Monday: Today we went south as far as San Rafeal and had 2 seperate but fasinating insights into the wine industry. First we went to Bodegas Salentein near Tunuyan in the Andean foothills. This futuristic building seems to fit so well into the desert surroundings. There is an impressive collection of contemporty and modern art here and the winery reflects this. The oak barrels are stored in a subterranean central amphitheatre with subduded light giving it an almost sacred feeling. In deed as they will tell you, this is the temple of wine.
They put on a private tasting for us and we were able to talk about the industry, what is happening in Argentina and to taste some supurb wines.
Then we left to drive on on a more personal quest. Two years ago in Bariloche in northern Patagonia we had tasted a bottle of wine, a Pinot Noir, from this area. It was excellant and given that few wineries are making Pinot in this area were very impressed. We took a couple of bottles home with us. So we wanted to see where this was made. We had to drive to San Rafael for this a further
2 hours south over a barren and desert landscape with a road that was stretched out for miles in front of us, no trees and no habitation. It took us longer than we expected but we arrived in San Rafael and were welcomed by the wine maker himself at the small family winery of Alfredo Roca. We were made to feel so at home and had a private tasting of all their wines which are excellant and made with a love and commitment to the art. Their Piniot is getting better and they are developing a few rarer wines as well. One of the best was a special blend made by the wine maker for his parents, the previous generation of wine makers as a gift and a tribute. Of course we bought more and will always treasure the opportunity of meeting with such gracious people.
It is the people of Argentina and Chile that ultimately bring us back here again and again. We have been welcomed and with joy they share their country and their wines. This is a very special place.
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