After a slightly treacherous but splendid time in Mendoza, we were intrigued to hear about Cafayate – a smaller wine region in Argentina, most famous for its Torrontes white wine. As a bigger fan of white than red, this peaked my interest even further and we decided to take a look. What greeted us was a charming town with incredible scenery, the best empanadas in Argentina, friendly animals and delicious Cafayate wine. Here’s our trip in photos.
When we arrived in Cafayate, we made a beeline for the nearest ice cream parlour to try some of the famous Cafayate wine ice cream. We tried both the Torrontes and the Malbec. The white was definitely our favourite and spurred us to wish there were more alcohol ice-cream flavours. Caipirinha flavour would be lush.
Enjoying Cafayate wine
In the evening, we met our friend Erin who had been with us while whale watching in Puerto Madryn. We went to the Casa de Las Empanadas (Calle Mitre, 24), which had been recommended by fellow bloggers Never Ending Voyage.
It turned out these were our favourite empanadas yet. There were five vegetarian options including an amazing one called the Griega with olives, tomatoes, cheese and spinach.
The next day, we headed out to the goats cheese farm, about a 20-minute walk out of town. Along the way we passed some awesome dogs…
…and a beautiful, friendly horse who walked over to say hello.
The farm was closed but due to open in 20 minutes. We waited and waited but no-one came. At least the view was gorgeous.
And we did get to see this crazy purple cabbage plant.
After so much waiting, it was time for more ice cream at the recommended Heladeria Miranda.
The accolades aren’t exaggerated. The ice-cream was perfect – especially the pink grapefruit.
Next up was the vineyards. We didn’t feel like riding so stuck to the ones in walking distance. First stop was Salvador Figueroa, a tiny family-run bodega wine maker that makes just 5,000 bottles of Malbec and Torrontes per year using hand-operated equipment. We tried three of their tasty reds.
It was over all too quick so we headed to the next winery, El Transito – a modern bodega that lets you try three of their Pietro Marini Cafayate wines for free. It’s great that it’s free but the atmosphere is a little sterile and unfriendly.
Our fourth stop –Bodega Nanni– turned out to be our favourite – both the wine and the bodega itself. The torrontes was my favourite – deliciously fruity to smell and crisp to taste.
All the wine is organic and the guide took us through the whole process expertly.
Nanni also has a beautiful garden where you can rest after the tour…or sleep in Steve’s case.
Our final stop was Domingo Hermanos where they luckily gave us some goats cheese from the farm we’d tried to visit earlier. We also got to try three wines while overlooking the vineyards.
On the way home, we saw a tiny bodeguita (see what we said about Argentina being the sweetest country in the world?) seemingly manned by a little girl.
To round-off a beautiful day, we couldn’t resist returning to the Casa de las Empanadas. An excellent thing happened while there when a tiny dog came in, took one look at me and scrambled over Steve onto my lap. We thought maybe she wanted food but instead she immediately curled up and went to sleep. We called her Pepina and she completely made my day.
All in all, we found Cafayate to be a much more relaxed alternative to Mendoza. We were charmed by the scenery, wowed by the empanadas and delighted by the wine.
In our next post, see the spectacular scenery surrounding Cafayate in the incredible Quebrada de Cafayate.
[box title=”Useful information on Cafayate” color=”#dfdbd8″]
Cafayate is a four-hour bus ride away from Salta. The journey passes through the spectacular Quebrada de Cafayate so make sure you don’t fall asleep. Buses run at least twice a day. We stayed at Ruta 40 Hostel, which was clean, cosy and friendly, with a cute central courtyard and bar. It cost 90 pesos for a shared dorm.
You can get a map of the town and all its bodegas from the tourist information hut in the main square. [/box]