Any dusty road in Salta’s small wine town of Cafayate will take you to a bodega (winery) open to the public for tours and wine sampling. Cafayate’s dry climate, high altitude, hot days and cool nights makes it a prime location for wine production.
Cafayate is most famous for its iconic Torrontés grape used to create an aromatic, dry, fruity white wine that may even win over those who go for more standard whites.
Torrontés Riojano variety wine has received a great deal of global praise, earning it the notable title of, ‘the white wine of Argentina.’ Indeed, Torrontés is Argentina’s only signature wine and this area has the perfect soil conditions and sunny climate to produce.
Argentina’s international wine industry is still young, but enologists keep working on producing fresh, aromatic Torrontés, winning awards in the process.
Red Wines in Cafayate
Thanks in large part to French wine-maker, Michel Rolland, in recent years Cafayate has been getting more attention for its red wines as well.
Principal among the red wines from this region are Malbec, of course, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The blends with Cabernet Sauvignon give more depth to Malbec, adding hints of plum and blackcurrant, and are typically aged in oak barrels.
There are a handful of bodegas to choose from, many in relatively close proximity to Cafayate’s main plaza. Ambitious wine connoisseurs could certainly visit all of them in one day, but should plan on a brutal hangover the next morning.
To go further afield, signing up for a group wine tour is recommended unless you prefer to rent a car and have a saintly friend willing to serve as a designated sober driver.
Popular Bodegas in Cafayate
Bodega El Esteco is a high-end vineyard founded in 1892 by two French brothers. El Esteco has a variety of tour options from one-hour to six-hour tours. El Esteco also has a luxury hotel and spa set in a grand colonial building for those who feel like splurging. Tours daily,English tours are available upon request.
Patio de Cafayate/ Bodega El Esteco
Route 40 at Route 68
Tel : (03868) 421-283
Cell: (03868) 15 566-019
Bodega Las Nubes is a lovely choice for a vineyard tour. A tour is free with the purchase of a bottle of wine.
This small organic vineyard is located about five kilometers from the town center, but Las Nubes’ exceptional scenery makes this a worthwhile stop. A charming lunch service is available upon advanced request via email.
Finca Las Nubes
El Divisadero (at the foot of El Cajón)
Tel: (03868) 422-129
Bodega Nanni is a popular organically certified and sustainable vineyard that offers wine tours. The family has been producing wine for 110 years. Although an obscure variety in Argentina, they have a lovely Tannat for the red wine lovers. The on-site restaurant gets good reviews.
Tel: (03868) 421-527
Vasija Secreta, Cafayate’s oldest vineyard, is set in a colonial-style property and offers free one-hour tours and wine tasting. There is also an interesting museum displaying old-fashioned wine making equipment and old black and white photos.
Ruta 40 -CP 4427
Tel: (03868) 421-850
Bodega La Rosa is another popular winery founded in 1892, most famous internationally for its ‘Michael Torino’ Torrontés’.
Their Finca La Escondida and CXV-Cientoquince are other popular blends, especially on the Japanese market. The winery offers free tours in Spanish from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. , Monday through Friday.
Michel Torino/Bodega La Rosa
Route 40 at Route 68/ 3km outside Cafayate (4427)
Cafayate’s Wine Museum
Not a winery but a must-visit for any wine-maker, sommelier or high-class wino. The Cafayate Wine Museum/Museo de la Vid y el Vino is is a museum solely dedicated to grape growing and wine production. A place for great panoramic views and to learn more about Cafayate’s wine-making history and culture.
Museo de Vitivinicultura
Güemes Sur at Colon
Tel: (03868) 421-125
• Hours: Tue-Sun: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
Those who want to ensure they get tours and tastings in English will want to call ahead to check if they give English tours on request, or better yet sign up for full-service tour such as the Full Day Wine & Valley Tour of Cafayate from Salta.
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