Last day in Lima. Trying not to look like a tourist.
Three straight days eating and drinking like a king can put a toll on you. I knew I was gonna indulge out here but damn… And of course, we have another 3+ hour meal at the #30 restaurant in the world (Astrid & Gaston) for our last night in Peru. But before that we decided to go into downtown Lima and check out some historic buildings, museums, and the outdoor marketplace.
So hopped in an uber and headed downtown which was only about 15 min from our hotel. The downtown square is beautiful and is called the Plaza Mayor. It was constructed in the mid 1500’s and is surrounded by gorgeous yellow buildings that include the Municipal Palace of Lima, Club of the Union, and the Headquarters of the Caretas Magazine. Also in the Plaza Mayor, there is the Cathedral of Lima, the Archbishop’s Palace of Lima, and the eye opening Government Palace. It has been regarded as the finest and most well formed Plaza in the world by some historians.
Heading back to Miraflores to get ready for Astrid & Gaston.
This restaurant was again an excellent experience. The building was huge! It looks like a huge mansion from the outside, and inside has multiple dining rooms and 5 separate kitchens. 13 courses of French inspired techniques but with Peruvian flavors. Seafood driven, with a good amount of white wines to pair with each course. I brought the somm’s wines from Vine Cliff Winery so they could all try with their team and maybe think of having our wines on their wine list since California was not vastly represented. After the fabulous dinner, I chatted with some of the chefs, and found out that one of them knew and worked for a couple of people that I knew in Chicago which was super cool. Next, I gave our thanks to the staff, and headed back to say our goodbyes to Sergio at Chill Out.
After a couple of late night pisco sours with Sergio, we had to get back to the hotel since we had just recently realized that our flight was mad early and that we were probably gonna get a nice long 4 hours of sleep that night. But as it was, Lima was so much more than I anticipated, and believe me when I tell you I had sky high expectations. I really hope I can go back and see the growth of wine culture and maybe even go back to see Vine Cliff on some of these top notch wine lists too. We’ll see.
Alright! Onward to Chile 🇨🇱 for wine…..
Ok, made it to Chile!
Santiago is the first stop, and we will be here for about four days. It’s a city of a little over six million people with a ton of history and diversity. It also sits inside of a wine region called the Maipo Valley that houses some of Chiles oldest and most famous wineries. During our stay in Santiago we wanted to see a couple of these bigger producers to keep everything in perspective in aspects of wine history, and where wine is going in Chile.
Our first winery stop was Cusiño Macul. This is a historic winery that has been making wine since the 1870’s. I was met by the export director named Tomas, who took great personal care of us. He and a colleague of his (Andres) gave us a history lesson of the winery and then asked us if we wanted to take a bike tour of the vineyards….Hell yea!…. Super fun experience. In my opinion, all winery tours should start and focus in the vineyards. Great wine is not made in the winery. When a wine has love and soul, it gets that from the dirt, the climate, the TLC it gets from the viticulturist. Seeing all of that first and, tasting the grapes, kicking the dirt, feeling the rocks… that’s where it all starts to make sense. To me.. at least.
Chile is typically not even in the same sentence as Peru when it comes to the food scene. However what they lack in the gastronomical food aspect, they more than make up with it in the wine culture. Almost twenty DO’s with all having various climates and unique vineyard management. Maipo valley is one of those truly a great regions to learn about where Chilean wine has been for the past 100 years. The other regions I’m gonna visit are going to highlight where Chilean wine is going.
Super excited about this county and the wines it has to offer.