If you’re a food, wine, and travel lover and want to get off the beaten path, head to Argentina’s Salta Province!
Before Mark and I moved to France, we spent five weeks in this South American country with a goal to propel ourselves into their world: culture, food, wine, and the landscape. Because the country is long, 2,360 miles (3,800 km), it takes time to move around. We narrowed our trip down to certain areas in two provinces: Mendoza and Salta. This article focuses on the Salta province.
To help you get your bearings, this province in northwestern Argentina touches Chile to the southwest, Paraguay to the northeast, and Bolivia to the north.
The city of Salta (capital of the province) has much to offer, with more cafés, live music, outstanding museums, and a small town feel equate to a charming city. But getting out and exploring the province in search of wine became much more of an adventure.
Thanks to Jeff at foodwineclick for hosting the October World Wine Travel group and choosing Argentina.
Ready, set, go!
After a few days in Salta, we left this sub-tropical mountain rainforest area with a driver – which is a common… and definitely more relaxed way to go. Not only was the driver packed with knowledge about the province, he knew the roads and locals who could give him heads up in case of floods (which can happen suddenly) or other happenings along our route.
The drive from Salta to our destination, Molinos, typically takes just over four hours but can take up to six plus with stops. Driving from Salta to the top of the Cuesta del Obispo (3,348 m / 10,984 ft) is a breathtaking mix of plants and trees of sub-tropical origin that decrease as you get higher. It was quite the verdant mix of trees and plants native to South America.
The landscape changed drastically as we descended the other side of the pass into a high-altitude desert.
From there we got dropped off in the tiny town of Molinos for a couple of nights at Hacienda de Molinos. We hired another driver with 4-wheel drive to take us up the hills and through the rivers to visit some of the highest vineyards in the world at Tacuil and Colomé. The photo above barely scratches the surface of what we drove through to get to the bodegas!
Interesting to note, Colomé workers have to live around the property during the rainy season because they are cut off from the closest town, Molinos. There are no bridges and it becomes impossible to cross flooded rivers. They have a small, self-sufficient community, complete with a school for the children and a grocery store.
Click through some of the bodega wines we enjoyed in the Salta Province below.
From Molinos we caught another two-hour ride (with the brother of the previous driver) to the town of Cafayate where we had a few more days of winery visits, that often included a nice lunch of empanadas … and of course some local wine.
After Cafayate, we got yet another ride (from the friend of the hotel owner) back to the city of Salta for our return home, visiting along the way some fascinating geological formations.
It was a real adventure exploring small dusty towns and back country wineries. And the people, the food, and of course the wine, were all wonderful. Highly recommend this area of Argentina for anyone who likes to get off the main drag!
Link up to others in the World Wine Travel group of writers!
- Camilla at Culinary Cam cooks “From Soil and Sea to Sky: Miso-Glazed Squash and Salmon with Trapiche Medalla Chardonnay“
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Celebrating Day of the Souls with Carbonada en Zapallo and Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon“
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest goes “Off The Beaten Wine Path in Argentina“
- Steve at Children of the Grape shares “The Dance of the Vine“
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares “Savoring Argentine Red Wines From Trapiche and Unànime with Roasted Mushroom Risotto“
- Deanna at Wineivore shares “Unanime and Trapiche Wines with Argentinian Inspired Tapas“
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “Not Just Malbec: Argentina’s Trapiche Cab Blend and Syrah Paired with Burgers 2 Ways“
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass shares “Pairing South American food and wine long distance“
- Susannah at Avvinare shares “Trapiche Fall Flavors For Halloween Celebrations“
- Jeff at foodwineclick poses the question, “Why is Argentine Wine Unique?”