The first wine we are tasting for our South American tour is at the De Martino winery in the Maipo Valley, just south of Santiago. Their terrific value Legado Carmenere ( Chile's signature indigenous grape) showcases brambleberries, citrus and spices on a well structured and balanced palate. For night 2 we head south to the Maule Valley, tasting the Laberinto Las Cenizas Sauvignon Blanc, always one of the best on the continent with a mouth-watering acidity on the finish which leaves one salivating for more. We head still further south on the 3rd night to the cool climate Itata Valley, an area recently rediscovered and boasting old vines of cinsault and carignan on granite soils. Try any cinsault you can from the Itata, they redefine the grape. The Montes Outer Limits Old Roots Cinsault is the real deal - a full, juicy, lip-smacking fruity red replete with red fruits and blueberries with hints of caramel, candied apples and sweet spices.
On night 4 we cross the border to the southernmost wine region of Argentina, Patagonia and the Humberto Canale Old Vine Malbec whose 1969 plantings feature aromas of fresh, dark plums and spicy notes combined with the typical toasty vanilla flavours from barrel aging. Heading north on the 5th night to Argentina's largest and most famous wine region, Mendoza, we taste a superb, crisp and refreshing example of Argentina's signature white wine grape, Torrentes, made by Matias Riccitelli. Finally, on night 6, we had north to the high altitude Salta region for one of the country's most acclaimed Malbecs from Bodega Colome. This densely packed, fine-grained and savoury Malbec, with its ripe, creamy flavours complicated by a wild gamey quality is rich, concentrated and deep finishing ripely tannic and long, with compelling sweetness of fruit.