Cafayate

Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Argentina, Play-by-plays, South America | 1 comment

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Cafayate lies in Salta Province, one of Argentina’s wine regions, and its main charm is that it remains a quiet village in a valley surrounded by bodegas and mountain peaks. So quiet it is that no one really answers emails or calls, so don’t bother trying to reserve anything and many of the bodegas close for siesta, early on Saturdays, and don’t even open on Sundays. But despite these obstacles, it is still easy to cab around, walk into the town’s bodegas, eat delicious empanadas and chill out. Cafayate is most known for Torrontes, an aromatic white grape, but popular varietals such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat are also widely grown here. The altitude (1700m) is conducive to grape growth, and the vines get plenty of sunlight, while the low humidity helps alleviate issues with fungi and molds that plague other wine regions.

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So after a 12 hour bus from San Pedro to Salta and then another 4 hour one to Cafayate, we finally got to town ready to imbibe on some vino. One note on buses: none of them should take as long as they do, but combine South American roads, border crossings (these deserve a post of their own), and random stops, and you’re averaging 30mph at best on a bus. Renting a car in Salta to explore Cafayate and the surroundings might actually make some sense.

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Our first stop was Finca Las Nubes, which is a bit away from town. It has a mini tour, a tasting, and picadas. If you contact it ahead of time, apparently you can also arrange a bbq (but the place isn’t super responsive to emails, so I guess you’d have to call). The wine tasting was standard for this area: a white Torrontes, a rose Cab blend, and a Cab/Malbec blend. Think all three were mediocre, so not sure if this place is worth the journey. On our way back to town we walked by Amalaya which looked cool, but sadly was closed.

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Next up was Domingo Molina, which is set beautifully on a hill also away from town. However, the previous night’s rain storm made it temporarily inaccessible by car. But I sneaked in for a few minutes while the cab driver waited by the newly-formed river. I did a quick tasting of a Torrontes, Cabernet, Malbec, and Tannat — all were excellent and I got a bottle of chilled Torrontes to have with lunch later.

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For lunch we stopped at Casa de las Empanadas, which as the name suggests, serves up delicious dough pockets stuffed with goodness. We got a dozen, washed it down with Torrontes and were off to our next stop: Cabras de Cafayate.

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Cabras de Cafayate is a goat farm and goat cheese producer. It is owned by one of the brothers of Bodega Domingo Molina and another of the brothers owns Domingo Hermanos, a bodega we visited the next day. Cabras is a place where happy goats make goat cheese and that makes me happy. We did a tour (10 pesos each) which culminated in a tasting of the cheeses, my favorite though was a cow one. Highlights of goat farm were seeing the animals, learning that they are milked to classical music and that sheep are kept around the chillax the goats (because they are otherwise oh so stressed?!).

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The next morning we visited a few of the bodegas in town, including Domingo Hermanos and Nanni (both good wine) and saw that because it was Sunday, many more were closed. Oh well. We headed back to Salta in the afternoon , and took a 24 hour bus to Puerto Iguazu the next day (fun!) Time to go chasing waterfalls.

One Comment

  1. I have a sudden urge to watch “Sideways” within the next 24 hrs. Live the dream!

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