Platinum List 2019: Best Vineyard Experience
Vik Chile, Gérard Bertrand, Château d’Esclans
Extraordinary vintages combine with excellent restaurants and accommodations in these bucolic establishments.
Two hours south of Santiago in the fertile Millahue Valley, I arrive at Vik Chile’s hilltop hotel to find a landscape lost in chilly winter fog. But as the morning progresses, soft golden light slowly unveils a narrow valley of colorful wetlands and glassy lagoons hemmed in by rolling, wooded hills, with vineyards patterning the lower slopes. Brilliant sunshine soon transforms the grey surroundings into a vibrant painting. The native Mapuche meaning of Millahue—“place of gold”—is immediately clear. And that golden light is responsible for much more than picturesque vistas: It’s also a key component in creating the world-class silky red wines of Viña Vik, Vik Chile’s accompanying 11,000-acre holistic vineyard, featuring a futuristic, eco-conscious winery.
To read more about the Best Vineyard Experience of 2019, click here.
La Motte en Provence, France
A few hours northeast, in the heart of Provence, lies Château d’Esclans, home to the most popular rosé in the world, Whispering Angel. The 19th-century estate offers private wine tastings, as well as tours of the vineyard and cellars where traditional form meets modern function. “Our state-of-the-art equipment facilitates the possibility to make great rosé like never before,” says Château d’Esclans’ Tom Schreckinger.
Between France’s La Clape Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea sits Gérard Bertrand’s biodynamic winery, Château l’Hospitalet. The retired rugby star’s 2,500-acre estate offers visitors a multisensory experience: “Seeing, smelling and sensing the energy of life here allows guests to understand what we do,” says Bertrand. A guided tour starts at the vineyard, moves to the winery and ends with a multicourse dinner at the Michelin-recommended restaurant L’Art de Vivre by chef Laurent Chabert. Guests are welcome to stay at the intimate 38-room hotel, where every room features a bottle of wine.