Cafayate wine tasting score: Zeunerts 1-siesta 5- bus 1

Posted by on February 12, 2011

I’d love to say that we just came upon this llama out grazing or perhaps carrying a load of goods for a it’s owner.  But, in reality this was a photo op with a tourist llama. We paid fifty cents to get our photo taken with him.

We hadn’t planned a day of tourist llamas, the day was supposed to be spent wine tasting.   Cafayate is the center of high altitude Argentinian wine production.  We’ve been drinking some excellent wine from the region and wanted to taste it at the actual wineries.

There are several ways to wine taste in Cafayate. You can rent a car, go by bus, stay several nights, or go on a one day tourist excursion.  We opted for the excursion.  The tour was to stop at several sites along the way, the we’d have from 12:00 to 3:00 in the town of Cafayate.  There are about five wineries in town.   Jeff and I are experienced high speed wine tasters.  Smell, swirl, sip, run like hell to the next winery has always been our method of tasting wine.  We were confident that we could hit five wineries in three hours no problem.

The ride to Cafayate was stunning. We went through a gorge and canyon stopping along the way for photos.   The multi colored rocks, and formations like Devil’s Throat alone were worth the trip.

Devil's throat

The bus got to Cafayate around noon and stopped at winery number 1, Nanni.   We had a great tasting there.

The other two couples on the tour weren’t interested in tasting wine. You can see them in the background in the photo.   We left them to have lunch while we quickly scarfed down some empanadas and coffee.  We couldn’t wait to taste more wine.  We walked quickly to winery number two.

Winery #2 – closed for sietsta

Wintery #3 – closed for siesta

Winery #4 – closed for siesta

Winery #5 – closed maybe forever

You would think after almost three months in Argentina, we’d realize that businesses close from 1:00 to 4:00. Honestly, it never crossed our minds before doing this tour.  Finally we accepted the fact that we weren’t going to get into any wineries.

We raced to a wine bar.   We asked to see a wine menu. They didn’t know what we meant. We asked if we could do a tasting.  The waiter didn’t understand. Maybe several half glasses?  Still didn’t get it. How about just a glass of wine? No, they didn’t offer glasses of wine, only bottles.

not exactly Purple or Poco (2 Seattle wine bars)

We wandered around town, circled back and retried several wineries. Finally with only fifteen minutes before the bus left, we ran to a restaurant and ordered any two random glasses of wine. We chugged them and got back on the bus.

On the way back to Salta we stopped at a winery…just to take photos. We weren’t actually allowed into the winery.  We did stop and see more really beautiful scenery.

But the tourist llama really was really the best part of the trip.