Santiago Is Surrounded by Chile’s Famous Wine Regions — but You Can Enjoy the Country’s Best Wines Without Leaving the City
The Chilean capital is surrounded not by sprawling suburbs, but by undulating emerald vines. To the west lie the cool-climate Leyda and Casablanca Valleys, known for their grassy Sauvignon Blancs and earthy Syrahs. Up north is the Aconcagua Valley, with its formidable, full-bodied Bordeaux blends. South and east lead to the Maipo Valley, home of the iconic Chilean Cabernet Sauvignons found on shelves around the world.
Until recently, visitors had to rent a car and cross Santiago city limits just to sample the best bottles. But that’s changed thanks to a new crop of urban wine bars that act as barometers of emerging trends.
Start in the fashionable Lastarria neighborhood with a sommelier-led tasting at the vinobar credited with kicking off the movement: Bocanáriz. Then, stroll over to the Santiago Wine Club shop, where the staff is eager to show off rare and unusual bottles — high-altitude Grenache, old-vine Carignan — all from indie vintners and experimental winemaker associations such as Chanchos Deslenguados.
Just across the Mapocho River in the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood, Polvo pairs organic wines from small producers with artisanal charcuterie boards in a space reminiscent of a smart country store. (It’s a great stop after a visit to La Chascona, the delightfully eclectic former home of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, located a block away.) Elsewhere in the neighborhood you’ll find the vibrant dining complex Patio Bellavista, and its cavernous wine bar Barrica 94 — where you can sample more than three dozen labels by the glass. Need a nightcap? Try Salon Chharqu for herbaceous cocktails with indigenous ingredients, or Siete Negronis for a highball made with Träkál, a ginlike spirit distilled in Patagonia.
Where to Stay
Back in Lastarria, travelers can find some of the city’s most atmospheric lodgings — including the high-design Hotel Magnolia, with an aesthetic of exposed bricks, checkered tiles, and playful geometric lighting. Nearby, The Singular offers a buzzy roof bar, art-filled lounges, and spacious rooms with plush, handsome furnishings. For a more intimate experience, book a room at Hotel Carmenere, an eco-conscious five-key casona with an underground wine cellar where guests can enjoy the peppery punch of the hotel’s namesake grape.
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