Cafayate: Wineland

Posted on June 14, 2011

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I am unsure if it was the mild hangover or the searing heat that made the short bus journey south to Cafayate massively uncomfortable, but in any case we arrived in the small winery town early and checked into El Balcon, a nice hostel with a large kitchen and a sunny roof terrace. It also had four butchers within a 100m radius. We faced one major embarassment upon our arrival: having left Salta in a real rush that morning we had completely forgotten to settle the bill at our hostel, and the provincial police tracked us down to our hostel in Cafayate. All was resolved.

The next couple of hours were spent handwashing clothes (with minimal success) and looking around the town, which was very small. After sampling a red wine flavoured ice cream, which was surprisingly pleasant, we returned to the hostel to comandeer the television and watch an impressive Barcelona beat Manchester United in the Champions League final. Homecooked steak and local wine were the delicacies of choice for that evening, as they would be for most in Argentina.

Due to some appalling timing on our part, our first full day in Cafayate was a Sunday, when most of the vineyeards are shut. We did manage to find one or two that were open, the highlight being Bodega Nanni, in which we were given an extensive tour and explanation. Having been recommended Casa de Empanadas by another traveller, we were not disappointed by the abundance of flavours and great value. It was resolved that we would remain in the town another day to fully sample the local produce, and spent the evening again filling ourselves with meat and vino, whilst playing cards with some fellow gringos.

We hired bikes the next morning to travel to some of the more outlying vineyards, and spent the day taking part in various tastings and tours. Many were based amongst the most stunning mountainous scenery, a brilliant setting to sit in the sun and enjoy a bottle of wine. Needless to say, the cycling became rather difficult after a while, and it was tired and hot that we retired to a restaurant for a mixed grill while awaiting our overnight bus, reflecting on a few days of copious vino consumption.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel