Cafayate area in the province of Salta, Argentina is known for its spectacular landscapes that leave anyone speechless. But it is also famous for being one of the few places in the world where Torrontés wine is produced. There are around 15 wineries for wine tasting in Cafayate. In this post I tell you more about my wine tasting experience in Piattelli Vineyards.
The wine route in Salta
If you think of Argentina’s wine, Mendoza probably comes to your mind first. Mendoza province is famous for its malbec wine, but it isn’t the only wine region in the country.
Cafayate might not be as popular as Mendoza but believe me it is also a great destination for wine tasting and should be on your Argentina itinerary.
The Salta Wine Route is a 200-kilometer circuit that begins in the city of Salta, passing through Cachi, Molinos, Angastaco and San Carlos until reaching Cafayate. On this circuit you can visit modern wineries with the latest technology and also small artisanal productions.
In addition to the wineries, the circuit goes through incredible landscapes such as the Quebrada de las Flechas or the Quebrada de las conchas.
Read more about Quebrada de las Conchas: Road trip from Salta to Cafayate
Wine tasting in Cafayate
Cafayate is one of the best places in the world for growing grapes due to its climate and height. The region is 1700 meters above sea level.
In Cafayate all kinds of wines are produced but the one that stands out the most is the famous torrontés, a variety of white grape that is mainly grown in Spain, Portugal and Argentina.
These are the wineries in Cafayate, most offer guided tours and tastings:
- Bodegas y Viñedos Domingo Hermanos
- Bodega El Esteco
- Bodega El Porvenir
- Bodega El Tránsito
- Bodegas Etchart (Pernod Ricard Argentina)
- Bodega Finca las nubes
- Bodega Nanni
- Bodega Peña Veyrat Durbex
- Bodega Piattelli Vineyards
- Bodega Rio Colorado
- Bodega San Pedro de Yacochuya
- Bodega Tierra Colorada
- Bodega Tolombón
- Bodega Vasija Secreta
Some of the wineries are located within downtown Cafayate and you can easily walk to them. But many others are located further out and you’ll need a car to get there or rent a bike.
I visited Piattelli Vineyards Winery because it was one of the most recommended. Other wineries that are also well known and recommended are: El Esteco, El Porvenir and Nanni.
Bodega Piattelli Vineyards
The Piattelli Winery is one of the most popular wineries in Cafayate. It has a modern infrastructure, fully prepared to receive tourism. The winery owners are from US and they also own a winery in Mendoza.
Location: Provincial Route No. 2, km 3. Cafayate, Salta.
The winery is located about 5 km from the center of Cafayate. To get there you have to take the route and then turn onto a dirt road which is in good condition. The winery has free parking.
The building, the service and everything in Piattelli is impeccable. Upon arrival, it is impressive to see the huge building surrounded by vineyards and beautiful gardens. The investment and the quality are really noticeable.
Tasting and guided tour
The winery offers various wine tasting services. All of them include a guided tour of the winery. The visits begin at 10 am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm and 6 pm and are available in both english and spanish.
- Premium tasting USD$6 per person (price updated in March 2020).
- Grand Reserve tasting USD$8 per person (price updated in March 2020).
- Wine and cheese tasting USD$15 per person (price updated in March 2020). It is only available in the afternoon visits.
To make the visit and tasting, you can make a prior reservation by writing an email to email@example.com
Grand Reserve tasting and visit
I booked the Grand Reserve visit at noon and then had lunch at the restaurant. Upon arrival, you pay the visit at the reception where there is also a small store where you can buy bottles of wine and other regional products.
The guided tour lasts about 30 minutes and includes explanations about the history of the winery and the cultivation of the vine. You visit different sectors of the interior of the winery. For those who don’t know much about wine like me, the visit is very good. Perhaps for more expert people the visit falls a bit short.
After the tour you go to a room for the tasting, which lasts around 20/30 more minutes. The Grand Reserve tasting includes 6 wines: Torrontés Cafayate, Chardonnay Mendoza, Gran Reserva Malbec Cafayate, Gran Reserva Malbec Mendoza, Loscano Gran Reserva Malbec and Loscano Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon.
At the tables, in addition to finding the glasses of wine, there is also water and bread so you eat a bit between each wine. The different wines are served with explanations. I think the tasting is a bit short and goes very fast. In general you won’t be able to finish each glass of wine completely.
After the tasting I had lunch at the winery restaurant and it’s something that I strongly recommend you do. The restaurant is only open during the day. Dinners are only available with reservation and for groups of more than 20 people only.
The restaurant space is beautiful. It has an outdoor terrace with views of the vineyards and mountains of Cafayate. There is also an interior lounge. If it’s a sunny day, the terrace is the best place to sit for lunch.
The restaurant offers all kinds of food although it stands out for its meats and regional dishes. With my boyfriend we ordered some empanadas for starters, I ate a casserole of humita and a dark chocolate mousse with passion fruit for dessert. All dishes were delicious and the service impeccable.
What pleasantly surprised me is that the restaurant prices weren’t excessive at all (considering that it is such a touristic place, I was expecting this). Here are some prices for reference (updated in March 2020): 3 empanadas entry ARS$190, humita casserole ARS$430, sorrentinos ARS$430, roasted pork ribs ARS$630, glass of wine ARS$200.
In my opinion, if you like good food and wine, having lunch at this restaurant is an essential visit in Cafayate. The waiters are very friendly and the food is excellent. If you are looking to pay a visit to a winery in Cafayate, you will love Piattelli. They really are in every detail so you leave fascinated and eager to return.
A hotel next to the winery will open soon and the Piattelli experience will be even better. I can’t wait to go back to visit it!
Where to stay in Cafayate
There are many beautiful hotels in Cafayate, you can stay either in Cafayate town or in a vineyard on the outside of the city. Here are some of the hotels I recommend:
- Grace Cafayate: this luxury resort is probably the best place to stay in Cafayate. It is located on the outskirts of the city of Cafayate, immersed in the landscape of the Calchaquí Valleys. We stayed here 2 nights and absolutely loved it! You can read more about my experience at the hotel here. Check prices for Grace Cafayate here.
- Villa Vicuña Wine & Boutique Hotel: if you prefer to stay in the city center, you should check this boutique hotel. It is located in an old colonial style building and it’s only one block away from Cafayate main square where you will find shops and restaurants. Check prices for Villa Vicuña Wine here.
- Patios de Cafayate: this gorgeous hotel belongs to Bodega El Esteco. It’s the perfect place if you want to sleep and enjoy good food and wine in the same place. It’s located in the entrance to the city. Check prices for Patios de Cafayate here.
Tips for visiting wineries in Cafayate:
- Best time to visit Cafayate. March is one of the best months to visit Cafayate because it’s when the harvest happens and you can see the vineyards at the greenest color.
- You don’t need a reservation for most wineries. Although some wineries (like Piattelli) recommend visitors to make a reservation ahead of time, it’s not really necesary. You can just show up and take a tour or tasting.
- You can buy bottles of wine! You can take bottles of wine in your carry on luggage in domestic flights in Argentina.
- Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. The weather in Cafayate is sunny all year long. The hottest months are december and january with temperatures of around 26ºc. Temperatures decrease at night so make sure you bring a light coat too.
I hope you found this post useful for planning your wine tasting experience in Cafayate!. You can see my Salta pictures on Instagram under the hashtag: PFISALTA
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