Visiting Finca las Nubes
First charmed by Mounier when tasting its incredible Torrontés in Mendoza, we jumped at the opportunity to visit the winery, known by both Mounier and Finca las Nubes, and located in beautiful Cafayate in the north of Argentina.
Eleven years old, this boutique winery makes affordable and wonderful wines. The only drawback for North American consumers is its export ratio: 90% of the production remains within the country while a tiny 10% is exported. Since the winery makes a mere 50,000 bottles annually, not much ends up on wine shop shelves in the US.
Visiting Mont Gras
Of the Chilean wineries we visited, Mont Gras was a less inspiring tour. In comparison to the more authentic Viu Manent, their hacienda plays the role of "Disney Winery" being much more modern and lacking much of the charm. On the bright side, they guided us through the experimental section of their vineyards and let us taste several different grape varietals direct from the vine. Frankly, it all tasted like grapes to me - the biggest difference was in the ripeness and sweetness of each grape which varies from week to week. I couldn't taste a flavor difference in the grapes themselves.
Viu Manet winery tour
Viu Manet is a winery with a rich history in the Colchagua Valley in Chile. At the winery tour, we were taken from the tourist house to the winery by way of the vineyards while riding in horse-drawn carriages. Our chauffeurs were dressed in traditional Chileno garb and were great story tellers. The winery itself ("5 million liters a year - quite small") was pretty standard, but the tourism house - with a restaurant, gift shop, and tasting room - was quite stunning. The historic hacienda which provides the ambiance for this building only made the offering more charming.