Bottles of Malbec

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 25, 2010

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Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Friday, August 6, 2010

A small town, about 5 hours south of Salta, Cafayate is a well known wine region in Northern Argentina. In fact this tiny town has well over 40 wineyards with several within walking distance of the main plaza. Now I am not really a wine drinker - but since we're here.

Out group of 8 started in the early afternoon, visiting the Mounier winery about 20 minutes outside the centre. Before we were allowed to drink the wine we were obliged to listen to the process in which it is made. Not a lot different from any other vineyard in the world, after all it's just fermented grapes. The wineries here are small family run businesses though and rely on friends, family and volunteers to help pick the grapes during harvest season. There are only 3 permanent staff, yet they produce 10000 bottles a year, all of which are sold directly to restaurants or exported. Although the wine is cheap (20 pesos can get you a very nice bottle in a supermarket), the vintage brands are considerably more expensive as cork can not be grown in Argentina and has to be imported.

We tried the three wines on offer and ended up buying 5 bottles, 3 of which were shared on the spot. The drinking didn't stop there and we headed back towards town stopping off at another winery, Vasija Secreta. Apart from the small museum, it was rather unimpressive.

Our final winery was 'El Esteco Bodega' just up the road. By this time it was getting cold and we were looking for something good to warm us up. Fortunately, we found exactly what we were looking for. Malbecs, Cab Sauvs, Chardonnays, a couple bottles of Torrontés (personal favourite) and a bottle of rosé - we must have collected about 15 bottles for the night. Mark prepared an excellent barbecue and we spent the night in the hostel - good food, good wine and good company.
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