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High Altitude Wines of Cafayate, Argentina

Visiting northern Argentina

Ever since a trip back in 2000 to the north of Argentina, I've been hooked. With its indigenous culture, beautiful red mountains, and tranquilo vibe, the only thing that could make the north better is wine. Oh wait, wine there is. Wineries in Cafayate have long been famous for making the best Torrontés available, but the quality of its reds are quickly improving as well. Bodega Mounier/Finca las Nubes is a favorite winery in Cafayate, but we visited some other interesting ones as well. Interestingly, most wineries in Cafayate are producing Tannat, a varietal made famous by Uruguay and seldom found in the rest of Argentina.


Splurge-worthy wine recommendations from Argentina

What is a splurge-worthy wine?

It seems that one reason many people are attracted to wine from the Spanish-speaking world--Chile, Argentina, Spain, and Uruguay--is because they are generally extremely economical. You can get a great bottle of wine for $10 and even less. Since most people want to spend around $10-$15 for a bottle of wine, I'm defining a splurge as anything above $15. While there are some that are significantly more than that, the most expensive bottle I'm recommending is $50.

Price to quality

Sure a $100 bottle of wine is probably good. It's probably great. But is it worth the price? Is it really that much better than a different $25 bottle, will you really get $75 more enjoyment out of it...which would take 20 hours of teaching English in Argentina to pay for?

Argentine blends


Finca las Nubes: Wines from Bodega Mounier

Visiting Finca las Nubes

First charmed by Mounier when tasting its incredible Torrontés in Mendoza, we jumped at the opportunity to visit the winery, known by both Mounier and Finca las Nubes, and located in beautiful Cafayate in the north of Argentina.

Eleven years old, this boutique winery makes affordable and wonderful wines. The only drawback for North American consumers is its export ratio: 90% of the production remains within the country while a tiny 10% is exported. Since the winery makes a mere 50,000 bottles annually, not much ends up on wine shop shelves in the US.


Wine from the end of the earth: Patagonian reds

Wineries of Patagonia: Dino Vino

A relatively new wine industry is cropping up in Neuquén, Argentina, a province making up the north of Patagonia, known for its dinosaur bones. The three wineries we visited, NQN, Bodega del fin del Mundo, and Familia Schroeder, are all relatively large wineries with decent advertising budgets. Their success has been notable outside of Argentina, perhaps due to the allure of drinking a wine from an area thought to be exotic and uncontaminated. The wines, however, are not just enjoyed abroad: a recent article reported residents of Neuquén consume more wine than milk in their diets.


A Family-Run Boutique Winery: Bodega Sottano

Bodega Sottano's story

On the same road where you'll find Séptima and Ruca Malén, relatively new winery Sottano is making some great wines and is opening its doors to winery tours. The winery is a shared project of the three Sottano brothers, natives of Mendoza with Italian heritage and a family history of bulk winemaking. The winery building was designed by the brothers with the goals of fitting into the desert landscape of Mendoza and on the inside, being able to see all aspects of the winery from one place: the cellars and barrels, the tanks, the vineyard, and, of course, the beautiful Andes mountains that provide the water runoff that makes grape-growing possible in Mendoza.


Bodega La Azul

La Azul Winery

This enormously cute winery in Valley de Uco of Mendoza, Argentina, La Azul is one of the smallest production wineries we've visited. Perhaps their size allows the focus and attention needed to produce some incredible wines. Like many wineries in Mendoza, Azul is a relatively new winery in Argentina with its first wines produced in 2003.


Hacienda del Plata: a winery representing Argentina

Perhaps one of the wineries in Mendoza that best encapsulates the gaucho image and lifestyle of Argentina is Hacienda del Plata. The winery actually grew out of the ranching lifestyle: its parent company a famous grain grower in Cordoba, Argentina. In 1999, the company started the winery, and all of its wines have names related to the ranching industry: Zagal (the name for a young man who works on a ranch), Arrieros (named after an older cattle driver), Mayoral (the boss of the ranch), and Cumbre (the summit, in this case the Andes).


Family Winemaking Tradition: Argentine Winery Familia Cassone

Old World and New World Wines

Frederico Casonne from Familia Cassone Winery in Mendoza, Argentina describes the world of wine as divided into two groups: Old World wines from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Germany and New World wines crafted in Argentina, Chile, United States, New Zealand, and South Africa. Without history and tradition on their side, New World wineries hope to create a new kind of wine, with their own style and distinct taste.

The Cassone Family and their Wines



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