July 19, 2009
Sunday morning we woke up thirsty, but refreshed and headed to the Museo de la Vid y el Vino, to educate ourselves a bit before a morning of wine tasting. The museo had a collection of information, photographs, and old machinery relating to the development of wine in the region and throughout the world. At just 2 pesos ($0.50), it made for an interesting browse-through.
Picture of an artisan house across the street from the museo.
But, it was also a giant dark barn, full of old equipment and black and white photos, and eventually, enough was enough and it was time to return to some sunlight and fresh air. We headed to the Bodega Domingo Hermanos, and walked through a short tour followed by an even shorter tasting. We tried a sweet-sweet torrontes and a very average cabernet. We asked about their malbec, however they were unable to sample it, and at 45 pesos per bottle ($12), we figured it probably wasn’t worthwhile.
Next, we headed to Nanni, a less industrialized-feeling, but equally modern looking bodega. Instead of being a tour group of 6, we were about 30, as was the previous group on the tour half an hour earlier. And nearly everyone was leaving with bottles.
Disappointingly, the guide didn’t speak about the organic part of the wine-making process, however the torrontes we sampled was much more drinkable, followed by a too-light-and-fruity rosé which reminded me of watermelon. I ended up buying the malbec we’d had with dinner the night before, and Tammy bought a couple bottles as gifts for her family.
Finally, we were ready for lunch, which we’d carefully planned around buying more empanadas and cerveza, and having a picnic in the main plaza.
You know planning is a big no-no on vacations, right? On our hunt for beer, we stumbled upon the Restaurante Colorado, featuring artisanal beer and an ecclectic menu including a few Mexican plates, Thai chicken curry, French onion soup, and chicken cordon bleu. In my year in Argentina, I’d never seen anything like it!
We were hooked from the nachos, and settled down for some spicy food and quality beer. The owners were actually from Colorado (U.S) and quickly produced a bottle of hot sauce and a delicious homemade salsa to accompany the unspiced guacamole.
The beer, Me Echo la Burra was fabulous, and solidly alcoholic (8%). (It also cost about the same as our food and appetizers combined, adding an unsightly charge to our bill after we went for second round!)
We drunkenly wandered to the Museo de Arquelogía Calchaquí, which was inexplicably closed, and then stumbled back to a cafe on the plaza to sober up with a coffee and wait for our bus.At 6:30 we boarded a little shuttle bus with a driver who seemed determined to break all speed records through the windy quebrada, deftly navigating curves and potholes, and making our 4 1/2 hour drive in just under 3 hours! Finally, back to a big city! We checked into our hostel, Las Rejas, and then went off to explore Balcarce the main strip of bars, restaurants, and peñas. It was only 11, so most people were still having dinner, but we shared a beer in a quiet pub (Bonnie and Clyde’s), before calling it an early night. Our trip has strayed so far from its action-packed start. As we made our way back, we passed all the kids, just heading out.