Loma Larga Vineyards, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Loma Larga is the leader in coastal cool climate Chilean wines, located in Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Loma Larga is the leader in coastal cool climate Chilean wines, located in Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Less than an hour’s drive from the Pacific Ocean coast at Valparaiso, Chile, Loma Larga Vineyards in Casablanca Valley is the first winery that we visited in a four day exploration of the Chilean Winelands from the ship.  Our small group of four couples was led by our beverage manager, who specializes in wines and worked far in advance of our trip to set up special experiences at the leading wineries of Chile, located mostly south of Santiago and Valparaiso. 

Just 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Loma Larga was the first winery in the Casablanca Valley to plant red varieties, Lo Ovalle, Chile

Just 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Loma Larga was the first winery in the Casablanca Valley to plant red varieties, Lo Ovalle, Chile

Loma Larga is owned by the Diaz family, whose interest in wine dates back to the Fourth Paris International Exhibition of 1889 when Don Manuel Joaquin Diaz Escudero Alvarez de Toledo, grandfather of the current owners, personally brought French vines back to Chile from Bordeaus.  Intending to keep the tradition alive, the Diaz family studied the climate and soil conditions in the Casablanca Valley and planted their first vines in 1999, naming the vineyard Loma Larga for the “long hill” on which it sits.

We toured the vineyards, planted in 1999, on the horse-drawn carriage at Loma Larga, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

We toured the vineyards, planted in 1999, on the horse-drawn carriage at Loma Larga, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

 

Loma Larga's winery is very modern with the latest equipment, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Loma Larga’s winery is very modern with the latest equipment, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Loma Larga was the first winery in the valley to plant red varieties like Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Syrah, all self-rooted since there is no risk of phylloxera (it has never been found in Chile, to date).  It was a risky venture, especially considering the region’s frequent frosts — 40 percent of Loma Larga’s crop was lost to frost in 2013.  However, tastings show that owners Patricio and Rosita Díaz-Santelices had the right idea.

Walking through Loma Larga's winery facility, I was struck by the besuty of the pallet of new wime bottles awaiting filling, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Walking through Loma Larga’s winery facility, I was struck by the beauty of the pallet of new wine bottles awaiting filling, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

 

 

Loma Larga's cask aging room at the winery, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Loma Larga’s cask aging room at the winery, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

 

Cédric Nicolle, from France’s Loire Valley joined as winemaker in 2009; he put the focus on making pure and fresh wines that express fruit and are easy to drink, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

Cédric Nicolle, from France’s Loire Valley joined as winemaker in 2009; he put the focus on making pure and fresh wines that express fruit and are easy to drink, Lo Ovalle, Casablanca Valley, Chile

 

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