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Wine, Cafayate, Bodega

Cafayate is as popular for its rock formations as for its wine, but the latter is by far the most interesting facet of any visit to this region. Visit Tourist Information on the plaza for excellent information on how to get to all the vineyards listed below.

For starters, the Cafayate bodegas specialise in Torrentes, the fruity-nose-but-dry-palate crisp white that thrives here having died out in its native Spain due to phyloxera. The region benefits from 340 days of pure sunshine which lends a rich intensity to reds especially -Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat leading the way.

The bodegas themselves represent a cross-section of the global wine industry. Etchart, an old winery now under the direction of Pernod-Ricard, is experimenting with such fickle varietals as Pinot Noir to add to its impressive export portfolio. The Etchart tour (free) is very informative and offers a look at the "industrial" end of the trade.

On the opposite end of the scale, "Finca de las Nubes" is a 2 hectare plot producing around 8,000 bottles annually, with 40% of sales being direct from the bodega itself. Focussing on quality rather than quantity, the artesanal nature of the production here is noticeable in the sophistication and longevity of the resulting wines.

Other highlights include the El Transito bodega, another small-production but big-quality enterprise owned by Andres Nanni, a 4th generation winemaker.

The Vasija Secreta bodega is the oldest in the area and well worth visiting for the impressive display of barriques (barrels) and artefacts from the bodega's history

Whatever you do, don't buy a package your from Salta, instead catch the bus to Cafayate with El Indio and stay overnight, returning the next day. You can walk or cycle to most of the bodegas and will enjoy the experience much more than trying to cram everything into a 12-hour tour. I recommend "Rusty K" as a great place to stay overnight (Rivadavia 281 - 422031) with breakfast included, bikes to rent and great tourst info.

Many local restaurants stock great selections of local wines, and there are a couple of good wine stores on the too.

Cafayate is unmissable if you're passing by Salta, the town itself is a laid-back place with a terrific climate and plenty to occupy yourself with.

Further Information

Travel tips:

Many restaurants on the plaza, but walk a block and a hlaf north and you'll find a bunch of other establishments including Bacco, which serves excellent food in decent sized portions, and whose owner will happy regale you with the latest info on Argentine football. Also "apparently) open till 3am.

No need to book in advance most of the year. Quite a few touts (they're all very laid back and not aggressive) hang out round the El Indio terminal and save you bother of traipsing round town to compare prices. That said, be sure to quote - and stick to - the price you were told at the terminal when your arrive at the hostel.


Must see/do at this place:

Visit the following bodegas:

Finca de las Nubes

Nanni

El Transito

Vasija Secreta

Etchart

There are a few more, which tourist information can provide details of.


You should avoid here:

Avoid buying tours in Salta to visit the town. You invariably spend most of the trip travelling and stopping to take photos of rock formations. The tours only allow time for 2 vineyards.




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By Christopher Quinn
I'm 23 and have so far been: an actor, a writer, a student, a website designer, a butcher, a sommelier, a festival-going hippy, a bad tenant, a temp,...
27 Apr 2012


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