Todd covered the basics and a tad beyond, but last trip means last comments and as usual I am not at a loss for words. Wine, isn’t that one of the major reasons we decided Mendoza should be home base. So a trip to the second largest wine region in the country seemed appropriate. I am glad we both failed to remember exactly how far north Cafayate really is because I am not sure we would have maintained proper motivation for that type of journey. Luckily, ignorance is bliss.
The fancy bus was awesome. After a year and a half on all ranges of buses we splurged for the fancy premium bus we had only heard rumors of. It was awesome! Full on with a steward who kindly kept my plastic glass of wine filled and delivered warm food for my belly. 180 degree fold down chairs are amazing. I actually slept well. The same cannot be said for the 180 difference in the bus we took on the return trip and my sleep quality, but that trip just brought us back to reality.
To Cafayate. I was in charge of planning the trip and I had some focus issues. Mainly, I didn’t want to plan the trip or use my power of concentration to navigate spanish websites or make phone calls in a foreign tongue. I am apparently suffering from language laziness in these last few weeks. But I did manage to make two lunch reservations that both turned out to be highlights of the trip. So, two thumbs up for the little planning I eeked out.
First off, Todd and biking don’t mix. He eluded to this but really, it is hysterical. I love tootling around on bikes especially if the promise of wine lays at the end of the road. My bikes make it up the road and back down but Todd’s get flat tires, busted chains, sad, sore thighs because he is too tall and everyone here is not, meaning short bikes, and on and on. But four out of four bikes busted, that is just comical. As Todd pouted up the hills to the vineyards I believe the phrase, “biking is my kryptonite!” vehemiently left his lips. Need I say more?
Lunch at Finca Las Nubes was wonderful. Sitting on the terrace looking out over the vineyards as the cactus laced hills created the perfect shade from the hot sun we enjoyed some wining and dining. The wine wasn’t that great, but the food was. Different types of cow cheese, goat cheese, homemade bread followed by grilled veggies and beautiful meat. Finished with a grape tort (somethings aren’t meant to include grapes) and espresso. You really can feel like royalty in this country. Always nice to be in a place where the dollar stretches, if even just a little. After lunch we played in the vineyard. It was spectacular!
Day two, already a bit wined out, but we decided to keep our reservation at San Pedro de Yacochuya. I had no idea what to expect. My conversation with Cecilia over the phone was rough; kids in the background, broken spanish, but we managed the reservation. It reminded me of calling the old lady in Pauillac for a place to stay. A total accomplishment but I needed a glass of wine after both conversations. Anyway, so glad we didn’t cancel. As we walked our bikes up the road it was beautiful. The left side of the vines were wonderful shades of fall, the right hadn’t decided to change yet, and the contrast was striking.
Cecilia greeted us with open arms. Actually, she made me feel fantastic. Compliments for everything. It was great! We walked into the house and it was incredible. The walls covered in old paintings, a huge fireplace staked to the brim with logs, and smoke stains eeking up chimney, rustic furniture, and big windows with barn doors. It was a combination of Argentine decorating and a warm country cabin exuding wealth.
Señora Etchart was excellent. She sat down very matter of factly and said she was going to tell us about Torrontes. And that is what she did. Her nature was warm yet you could tell she was in charge. Meeting Sr. Etchart, even if it was a brief Argentine greeting, was fantastic. He is Argentine wine that we know now as a legend. Not the world of bulk wine that they produced pre-90’s. Yacuchuya is not at all like Bodega Etchart. It is small and very well produced from 97 year old vines. The man knows what he is doing and I saw him deliver the mail. So glad we didn’t cancel this reservation.
The rest of the lunch was wonderful. Todd and I, one 12 person table, and a lot more paintings, oh, don’t forget all the taxidermy. We obviously weren’t their normal clientel, but we played the roles well. Kind of like a certain lunch at Moet & Chandon in Napoleon’s dining room. Surroundings can just make you feel special. And Yacochuya nailed everything.
Our last trip left me nostalgic. But then I remember this is just one adventure, there will be so many more down the road. That’s a good thought.