, the vine has its roots in a gravel ensuring natural drainage.
In addition, the proximity of the Andes allows access to the water of the mountains that feed the groundwater of the property.
Like the rest of the area, the property benefits from a dry daytime climate and cool nights. But the fact that the property is just next to the Andes allows the vineyards to be subjected to a healthy pressure and the absence of heavy rain.
All together these 7 families produce only one wine : Clos de Los Siete which is vinified with the collaboration of 7 vineyards and 7 oenologists under the leadership of Michel Roland:
Unfortunately I did not have the chance to taste it.However I was able to taste 4 excellent wines from 3 different bodegas!
I finally arrived in the famous region of Mendoza in Argentina! It is considered the capital of wine in Argentina!
Argentina is composed of 220 000ha spread over 3 regions:
• Central West Region: Mendoza Province and San Juan Province
• The Northwest Region: Provinces of Rioja, Catamarca, Salta and Jujuy
• Southern region: Provinces of Rio Negro, Neuquen and La Pampa.
Argentina is the largest wine producer in South America and ranks fifth in the world (in 2017). In terms of exports, it ranks first in the world in terms of volume and ninth in value.
The cuture of the wine is present in Argentina since 31,6L are consumed per year and per person and are the 7th largest wine consumer in the world.
Region of Mendoza
Mendoza is known worldwide and is the region associated with Argentina. Indeed it seems logical since it represents 90% of the Argentine production.
The wine region of Mendoza has 145,000ha. These vineyards are between 400m and 1200m above sea level.
In the region of Mendoza, there are 3 sub-regions:
This region is the closest to Mendoza and accessible by bus! The must is to visit it by bike! However, if you want to be in the middle of the vineyards, you must avoid it! Indeed its proximity to the 5th city of the country gives it little charm!
It is the lowest region because it is between 600 and 750m above sea level. It is particularly famous for its production of bulk wine.
Lujan from Cuyo
It is located southwest of Mendoza, about 20km. It is famous for its malbecs and especially malbecs of guard. Moreover, it alone, has a designation of origin controlled.
This region is furthest from Mendoza, about 100km. It is also the largest and closest region of the Andes. Thus the vineyards are located between 800 and 1200m above sea level.
Climate and soil
The main particularity of Mendoza is its geographical location. Indeed it is at the foot of the famous Andes Mountains! This proximity to the mountains gives it a climate and a particular terroir.
It is a very hot and dry region. There is only 200mm of rain per year. It’s about the equivalent of a week of rain in Buenos Aires. However, its proximity to the Andes allows it to enjoy cool nights. Thus the warm and dry climate counterbalanced by the freshness of the Andes give the region an ideal location for growing vines! However irrigation is obligatory. I will come back to this in a future article. This irrigation is facilitated by the type of terroir.
Indeed the soil is composed mainly of rock and sand. So this permeable soil allows the vines to take full advantage of the irrigation.
Moreover in the heights, the soil consists of more rocks so the vine needs to dig more to find nutrients. So we can enjoy a different wine, more corpulent.
I hope this gives you a good overview of one of the biggest producing regions in the world.
After receiving the brother and have visited Buenos Aires, heading to the northwest of Argentina that is to say the region of Salta for a road trip!
We had the idea to do a road trip in the North but we wanted to find people with whom to do so to meet the world and also to reduce the budget!
Following a post on Backpacker South America, I contacted Dorian to rent a car together. The funny thing is that it comes from Saint-Nazaire! I know what you say the world is small! :-)! We were three, we were joined by two Toulouse Angélique and Oriane! a road trip North vs South! 😉
We left for a road trip of 6 days every 5! We start from the north of the Salta region and end with the South but first let’s introduce the guests of the first trip!
La Dream Team – North tour
The North tour
I made a small selection because I have approximately 550 pictures…
The South tour
La Dream Team Part 2
For the last two days we found two new travelmates: Sixtine from Paris and Charlotte from Belgium!
The guys also found a piece of wood to do a molkky so we could play wherever we wanted!
The South tour
A road trip of 1600km over 9 days with 5 beautiful meets! We have been though amazing landscape and so many different! All of this under a magnificent sun!!
We had some issues with the car : no more car battery so we had to push the car to turn it on, the car stayed stuck in the sand so we had to push again! Real road trip adventures and hopefully we were 5 to push the car! 😉
My first region of wine in Argentina is the region of Cafayte! The first peculiarity of this region is that it is one of the highest vineyards in the world!
This region is also called Calcha Valley quies and it includes 1800ha located between 1600m and 3000m.
You can see where the different vineyards are and their altitude in the region of Salta.
To give you an idea: below, you can compare the altitude of Cafayate with other world wine regions:
The region benefits from a very specific climate and allows the vines to grow well. Indeed the region enjoys very hot day and cold night. The thermal amplitude is very high there can be a difference of more than 20 degrees between day and night.
In addition the region has a very low humidity. Indeed the annual rainfall is on average 225mm per year. This is little, but the vines are irrigated with water from the mountains.
This specific climate allows grapes undeveloped in terms of size but very concentrated in terms of aromas.
The wine region is located at the foot of the mountains. Its soil consists mainly of sandy soils and stony. This soil provides good permeability and good water retention in soils.
In addition, the vine has to fight against the rocky layer of the soil to implant its roots deeply and find the necessary nutrients for its development. So that gives more worked and deep aromas that reflect the hardness of the soil!
In the region, the harvest takes place between the end of February and mid-April. Upon arrival at the cellar, a selection is made on the sorting table and the grapes are sent to the destalker. Its action is to separate the grapes from the stalks.
Following they are sent to the follower that will allow to extract the seeds by bursting the grapes without squeezing them.
Then last step the press which is most often pneumatic which allows a slow and delicate pressing.
The vinification takes place in concrete vats, in stainless steel tanks or with one of the last vinification techniques: ovoid tank.
The ovoid tank allows vinification on lees, it naturally stabilizes fermentation on lees thanks to the natural oxidants and makes it possible to limit the use of sulphites. The vortex created by the ovoid shape of the tank promotes a permanent circulation of the elements. These characteristics avoid the lees stirring and allows to be the least interventionist possible.
They also use a lot of wine making in vats either new or already used.
Visit and tasting
To taste wines in Cafayate, no need to get away from the city center, the bodegas are located in the city center and the vineyards surround the city!
My first discovery was Torrontès, which comes from the region. Torrontès would be a cross between Muscat and criolla. It is not to be confused with the Torrontes of Spain!
The first visit was Nanni, which is a 100% organic domaine / bodega with 42ha and a production of 300,000 hectoliters.
0gr residual sugar with 14,4% alcohol.
nose: white flower sustained by citrus
mouth: fresh and crips with a nice acidity on the fruit
at the beginning, I did not plan to visit Patagonia because I thought I will not have enough time. Moreover I wanted to enjoy more the North of Argentina!But after several discussions with other backpackers, I decided to spend money to buy a flight ticket to El Calafate!
One thing that I can say it was the right decision as these 5 days were one of the most beautiful days that I spent in my whole travel!
First stop El Calafate and the Perito Moreno glaciar!
We can spend hours watching the beauty of the glaciar!
We can spend hours listenning to it because it also cracking and we can see some pieces of the glaciar in the water with a noise of thunder!
Landscape and city view
I decided to got to El Chalten following advice from other travelers. And the road until El Chalten, itself, it is just amazing!
Once I arrived and to prepare myself for hikes of the following day I decided to walk on top of a mountain to see some condors and to have a view on the city!
El Chalten is well known for its hikes. So on the second day, let’s go for the Fitz Roy hike which is 20km return with an hour of deep ascent! But the difficult hike worth it and the view on the Fitz Roy is amazing!
Laguna Cerro Torre
After the previous day, I decided to continue to hike! I did another and less difficult hike of 20km return as well to the Laguna Cerro Torre!
These three days at El Chalten are certainly one of the highlights of my time in Argentina! Very tireing but the beauty of the lanscape makes you forget it!
Another highlight is my roadtrip in the Northwest argentina but it will be in another article!
After Uruguay go to Brazil! I had to wait before taking the bus from Uruguay to Florianopolis! Indeed in South America it is quite common to have a week holiday during Holy Week so the buses were full!
So I took a bus at one o’clock in the morning crossing the border between Argentina and Brazil! To wait for the bus I played card in the customs offices with a German!
Arrival with Florianopolis in a hostel very welcoming but with the rain! I went with a Brazilian and a Dutch for a short hike to access a secret beach and then a summit to have a global view!
And hop photo —->
After a bus of 20h, I arrived in Foz Do Iguazu which is the Brazilian side of the Iguazu Falls!
20% in Brazil
80% in Argentina
80m high for the highest waterfall
And hop photos —>
Life in Argentina
I was lucky to be during Easter weekend in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina so I could spend an evening with Argentines!
A typical evening:
Beginning of the evening: 9 pm
Assado (Argentine specialty barbecue): 23h
End of the Assado: 1h
Go out for a drink: 1h30
Go in club: 2h30 / 3h
They live very late and this does not prevent them from waking up in the morning and chaining on a full day of visits! I had two great nights and I could improve my spanish! And hop photos —>
After Iguazu direction Patagonia but it is another article!
The third time in Buenos Aires is the good one! I finally ask myself to visit the city !: And then I’m waiting for a guest! My brother arrives in Argentina to travel three months in South America! We will travel a little month together and after we will try to meet before his departure!
Buenos Aires is a beautiful city but super extended! We walked on average a day between 15km and 20km!
In the program:
wine pressing session with feet (invitation from Argentina met in Iguazu one of the best day in BA)
For my first destination in South America, I chose Uruguay.
Indeed I wanted to start with a small country to adapt to South America, the new culture, the new language.
New Zealand has made me very tired and isolated because I spent most of my time alone. So after this month alone, you have to readjust to the company of other travelers, noisy hostels!
And it is also the passage of 6 to 7 months of travel and I begin to have the fatigue of the trip that settles! And yes we must not believe that a world tour is not tiring!
Who says around the world said change of hostel every 2/3 days, spending a lot of time planning, a lot of bus nights, mentally we are confronted every day with new discoveries, we are also far from home! All these things make me have a little loss of motivation in my trip and to reboost Uruguay was perfect!
Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo
Colonia del Sacramento
It was my first city in Uruguay, accessible by boat from Buenos Aires in just 1:15. It is an ancient city of Spanish settlers and it still kept several vestiges of this time. One day is enough to visit it but sooner pace is soothing that I would have stayed there longer! Then the sunset is also worth the detour!
It is the capital of the country and has 1 500 000 inhabitants. For information Uruguay has 3.5 million inhabitants, the vast majority is focused on the coast! It is therefore a small capital to visit it so I did a free walking tour. The principle of the free walking tour is to discover the city with the inhabitants of this same city for 2h or 3h. Regarding the price each one estimates how much is the turn, in general it turns around 5 €. I really advise you to do it because this concept is present in all major cities. The tours are mainly in English but in very large cities you can find them in French!
Socially in advance in South America
Uruguay is the most socially advanced country in South America. This status is due in particular to President José Mujica.
Indeed he was an “non normal” president. He always refused the privileges due to his rank and therefore lived with his wife. He also donated 90% of his salary to charities.
But above all, he has contributed to significant societal advancements. In 2013, a law accepting same-sex marriage and adoption was passed. The same year cannabis becomes legal so that the state can better control the production. Uruguay is the only country in Latin America where abortion is possible on demand.
He stepped down as president on March 1, 2015, leaving the country’s economy relatively healthy and with better social stability than neighboring countries.
The Uruguayan coast.
I stayed on the Uruguayan coast from small villages to small villages:
– La Pedrera
– Cabo Polonio (village part of a national park)
– Punto del Diablo
I am sure you have already heard about the maté at least football fans since it is the drink that regularly drinks Antoine Griezman! Here in Uruguay and also in Argentina it’s a real institution.
What is mate?
Maté (in Spanish, matte) or chimarrão, in Portuguese, is a traditional South American drink made from the cultivation of Guarani Indians, prepared by infusing leaves of yerba mate. Along with tea and coffee, mate is one of the top three most consumed caffeinated beverages in the world.
Why an institution?
It’s common to see people walking down the street with their calabash (mud cup) and hot-water thermos under their arms. They consume very often and seemingly even more for students during exams. Indeed the maté is a stimulant, improving the reactivity and the capacities of concentration. It’s part of the Uruguayan landscape.
In addition, it also reveals an important part of the South American culture that is sharing. So the mate is a drink that is shared. The calabash passes from hand to hand with everyone around you! It’s a way to communicate and get to know foreigners!
I hope I made you want to discover this country where life is good!
Here is my last experience in New Zealand: HelpX at Crocker Estate in North Auckland.
What is HelpX?
HelpX can also be called Wwoofing. Indeed the first organization to have launched in this type of offer is wwoofing.
But what does wwoofing or helpX mean? It works on the exchange principle. Indeed people offer their help to work and others are looking for people to help them in their mainly agricultural project.
In return for their help, volunteers are fed and housed. The work is usually 4 to 5 hours a day. So I chose to search HelpX for a volunteer in a vineyard.
Crocker Estate in the Northland Region
So I found a HelpX at Niccky and Ray Crocker. Their domain is located in Manghawei. This city is north of the North Island on the east coast. This wine region accounts for 1% of production.
They bought the vines in July last year. Indeed they have always loved good wine and were looking for a new challenge! Moreover, they know the area well because they have always spent their family holidays in this region. They therefore wished to settle in the region for a long time.
Their estate represents 2ha with chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah! They sell their grapes to other areas and produce with the 2018 vintage their own wines made by a friend: BrookeLane wines. This name refers to their address which is Brokelane!
I arrived on saturday and live on sunday it was a great day for the estate and the crocker since it was the harvest! We were three volunteers plus their family and friends for a whole day of harvest!
We harvested Pinot Noir first. These grapes are intended for the Rosé cuvée of the estate. Then the chardonnay for another area.
The result of this harvest day was unfortunately disappointing for the Crockkers! Indeed because of heavy rains just before the harvest, mildew had settled in the vineyards. So we had to leave out a lot of clusters that had been infected by mildew!
According to a renowned oenologist in the region, the 2018 harvest is the worst he has seen in 40 years. In fact, the summer of New Zealand, which is considered rather dry, suffered in 2018 a lot of rain and 4 hurricanes where they usually only have 1.
The Hawkes Bay area was subject to very heavy rains and so the vineyards were flooded with disastrous consequences for the bunches. Indeed, late blight develops because of humidity!
Laying protection nets
After the harvest, there were always four rows of Syrah. Indeed these were not yet ripe for harvest. It was therefore necessary to put the nets of protection against the birds. Indeed birds are one of the main predators for the vine after diseases.
I spent 6 days at Niccky and Ray’s. I was very well received and they shared a lot with me. Nickky also took me to their winemaker to see their grapes pressed.
I thank them for their hospitality and all that they brought me. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed being in the vineyards.
After Australia, it’s time to discover New Zealand wines.
Below you will find some general information about wine production on both islands.
New Zealand, thanks to its island status, enjoys long hours of sunshine (about 2200 hours per year). The vineyards are mainly located on the coast and therefore are swept by winds from the Pacific Ocean and the Tasmane Sea. This geographical location also allows to have cool nights.
New Zealand is considered a young land as well as a volcanic land. This youth means that there is a great diversity of soils and soils are constantly changing.
The viticultural regions are mainly established on young soils (about 10 000 years old) composed of sand, silt, gravel, alluvial soils.
Little attached to tradition
Young and dynamic
High-end image and price
Focused on the environment
World leader in sustainable development programs.
There are 10 wine regions more or less known in New Zealand
Northland: northern tip of the North Island
Auckland and Waiheke Island: 0.3% of New Zealand production
Waikato / Bay of Plenty: area around Hamilton, west coast of North Island
Gisborne: Southeast of the North Island, 3.7% of New Zealand production
Hawke’s Bay: East coast of North Island, 10% of national production
Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s second largest wine region. The first vines were planted in 1851. The main grape varieties are Merlot and Chardonnay. You can also find Pinot Gris and recently Syrah that stands out from its Australian neighbor by a more spicy profile. She is also a model of wine tourism in the country.
Wairarapa: Wellington Region with 1.2% of overall production
Malborough: North of the South Island, more information to come in the article on the region
Nelson: north center of South Island, 2.4% of South Island
Canterbury & Waipara Valley: Christchurch area, 2.6% of production
Central Otago: in the center and south of the South Island
This region is particularly known for its pinot noir which was brought in 1864 by the French Jean Ferraud. The climate is warm in summer with cold nights and can become very cold in winter. Thus the grape harvests take place just before the arrival of the cold. The Pinot Noir from Central Otago has a very greedy fruit profile with a taut structure and a silky texture.
source New Zealand Wine Regions & their Major Grape Varieties
In 2016, New Zealand produced 3.1 million hectoliters of wine, exports 70%, and ranks 14th globally. It represents 1% of world production!
Its production is therefore a drop in the world production. I had the chance to taste New Zealand wines and what we can say is that the quality is at the rendezvous but I would develop more this point in my article on the Malborough!
I spent the day with Naw Naw. Naw Naw speaks very well French. She studied French for three years and also came to study viticulture and winemaking in France . She explained me the history of the estate and we also visit the vineyards together. I had a lot of information, difficult to all transcribe them but I will try.
History of the vineyard
This project is the initiative of wine lovers who wanted to share this passion in their country and thus develop the local economy.
The history of the vineyard began in 2002 with the preparation of the soil for the reception of the vines.
In 2003 the estate was home to its first vine plants (imported from France and Spain).
The beginnings of the vineyard were made with the help of a French professional: François Rayner. He worked at Red Mountain until 2015. During these years, he was assisted by Mye Mye. Since his departure Mye Mye is in charge of winemaking with Naw Naw. He made the 2016 vintage by himself. For the 2017 vintage, Naw Naw and Mye Mye were helped by one of Naw Naw’s teachers from France to provide advice.
The estate is equipped with a cellar, a restaurant and a terrace for tastings.
The tourist facilities were built in 2005. The first tourists arrived at the resort in 2008. Indeed, Red Mountain is only 25 minutes by bike from Nyaung Shwe (main town of Inle Lake). Their terrace is the ideal place to enjoy their wines at sunset.
The vineyard is made up of 75ha and is divided in two places:
U Ku Naing 20ha
U Tea Mg 55ha
The main grape varieties grown are:
Chenin Pinot Noir
The selection of these grape varieties is the result of experimentation. Indeed, part of the vineyard is reserved for research and development to test the grape varieties. About 2ha are planted to see their behavior and their performance vis-a-vis the soil and the climate.
I tasted directly the vats the vintage 2016 as well as 2017:
Sauvignon 2016, 2017
Syrah 2016, 2017
Carignan rosé 2017
These are very interesting wines the white have a very aromatic profile with an acidity pulling on the apple. The reds are more complicated to vinify but shows an interesting profile and will be developped thanks the barrel.
But enough written, let’s see some pictures:
Many thanks to Naw Naw for his time and her precious help in making the visit of the two vineyards of Myanmar!
I would like to thank you Soe Soe who introduced me toNaw Naw and Yo Yo who introduced me to Soe Soe and Dune who introduced me to Yo to Yo.
These women enable the Sauvignon & Co adventure to start in an amazing way! Thank you!
Please feel free to ask me questions about my visit.
Leaving for a world trip is a big decision. Here are the two main reasons which will help you to understand the reasons why I took this “crazy” idea to travel alone to discover the vineyards around the world.
My experience abroad
I leaved more than 6 years abroad: in Germany, in the UK and in the Netherlands.
My Export Sales Manager at a Loire Valley winery work enables me also to visit Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Belgium.
I cannot imagine spending a day without speaking a foreign languages. Thanks to my work, It is not only 1 or 2 or 3 but 4 languages everyday: French, English, German, Dutch! 🙂
I also like to discover different cultures! But, it must be said, for the moment, my experience is limited to Europe
So I thought why I should stay in Europe! Now it’s time to go for a ride on the other continents!
But I did not want to leave just to leave, I wanted to give a purpose to this trip. The trigger was my daily business in the Netherlands.
Indeed you can find so many wines from all over the world in the wine shops and supermarkets. To give you an idea in France our offer is 90% French wine and 10% the rest of the world, in the Netherlands 30% French wines, 19% South African wine, have a look at this graphic to get an idea of the wine origin diversity:
So I decided to know more about the wine-producing countries outside the old continent.
Back to basics
The idea is created: a world tour of the vineyards and I say vineyard and not wine! Indeed, I wish to go in the vineyards and learn more about the winegrowing and the winemaking.
Indeed, thanks to my studies and my profession, I know the theory but I am missing some practice. I want to be able to go into the vineyards and understand better how it works.
In addition, you may have already read it in the article Who am I, I am a countryside girl. I grew up in a farm with a mother who took care of the cows and a father who took care of the cultivation. Since I was little, I am linked to the land and to the work that man can realize thanks to this land.
I wanted to go back to my roots i.e nature. I want to be able to understand the winegrowing and the work done in the vineyard to get this wine diversity.
These reasons mean that on September 3, 2017, I will take off for my first destination.
But these are not the only ones, you will discover the other reasons though other articles! 😉
Once the decision of wordltrip is taken, you have to think about the countries you want to visit. As my project is linked to the visit of vineyards and Sauvignon grape, I first listed the countries I absolutely wanted to visit!
Australia / New Zealand / Uruguay / Argentine / Chili
Then I looked for other countries producing wines around the world. Like mentionned in my article about the “Why” of this project, I took some inspiration on the Wine Explorer website and La revue des vins de France who made some maps referencing all the wine producers countries.
Next to this list, I made a list with the spots that I wanted to visit
Asia : Bangan temples, Inle lake.
South America : salar d’Uyuni, Macchu Picchu.
Thanks to this two lists, I added:
Asia : Myanmar. In order to complete my trip in Asia and to take some habits as a backpacker, I decided to visit also Thailand, Laos. At this moment, I still do not know if I am going to visit Cambodia or Vietnam for my last country in Asia.
The last but not the least destination is West North America with Nappa Valley. Indeed I could not focus on the winegrowing of Sauvignon grape without visiting California where started the worldwide history of Sauvignon grape!
The bucketlist finished I discovered an amazing website to organize an itinerary to plan a world trip (sorry only in French) ⇒ ⇒ ⇒
This website with its travel planificator allows to:
calculate a budget according the time spent in each country
check the weather during the travel
give information about the country such as visa, money, security
I am sure that now you want to have a look on my itinerary:
I am Anne-Laure and I created this blog in order to share with you my winemaking and winegrowing adventures around the world!
Even if I look more like a Dutch or German girl, I am 100% from Bretagne in France! I grew up in a farm since my parents were farmers! Then I lived in Germany, in the UK and in the Netherlands! A Breton traveller…until then everything is normal! 😉
I’ve decided to travel more further with a world trip but I wanted this project to be linked with another passion: the wine.
Thus the project has been created: Sauvignon & Co, to discover the vineyards around the world!
It’s time to tell you about Chile! I spent three weeks in Chile with a lot of vineyards (I have not written half of the wine articles yet) and I took my time in a lot of cities!
Capital of Chile, Santiago is a city of about 5 million inhabitants, which looks very much like a big European city! I stayed there for two days. Pollution is also very present! The city is constantly covered with a veil! In two days I only saw the mountains that surround it once so much pollution is important! Santiago is a nice city with several cerro (hill in the city) that gives a good view of the city!
Ah Valpo (for intimates) is such a nice city! I stayed there for 6 days! The top of Valpo is just to walk the streets and get lost (not too much anyway because Valparaiso may be dangerous)! I started to do one of my favorite activities: find a park in the sun and read by observing the life of the neighborhood!
Vicuña et blog
I then went to the Pisco area (article coming on the Pisco)! Vicuña is the dolce vita! It is a small village where it is good to walk around and take your time! I also took a bike tour of 18km to visit the surroundings!
But this city was also the moment of pause to write my articles! As I told you, it takes time to write a blog. Indeed to write an article and publish it I need between 3h and 4h!
First we have to choose what we are going to tell and how to write in French and then translate it into English! To publish the photos I must reduce them because they are too important to be supported by the site so after the selection must change the size! Then come the time of the formatting on the site and the planning of the publication!
All these actions allow to produce a single article in 3h / 4h! In total on my site we currently find 84 articles!
This only concerns the writing of articles because a website is talking! We have to manage the unwanted comments! I know that some of you can not comment and I have not been able to know where it came from because for me all comments are allowed for articles! I hope you will be able to comment on this article! 😉
San Pedro de Atacama et petite mésaventure
Last destination before arriving in Bolivia, I did not stay long because too much for my budget and I had a little mishap! Indeed after 9 months of travel, I lost my camera! ☹! Fortunately for me in the week I had saved all my photos on my hard drive! I had to buy a small camera for the end of my trip! This did not encourage me to stay in San Pedro, so I fled the bad waves to leave Uyuni and his famous salar but that’s for an upcoming article!
Pictures…oops those pictures have been lost with the camera!!
I wrote this article in Lima Peru before taking my flight to Colombia! It will be published when I will probably be in Cartagena to enjoy the beaches of the Caribbean coast!
The end is coming in mid August in France so I have a little month and a half to enjoy this great experience so I apologize in advance if nothing is published regularly on the site! For the end it is going to be Columbia and California !
I will post on my return because I learned even more in Chile about wines and I visited also a winery in Perou ! and I still have to show you what I saw and did in Bolivia and in Peru !