Georgia and Susanne choose Pisco to create their own special cocktails at Pisco Bar in Lima, Peru.

Pisco es Peru... as is world class gastronomy, spectacular landscape, incredible people and of course Machu Picchu!

In a word, our adventure to Peru, a world of hidden treasures was magical. 

Our mandate as we landed on Peruvian soil, in the capital city of Lima, located in  a desert, surrounded by surreal spaces of sand dunes was to discover the "Pisco Trail". Pisco, you see is the name of Peru's national drink, a grape spirit, a wonderful elixir that is made with grapes from vast, green vineyards that flourish in the heart of the arid deserts of Peru. Our exploration of this traditional spirit that dates back hundreds of years was a delectable journey of a drink of equisite qualities. There is a story to Pisco, we enjoy the unravelling of its secrets and  its mysteries as shared with us by the proprietors of several Bodegas.  Be sure to ask for Pisco on your next evening out, as Pisco is the new rising star at the bar!

Pisco is Peru - The Wine Ladies TV Part 1

Pisco is Peru - The Wine Ladies TV Part 2

Pisco is Peru - The Wine Ladies TV Part 3

Read more: Our adventure to Peru, a world of hidden treasures. Truly magical!

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile.... and Carmenere too!

A moment in time, frozen in our minds for ever.... was the vision of the spectacular Andes mountains as we approached the captial city of Santiago, Chile. Breathtaking in a  rainblow of colours, we inhaled the magnificence of the largest mountain range in the world. Chile, at last, we’d so  been looking forward to this day! On the world wide stage of wine, Chile has an enviable position!

Stunning Santiago with the Andes as a backdrop. Breathtaking!

Welcome to Chile! It may be long and skinny in size and shape, but it’s awfully big and fat when it comes to fabuous wines and food!  As a wine producing country Chile has been dealt a winning hand thanks in large part to its natural barriers, the Atacama Desert in the north, the  magnificent Andes Mountains in the east, Patagonian icefields to the south and of course the Pacific Ocean to the west. These geogrpahic barriers serve Chile well, protecting the vineyards from pests and disease, while also facilitating organic and even biodynamic viticulture. Chile, in fact was never affected by the root eating louse Phylloxera that decimated the winegrowing regions in the mid 1800's. As a result grafting was never necessary and the great majority of Chile’s vines are planted on their original rootstocks unlike the majority of grapevines in the "old world" planted on the hearty North American rootstocks, their saviour! Many maintain Chilian vines are at a huge advantage with vines better able to express their character and their terroir.

Wine Map courtesy Wines of Chile

On our all too short recent visit to Chile we had the opportunity to experience three of the fourteen wine regions including the Maipo Valley, "numero uno" for Cabernet Sauvignon, Leyda, the newest cool climate region producing premium white wines knocking it out of the ball park and the Colchagua Valley, one of Chile’s best-known regions particularly applauded for its Carmenere, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here we share the time we spent with Mont Gras Properties, a company founded in 1992 by  brothers Hernán and Eduardo Gras as well as Cristian Hartwig, who has since moved on to other avenues.  Mont Gras Properties’ mission was to create world-class wines that reflected Chile’s best terroirs. Today, “mission accomplished” with Mont Gras enjoying tremendous success with their line-up of wines including a variety of Mont Gras Colchagua, their ultra-premium “Ninquen” reds from Chile’s first mountain vineyard  also located in Colchagua, Amaral from Leyda and last but not least INTRIGA Maipo 1865.

MontGras Properties

Read more: MontGras Colchagua, Chile The Wine Ladies Adventure.

MAD ABOUT MALBEC IN MENDOZA

We are mad alright, about the amazing Malbecs we enjoyed on our recent visit to Mendoza, Argentina. A grape that was once popular in Bordeaux as one of the 5 permitted players in traditional Bordeaux blends, say Malbec today and the automatic response is “the grape of Argentina” and with good reason!

The Malbec grape is to Argentina as Shiraz is to Australia, Zinfandel to California, Pinotage to South Africa and more recently Carmenere to Chile... it has found its niche, putting this grape on the world wine map, producing amazing wines, with descriptives the likes of “floral, violets, licorice, spicy, deep red and black fruit, chocolate or coffee... and most distinctively the sweet, soft, silky, mouthfilling tannins!

Such an impact has been made with this varietal in its modern domaine that an annual tribute “Malbec World Day” will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary April 17th, 2013. The 43 countries which participated in 2012 will surely be surpassed this year! Watch for events happening in close to 100 cities, including our very own Toronto!

Although with a rich history and deep roots, Malbec was first planted in Argentina as far back as 1852 brought over by French agronomist Michel Pouget, it is only in the last couple of decades that it has begun to take centre stage, and be so deservedly appreciated around the world of wine.

While in Argentina we experienced the magic of Malbec first hand, while even more magically against the constant backdrop of the absolutely breathtaking Andes, the largest mountain range in the world, the lifeline for the Malbec vineyards and others, providing them the drink to survive and thrive. 

The Andes, Cordon del Plata peak makes a stunning backdrop for the Fabre Montmayou vineyards.

Our itinerary included visiting the two primary wine producing provinces in the country; Mendoza, responsible for 80% of all wines produced and second in production San Juan, a little further north, with differing soils and climate producing wines of its unique personality.

First stop was in Vistalba located in the “departement” of Lujan du Cuyo, in Mendoza, at a boutique winery called Fabre Montmayou.  Geographically, think of Argentina as a big set with multiple subsets. Argentina, divides into fourteen provinces, with Mendoza being the king-pin of wine production, within Mendoza there are “departments” which include Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, which we later visit, with each expressing differing characteristics, and within the department of Lujan de Cuyo is Vistalba, the home of Fabre Montmayou. 

Georgia inspects the Malbec with winemaker, owner, director Hervé Joyaux Fabre of Fabre Montmayou.

 

We speak of roots, and here at Fabre Montmayou on 15 hectares, they run deep, with the Malbec vines dating back to 1908 brought over by the first immigrants to come to Argentina. The roots, or ancestry of founder Herve Joyaux Fabre come from Bordeaux, with generations involved with the vine. In 1992 on a visit, Herve was seduced by the potential of the magnificent malbec grape in Mendoza and there was no turning back! Fabre Montmayou was born.

Read more: Mad about Malbec. Malbec World Day April 17th!The Wine Ladies in Mendoza, Argentina

We will soon discover, there is definitely fabulous food here in Aruba, and they even have a winemaker on the island, sought after by international media, knocking on the barrel cellar door, anxious to discover and sample the wines made here in such an arid climate. How does he do it? Vincente Kock of Vino Vince, located in Santa Cruz, Aruba.

Vincente explains how he became the Wine Wizard during our interview.

Read more: Aruba winemaker, Meet The Wine Wizard, The Wine Ladies TV

Aruba beckons... although small in size, just 30 km long and 8 km wide, this stunning Caribbean island is big on beauty, with long stretches of white sandy beaches, sensuous sparkling turquoise waters and gentle trade winds that caress and cool the skin while enjoying the rays of the tropical sun. We are returning to this incredible island, after many, many years, as our father's identical twin started the very first hotel here, called the Manchebo Beach Hotel.  Aruba has become an incredibly desirable destination with so much to offer and to celebrate including an annual Wine, Food and Art Festival, held at The Westin Resort and Casino, Aruba right up our alley!

Watch The Wine Ladies TV and our adventures in Aruba here.

 We look forward to a having an awesome week of a little R&R, some fun and some seriously yummy eating...accompanied by some fine wines of course!  All this with our friends, a group of five fun loving ladies who also happen to be quite the foodies!

 

We are welcomed by broad smiles and happy faces with an aim to please. The native "Aruban"  speaks three to four  languages, is friendly and engaging, "bon bini" is how you are greeted, followed with Bon dia, Bon tardi, and Bon nochi as the sunset approaches. This is the vocab from the local language here, Papiamento, a creole language derived from African languages and either Portuguese or Spanish, with some influences from Amerindian languages, English and Dutch. We met one local, Romeo who could say this in almost any language known to mankind! Check out this talented man here. It's pretty cool! 

Aruba Good Morning in over 100 languages! WOW

 

We will soon discover, there is definitely fabulous food here, and they even have a  winemaker on the island, sought after by international media, knocking on the barrel cellar door, anxious to discover and sample the wines made here in such an arid climate. How does he do it? Vincente Kock of Vino Vince, located in Santa Cruz, Aruba.

Vincente explains how he became the Wine Wizard during our interview.

Read more: Aruba a paradise of sandy white beaches, sparkling turqoise waters, amazing food and wine!

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