Sunrise, and the first clouds seen in 7 days! Below, on the road….
A sea of grape vines!
Today is what is referred to as a rolling recovery day. That means not as many km on the bike as we would normally do. Today we did 61 km and 2843 ft of climbing, but it was interrupted with a stop at a winery in the Apalta region. Here we stretched our legs with a 4 km long, 1400ft high hike in the mountains on the winery property. We walked along an indigenous tribal stone wall to summit at a large split rock ledge. The view gave us a 360 degree vista and was gorgeous.
Looking down on the roof of the winery (it is below ground) and a $1000USD per night hotel is the building on the right
Good thing the ride was short after the wine bonanza of last night that continued into dinner!……
Lapostelle Wineries…Clos Apalta
There are 10 wine regions in Chile, we have ridden through 3 so far.
The winery we stopped at was Clos Apalta, a small high end winery owned by Lapostelle, the famous Chilean wine maker. This winery produces only 60,000 bottles per year, small when compared to the main Lapostelle brand that produces 3 million bottles per year. Clos Apalta makes only one wine, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Carmenere grapes, and all grown on their property. The grapes are all picked by hand, dehydrated grapes discarded by hand, and pressed by hand. The carmenere grape is indigenous to Chile.
One bottle of Clos Apalta costs $160 USD…..it was very tasty!
What a Place!
Equally amazing was the winery itself. It is modern and built into the side of the mountain and underground, to allow natural climate to control the wine process. The process starts at the top of the building and each stage occurs on floors below so that gravity propels the wine to the kegs in decreasing temperatures.
Allie Sunshine is ever present!
On the floor above these 21 vats, the grapes are sorted and pressed by hand and deposited. One floor down, the wine is poured from the vats into the kegs, where they sit for at least two years…
And one floor below below that is the tasting room where bottles are racked, including a wine ‘library’. This collection has bottles that are between 5 to 22 years old. Bottles are periodically toasted to see how they hold up over time.Fernando the sommelier told us that the 5 vintners responsible for Clos Apalta feel that this wine aged 8 to 10 years is the best.
Most of us put on blankets to keep warm in the wine tasting room!
Punta de Lobos, Pichelemu
Three wine tastings later we rode the last 48 km with a long technical descent to Pichilemu and final destination to Punta de Lobos (Wolf’s Point). We have arrived on the shores of the South Pacific again! Pichilemu is the surfing capital of Chile and one of the world’s premier surfing sites.
Our hotel, the Cuarzo Lodge, overlooks the ocean and has a cool seaside ambiance about it…..and our own personal ‘Tinacas’ (wooden hot tub barrel) on the deck.
Dinner tonight was in a 18th century convent for Chilean vegeatarian soul food. Situated on the outermost tip of Punta de Lobos, we watched surfers below, the sun set and the moon rise and ate an amazing meal.
And tomorrow is the first rest day of the trip. It will be spent cleaning and tuning up the bikes, maybe some laundry, catching up on some emails and hanging out with the surfing fanatics! Definitely some sight seeing!
Lets get BIKING4BENCHES folks! and support The Allie Sunshine Project.