Traipsing the Argentine Vineyards
Visitors who can’t make it out of Buenos Aires will find wine bars where they can sample the country’s best, and restaurants around the country carry a broad selection.
But true aficionados should spend at least a week in and around Mendoza—not nearly enough time to visit all the 100-plus wineries around the provincial capital.
Arrive at Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) and transfer to a Buenos Aires hotel. In the afternoon, visit central historic sites like the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada presidential palace, and the Congreso Nacional.
Take a breather from the wineries, with a tour or rental car excursion up the Río Mendoza valley for views of Cerro Aconcagua (the Western Hemisphere’s highest summit). Or, check out the view from the statue of Cristo Redentor, a peace monument on the Chilean border near Las Cuevas. Have dinner at 1884, adjacent to Mendoza’s Escorihuela winery.
Travel to high-altitude wineries of the Uco Valley, southwest of Mendoza, with special attention to Bodega O. Fournier or the state-of-the art Bodegas Salentein. Overnight at Salentein or San Rafael.
Take a full-day tour of San Rafael wineries, returning to Mendoza in the afternoon.
Hop a morning flight to Buenos Aires and on to the city of Salta, with an afternoon city tour.
By bus or rental car via the scenic desert canyon of the Quebrada de Cafayate, make your way to the town of Cafayate, home to the finest vintages of the white varietal torrontés. Visit wineries and take a side trip to pre- Columbian ruins at Quilmes in nearby Tucumán Province.
Visit additional wineries near Cafayate and travel overland to the picturesque desert village of Cachi for an overnight. If possible, detour to Bodega Colomé near Molinos or, alternatively, spend the night at its hotel.
Return to Salta via Parque Nacional Los Cardones and the precipitously scenic Quebrada de Escoipe.
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing in Buenos Aires before an evening departure.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition