My favorite winery of all the places I visited in Chile was Leyda. The company is run by young, passionate winemakers in the coastal area of San Antonio. This place and the people were so charming, it was hard for me to separate their story of dedication and love from the wines . . . But I was told by the wine writer friends I made that this happens to them too in some respects, so in the end I didn't feel so bad. Their plants are very new, only about 2-3 years old and their coastal breezes create a fruitful micro climate. All the grapes were planted on a slope and are hand picked, "It's the only way."

I loved Leyda because it felt new, alive, humble and different there. My favorite wine from them by far was their Syrah; so warm, jammy and spicy. It was splendid with our lunch of paella, cheeses, salads and a special mushroom risotto prepared just for me.

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