The province of Salta, in north-western Argentina, has a perfect climate for producing wine. The surrounding mountains help produce a micro-climate which encourages vineyards to flourish, due to a combination of high altitude, irrigation from melted mountain snow and healthy soil. Popular grape varieties that the region produces include Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat and a regional speciality, Torrontés. Salta is an up-and-coming wine region that is increasing in international prominence, and its wines are beginning to rival the famous Mendoza region of Argentina. The Culture Trip explores five of the best wineries in Salta.
Bodega Domingo Molina
Bodega Domingo Molina, owned by the Domingo family, has been producing wine since the 1960s, and it cultivates many varieties of grape, including Torrontés and Malbec. The winery offers six lines of wine, including an 100% Malbec label called ‘M² Malbec x Malbec’, and their regional Torrontés in the ‘Domingo Molina’ line is also a popular choice. The winery is open for visits daily, although checking ahead for availability is recommended, since it is highly popular. The tour includes tasting and, of course, the opportunity to purchase some wine at the end.
El Esteco, near to the city of Cafayate, has almost 1000 acres of vineyards. The central building is designed in a traditional colonial style, and sits beautifully with the mountains as its backdrop. The winery was established in 1892 by French immigrants, and has over the years built a reputation for high quality. There are bilingual tours available, and there is even a hotel on site for serious wine-lovers that wish to spend a little longer there trying out the produce. One of their best-selling lines is Don David, with seven different varieties. But for those willing to spend a little more, their award-winning Altimus line is another favorite.
Colomé is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina, dating from 1831, and is also one of the highest vineyards in the world. Given the age of the vines – some are 160 years old – the flavor produced by the grapes is distinctive and intense. In 2001 it was purchased by new owners, who have since installed the latest technology in wine production. The main building is a Spanish-style villa, and there is a hotel on site, as well as an art museum. Its wine, exported to over 25 countries across the world, mainly focuses on varieties of Malbec and Torrontés. There are daily tours and a gift shop.
Bodega Nanni celebrates that four generations of a family that have worked on this vineyard. It was one of the first wineries in the country to be certified as completely organic, thanks to investment in modern technology and sustainable methods. Bodega Nanni produces three lines, including ‘Young Line’ (fresh and fruity) and ‘Arcanvs’, which is produced on a limited basis, thus making it quite an exclusive bottle.
Bodega Domingo Molina | Image courtesy of Bodega Domingo Molina
Amalaya produces a wide range of wines, including not only red and white varieties, but also rosé and a dessert wine. The name ‘amalaya’ means ‘hoping for a miracle’ in the region’s indigenous language, since this vineyard was planted on completely uncultivated land and there was understandably some uncertainty about its potential. However, there need not have been any concern, since Bodega Amalaya now produces numerous different grapes, each planted in slightly different soil or conditions depending on how best to maximise their growth, and exports more than 3 million bottles of wine a year.