AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 6
Name of wine estate: Montes
Wine region: Colchagua Valley
Standout points: Francis Mallmann’s Fuego de Apalta restaurant; the Feng Shui-ed Montes winery
Winemaker: Aurelio Montes
Wine style: Full-bodied New World reds
A ratings winner
Montes is one of the most highly rated tourist experiences in the Colchagua Valley.
Under the auspices of winemaker Aurelio Montes, Viña Montes was established in 1998 with a simple yet ambitious aim: to lead the way in raising the status of Chilean wines to a dizzy new level. Its success has paved the way for a plethora of groundbreaking projects. Most recently, Montes has planted a vineyard on the island of Mechuque, Chile, in the extreme south of Chile, at a latitude never before attempted.
The yin and the yang
Visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the beautiful Montes winery, which was constructed in 2004 using the principles of Feng Shui. Here there are options of three carefully managed tours catering to different budgets: on the Angels Tour (90mins), visit the vineyards and taste the Montes Alpha, Limited Selection and Outer Limits wines. The High-end Tour (also 90mins) includes a journey through the vineyards, and visits to both the barrel room and wine boutique. Finally, the Private Tour involves everything above, plus a tasting of the Montes ultra-premium wines: Montes Folly, Purple Angel, Montes Alpha M and Montes Alpha.
The great outdoors
If visiting Apalta, you’re strongly advised make the most of the beautiful outdoors. Visit different vineyard areas within the vast Montes estate, with magnificent views of the surrounding valley, or venture onto the hillside and follow the Montes botanical trail, with yet more stunning vistas.
Playing with fire
Possibly the star attraction of a visit to Montes in Apalta is the gastronomy. Depending on the season, lunch or dinner at Fuegos de Apalta restaurant, situated in the middle of the vineyards, is imperative. This is the restaurant of the fire-loving super-chef Francis Mallmann. Take your pick from meat, fish, and vegetables prepared with different types of fire in a specially designed dome located in the centre of the restaurant – a mouthwatering insight into Mallman’s signature cooking style.