Saturday, August 23, 2014


The last fifteen years have brought me to all the corners of Argentina. I visited the various neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, from La Recolleta to San Telmo, Puerto Madero, Palermo and of course La Boca in the inner city, to San Isidro, Martinez, and Tigre on the outskirts. Our honeymoon took us North, South, East, West to Iguazu, Patagonia, Salta and Tucuman. I've spent quite a bit of time in San Luis. Also the wines of Mendoza are not foreign to me. It is fun to learn a country, from the vistas, the culture, the food, sports, to its language and customs.

There are a few personal moments which stick out above all. Today was another such day, as we travelled along highway 40, in the shadow of the Aconcagua, from Mendoza to Tunuyan. The memory list, surely overly romanticized by now, is becoming longer and longer:
  • Galloping on horses without a saddle (only some sheepskins to protect your jewels), alongside a gaucho in Patagonia
  • Visiting Coronel Suarez, a town in the middle of the rich pampa raising cattle, and seemingly stuck in the previous century (not necessarily a bad thing). 
  • Driving three days without seeing more than a few people, along highway 40 in the North this time, from Salta to Tucuman through the Valles Calchaquies, while chewing coca leaves to deal with the elevation. 
  • Having a gaucho-like, outdoors, wine-filled, barbecue (asado) at night, in the fields of La Florida. 
Today we drove South from Mendoza to Tunuyan, through the Valle de Uco, filled with Malbec vineyards, and largely surrounded by deserts full of low scrubs and bushes, only to be broken up by rows of tall Alamo trees. In the background loom the snow covered mountains of the Andes. 

The towns with wine are nothing like Napa or Sonoma with their mansions and manicured wine tasting rooms. Here many wineries are merely a small house next to the cellars, where you need an appointment in the weekend, as the hard working owners are resting. We did visit bigger wineries, like Bodega Salentein which are much like the big wineries of Northern California. 

What made this uniquely memorable was not the wine, but the landscape. This land is vast and rough. 

As we drove through the Valle de Uco, it was a miserable day in winter with lots of rain and big gray clouds. My pictures were less than stellar and didn't show what a wonderful place this is.

Highway 40

Capilla San Judas Tadeo

Gauchos in the rain on their way to El Manzano

Cristo del Manzano

Bodega Salentein

Bodega Salentein - Panorama

I found a few pictures on the web to give a more sun filled idea of the area.

(source: Andres Casciani)

Check out also these great pictures of the area of Tunuyan and Tupungato.

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