Wineries Of Salta, Argentina

Wineries of Salta, Argentina

“In wine, there is truth.” Pliny the Elder

A decision that you will have to make everyday in Salta  is  –  Malbec or Torrontes? There is no wrong decision.

Salta does have some of the best Torrontes in Argentina. Though it is widely planted in Argentina, it seems to do best in Salta Province.

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Many of Salta’s vineyards are planted at dizzyingly high altitudes in the mountains and foothills. The mountains serve as both climate protection and irrigation. Grapes grown here reach perfect ripeness and acidity without becoming too extracted or alcoholic.

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A bodega is a winery.

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The Bodegas of Salta are at lower latitudes and higher altitudes than anywhere else on Earth. Interestingly, these two factors balance each other out; the cold temperatures associated with high altitude are tempered by the high temperatures found at equatorial latitudes. The combination creates an unexpectedly excellent climate for quality wine making.

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Some of the vineyards are at altitudes of 10,000 feet. The latitudes are as low as 24 degrees south.  Their proximity to the equator is similar to such places as Egypt and Mozambique.

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Malbec, Merlot, Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon are the most prominent red wine varieties in Salta, while Chardonnay and Torrontes  are their most respected white wines.

Tannat is a little-known grape, originally from Southwest France.

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If you are a person who gets carsick, you should probably make sure you take proper measures before attempting this ride to the high altitude vineyards. Even then, it will not be good. But later in the day when you feel better, it will have been worth it.

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Fresh air and shopping  can be helpful with car sickness.

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So can a good meal of carbs at Vinos de Payogasta off Ruta 40. (humitas – like a tamale but much creamier inside, lentil soup, homemade ice cream with dulce de leche)

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A tour of this small family run winery is interesting. (Salta Wine Route -Vinas de Payogasta). The wine was good. I brought some back from here.  (four planes and a lot of driving on unpaved roads and every bottle arrived intact!!!) The manager was so passionate in how he talked about winemaking. It was wine from the heart.

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If you are driving to Colome from Salta City you will have to drive through the Molinos River-always. It is much easier to go in the dry season when we did it. If you are driving in the rainy season, it is best to start out against the current and then go with it. That doesn’t always work.  You can still get stuck and your car may turnover and never be the same.

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Colome, Salta is one of the world’s highest vineyards.  Donald Hess, an eccentric billionaire  planted vines high up on the mountain , at 10,206 feet.  He had them certified by the Guinness Book Of World Records as the highest vineyards in the world.

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The James Turrell Museum opened in 2009  at the Colome Vineyards.  James Turrell is a contemporary artist who works with light in space. He does incredible installations and has retrospective shows running In NY and LA.

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I know I have seen  more narcissistic  things than some billionaire opening a small modern art museum for an artist he collects in the middle of  a winery, at 10,000 feet above sea level,.that doesn’t get much foot traffic, and shows eight installations.  At the moment, I can’t think of what that could be. The museum is closed Mondays and you should probably call during the rainy season.

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Colome Bodega is the oldest vineyard in Argentina. It is celebrating its 180th birthday.  The Hess family bought it in 2001.

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The road from Molinos to Cafayate  is not so paved.

Cafayate is very quiet during siesta time (12-5)

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The wines of Cafayate are strong and flavorful with intense color.

It was here that Jesuit missionaries first planted grape seeds from Peru in the 1550’s, having failed with an earlier attempt near Buenos Aires.

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The Jesuits began the first vineyards in Cafayate, to make wine for church.

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In Cafayate you can have wine flavored ice cream at Heladeria Miranda. (malbec or torrontes?)

Finca De Las Nubes in Cafayate  means farm in the clouds. The wines are farmed organically-no chemicals, clean air, pure water and altitude. (and also our best lunch – fresh sheep goat and cow cheeses with avocado and baked apple and of course meat)

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Wine barrels make excellent tables. (Finca De Las Nubes)

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Jose Luis Mournier has made wine here for almost twenty years. He came from Mendoza and wanted to build a winery to leave to his children. The winery is so high up in the mountains that on some days it is literally in the clouds.

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Argentina is the fifth leading wine-producing country in the world. It is the largest wine-producing country in the southern hemisphere. Salta is tiny compared to other Argentine wine regions and only produces 1% of Argentina’s wine.

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Though Salta had these natural advantages, it has only been in the last ten years  that the bodegas of Salta have really learned how to improve the quality of their wines. At this rate, they could become one of the important wine regions in the world.

Buen Dia and Fly Safe,

JAZ

 

 

Things I Have Learned In Argentina

Things I Have Learned In Argentina

“I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.”

―Jorges Luis Borges (Argentine writer)

An asado in Argentina is every carnivore’s dream. Gather  your friends, drink wine and coca cola and stuff yourself with meat.

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Futbol (soccer) is a passion of the Argentine people. Every pueblo has at least one soccer field.  When you fly into Buenos Aires you will see many.

Carlos Gardel is to tango what  Elvis Presley is to rock and roll.

Art Graffiti is not exactly illegal in Argentina. You can paint on street walls in broad daylight. Graffiti artists from all over the world come here to paint.

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Cristina Kirchner  (Presidente of Argentina) takes a helicopter to work everyday from her house in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. You can see the Argentine tax dollars at work.

Argentina is considered to be the most literate country in South America. They were the first to publish Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years Of Solitude when others turned him down. (It is one of my favorite books so I thought I would mention it)

In Peru, I learned about what the Spanish did to the Incas. In Argentina I learned about what the Incas did to the tribes living there. Conquerors are never all that innocent. (Pucara of Tilcara- pre Inca fortification)

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Driving on unpaved roads for hours in Jujuy-not so much fun; seeing the salt flats in Salinas Grandes -priceless.

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A mechanical saint will come out of a door in the town  hall of Humahuaca  at 12:00 pm. He will wave his arms, music will play and you will be blessed. Sometimes religion is that easy.

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Birds eat the parasites off animals. When you see a bird on a horse, he is working.

There are at least twenty-four legal holidays in Argentina. There is Flag Day.. There is the day to celebrate the person who made the flag. There is Friend’s Day. There is the day to celebrate the moon landing. I get the feeling Argentines’ don’t like to work so much.

Ruta 40 goes throughout Argentina like Route 66 goes through the United States.

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Chile and Argentina have their problems but things are better in the last few years. It is usually about borders and waters.

Most of the tobacco grown here. Is for export to the US and China.

Argentina charges an entry fee of one hundred and sixty dollars to all visitors from the  U.S.  It must be paid online before the date of entry or they may not let you in when you get there.  According  to Argentines,  this is because of all the Argentines who have paid visa fees and been denied visas. i don’t know if this is true but it sounded good.

Argentina is the largest producer and consumer of Yerba Mate. (mate cups – number one Argentine souvenir)

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Eating kidneys (rimones),intestines (chinchulines), ribs, testicles, black sausage, any glands and sweetbreads is delicious to someone other than me. (intestines, etc)

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It is mandatory to vote in Argentina.

Many Argentines did not like Eva Peron.

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Argentines have an amazing ability to mobilize a protest. They will stand up for what they think is right or wrong and let it be heard. Late November to early January is protest high season where many of the unions will demand raises due to the out of hand inflation that takes place here every year. Drop by Plaza de Mayo or Plaza Congreso. I was there on May 25th  Argentine Independence Day. They were protesting.

Paraguay is the largest producer of Marijuana.  Canada is the largest exporter to the United States.

Argentine Polo players are among the best in the world. Serious polo tournaments are held here. From September to December the best polo players play in Argentina.

An altitude of 4170 meters means 13,682 feet above sea level and a headache.

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An estancia is a ranch or farm with a big hacienda. They are usually many hectares. We visited many estancias for lunch. They all served asado.

Anything can be made from salt. (like this table)

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Llamas and alpacas are domestic animals. Vicunas and guanacos are wild and usually cannot mate in activity. ( wild vicunas)

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There are exceptions. (Coquenos, el refugio de las vicunas )

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Vicunas are the Princes and Princesses of the Andes.

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The Argentine government has a list of names for new babies.  If the name you choose is not on the list, you cannot legally use it. Today,  people can petition the government to add more names.

Gay marriage has been legal here for about year. Recently they have had their first gay divorce.

The new Pope is from Argentina.

Argentina has close affection for cinema. They have the highest rates of movie viewing in the world. They like watching both locally made movies and Hollywood flicks.

For all those who love animated films – The world’s first animated films were created and released in Argentina, by a person named Quirino Cristiani in 1917.

Argentines pronounce the LL as a soft G. They say Ja-ma for llama and pa–ree-ja  for Parilla. In Salta they sometimes pronounce their R as a soft G and say peh-jo for perro.  It sounds a littler Portuguese sometimes.

Argentines can smoke and own Marijuana but they cannot buy it or sell it.

Argentines can chew and posess Coca Leaves but it is illegal to buy and sell them. (Look for the Bolivian women in the square in Humahuaca, the leaves help with altitude sickness).

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Condors mate in the air and mate for life. if the female dies, the male commits suicide. If the male dies, the female takes another mate for the procreation of the species. There is a lesson here.  I am not sure  what it is.

If a person in Argentina is carrying an iPad or IPhone, he probably bought it on the black market or he is not an Argentine.

Argentines have a coffee and a sweet around 6:00pm. Dulce De Leche is always a good choice. As I have gained a few kilos on this trip , I wish I had chosen it less.

Restaurants do not open  for dinner until nine o clock. Most people eat dinner after ten. I did not understand that until  I had been here for a week and eaten that huge lunch every day around two o clock. I did not get hungry  till ten.   You can be like the Argentines and eat meat again or be like the Americans and have soup, bread and cheese.   I also completely now understand the need for the siesta till five. Having wine, meat and potatoes at  lunch makes you sleepy in the afternoon.

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Most public schools go from eight to twelve or one to five. They have  less hours of school than we do. Their literacy rate is 97.5 per cent. Some people feel it is ok and others feel that it is too little and save for private school. Their school uniform is a white lab coat.

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A dog’s best friend is his llama (pronounced jama).

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Police in Argentina are known to be corrupt.

In Argentina you can dry your own red chilies in the sun.

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They say that Argentina got the Iguazu Falls and Brazil got the view. I don’t know about that. They are pretty spectacular in Argentina. (complete with a real rainbow)

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It takes ten minutes by rowboat to get to Paraguay from Misiones, Argentina. (view of Paraguay across the Parana River from our house)

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Argentina is one of the largest producers of wines since the 16th century and has around 1800 wineries. Malbec is their most planted grape. The irrigation system was started centuries ago by Indians. It is the fifth largest wine-producing country.

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Studies have shown that red wines are much better than white wines in preventing heart disease. Scientists believe that the polyphenols in red wine seeds and skins are the reason for this.  High altitude wines are particularly rich in polyphenols. This is because UV radiation increases at higher elevations and results in a greater concentration of polyphenols in these wines. We visited many high altitude vineyards in Salta province.(Colome)

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Torrontes is a white Argentine wine grape which produces a  wine with moderate acidity and a smooth texture. I like it.

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Cars have the right of way on the road. (from front of van – goats running to the side of the road – big deal for the city kid.)

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Cows move slower.

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Everything can be made out of cactus.

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If you are planning to change pesos back into dollars at the Argentine airport as I was, don’t. Christina doesn’t allow you to give back pesos at the airport. What you change in Argentina, stays in Argentina.

Buen Dia and Fly Safe

Jayne