Friday, March 26, 2010

The Mendoza of the North

In a country famous for its Malbecs, most wine lovers head to Argentina's wine capital of Mendoza for tastings and winery visits, but there is another wine producer up in the little-visited North. Cafayate is a quiet little gem of a town with dry conditions and a high altitude perfect for producing Torrontes grapes. Deliciously fruity and sweet on the nose, Torrontes is a white wine which surprises the palate with its crisp dryness. The relatively low-scale production level of most of the vineyards here, and the slight obscurity of this type of wine, mean that Cafayate is not as well-known to tourists, and as a result was easier on our pocketbook than much of Argentina. We probably would have bypassed it completely were it not for the recommendation of a fellow traveller who said that it was one of his favourite places on the continent; we agree!

The road to Cafayate:
We shared a taxi with two others, which made getting to Cafayate cheaper and faster that it would have been on the bus.

We stopped for a photo-op with this toothy llama.

Quite the underbite...

Nanni Winery, the oldest winery in the town of Cafayate

After sampling all the Nanni wines, we went on a walk in search of goat cheese, another specialty of the region.

Josh tries his first Argentine steak (also his first real food after the typhoid). In Argentina, you get exactly what is on the menu: steak means steak, and as you can see, hardly any veggies to go along with it! Any side dishes must be ordered separately.

Nothing quenches a heat wave like a cup of locally produced wine ice cream

Wine museum at Vasija Secreta Winery

Our hotel room key: Argentina has a delightful abundance of old-fashioned style keys which vastly outnumber their modern counterparts.

Our nightly feast of wine, bread, cheese, preserved aubergine, tomato, olives and the world's greatest wood oven baked empanadas!

Finca de las Nubes Winery

The vineyard owners claimed that rocks such as this one, which were scattered around the property, were used as mortars by an ancient indigenous culture.

More delicious wine and cheese! Note the bottle of soda water in the back, an important part of any Argentine meal.

Etchart Winery
Etchart is one of the bigger wine names in Cafayate, producing thousands of bottles each day. Most of the wineries we visited have relatively small production levels, and their wines are only available in the Salta area, but Etchart wines are sold all over Argentina as well as being exported.

Our fellow tasters

Domingo Hermanos Winery

1 comment:

P and P said...

Wow you guys! The contents of this post would make a wonderful promo brochure or website for the region, or food magazine article. Fantastic still-life photography Laura!