Day 379 of 400: Wine Tasting in San Rafael, Argentina

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Today started with another slow breakfast sitting outside on the patio overlooking the farm, we could really get use to this simple lifestyle.

Today we are going to find a couple of vineyards and taste more San Rafael wine…there must be something good out here! Argentina isn’t so great with their signs…at least not in wine country, we have been spending a lot of time lost, but the good thing is we don’t really have to be anywhere we don’t want to be! By the time we arrived at the first vineyard, they literally just closed for lunch which is quite common here…things shut-down during the day for lunch. We decided to go on to the next one and hopefully stop by this first one on our way home. Since we had no idea how to get to the next vineyard, we pulled over to a little food-stand to ask for directions. Of course, they did not speak a word of English…through my small amount of Spanish and hand gestures…we figured it out.

We finally arrived at the oldest vineyard in San Rafael, Goyenechea. The property was huge and we could see the extra-large vats/oversized barrels used to store the wine outside. We walked in and first noticed how much character the tasting room had…the floor was made of cement and flat pieces of wooden logs. The logs in the floor matched the wooden beams in the ceiling, and the old wooden wine barrels lined the top part of the entire bar. The women working at the winery was just finishing up with her other customer…so we looked around the large tasting room while we waited before she was able to show us the options for tasting.

Some of the tasting came with food and we decided since it was lunch time, to sit at their bar and have a smorgasbord of food while sipping on their vino. They poured us the first wine which we weren’t huge fans of and then started bringing out food…of course empanadas as well as various meats, cheeses, olives, dips and bread. As we nibbled, we sipped on wine…searching for one we liked and chatting amongst ourselves-there were no other guests in the building.

After a leisurely tasting…we bought a couple of bottles which were decent, we liked the Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 which was aged in new french oak for 16 months. We were then on our way to the winery that had closed on us prior to this one.

Back at Alfredo Roca, we arrived just as they were closing for the day! I got out of the car and pushed the button at the closed gate…speaking in Spanglish and trying to have them squeeze us in. She opened the gate and I went in to find a different women who spoke English well and agreed to do a quick tasting for us…yeahhh! Giff parked the car and we followed her through the waiting room and into the tasting room which was within their warehouse. After speaking with the women a bit…she realized we really would prefer their reserve line of wines which means they are a little more money but are aged in oak and usually are more complex wines. The other wineries we have been tasting at, have been charging to taste the reserve wines but she gladly opened new bottles for us at no charge. We liked a few of them, but did notice the price points on these bottles were definitely not on the bargain side of things. However, this wine did taste better than some others we’ve had in this area over the last week.

We bought 4 bottles, a chardonnay which we seem to be leaning towards lately (maybe it’s the heat) as well as a blended red table wine. We also bought a Pinot Noir which was very different from other Pino’s we have had in California…in fact, I would say this one is our favorite so far. We added a bottle of their dessert wine before paying our tab. We thanked the women for getting us through the gate after hours and were on our way back to the B&B.

We arrived and had a bit of downtime in the room before sitting outside at the main house for a traditional Swiss fondue dinner. The oner of the B&B is from Switzerland and had advertised classic swiss fondue so we requested it for this evening. She had the table set for us on the porch and we sat dipping our food in the fondue watching the lightning storm. The owner went to the yard, poured salt and stabbed the ground with a knife…she looked at us smiling and said it was traditional in Argentina to do that in hopes of keeping the storm from hitting their crops (frost is very bad for vines). Interesting…

After dinner, we played with the camera, leaving the shutter open for long periods of time to get lighting bolts and fun blurred pictures. The lightning storm went well into the night so we sat on our back porch watching the storm as did our neighbors before bed.

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