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To open a bottle of wine is to start a journey. But what if, instead of just opening the bottle, you decide to see everything with your own eyes?
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Touch the sky
The Calchaquí Valley, between Salta and Catamarca, rises to a height of 2,000m. This gives rise to some of the most unique wines in Argentina, moulded by the sun, the glare of the valley and the stony soils. To really appreciate the breadth and solitude of these landscapes, one should spend a night or two under the star-filled sky, sipping a good Torrontés or Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a couple of nights, here are three suggestions;
The first is the Hotel Altalaluna & Spa. With colonial architecture, comfortable rooms and long galleries with ceilings of wooden beams. A very attractive feature are the surrounding vineyards, a perfect place to unwind.
The second is Patios de Cafayate a rural style hotel with outstanding views of the mountains and a very appealing air of relaxation. By following the extensive courtyards, one is led through the gardens and into the adjacent winery El Esteco.
Last but not least is Viñas de Cafayate Wine Resort. With an entrance that is guarded by cacti, lavender and vineyards, it’s reminiscent of a lost paradise. It is best to enjoy a glass of wine on the balconies that overlook the vineyards and the foothills of the mountains.
Wine and mountains
Around Lujan de Cuyo, there are a handful of lodges and hotels where you can get a perfects nights sleep after a day in the wineries. The first is Cavas Wine Lodge, nestled in acres of vineyards and a stones throw from some of the most prestigious wineries in Mendoza. It offers fully equipped lodges with stunning mountain views in the heart of Agrelo.
The second is Entre Cielos Hotel Boutique, a luxury hotel surrounded by very old Malbec vines. Most notable is the Loft Suite, which towers above the vineyards and literally offers a balcony on top of the vines.
Uco House is a luxuriously designed hotel with modern architecture which rises just above the foothills and vineyards. Seeing the Cordillera reflected in the lagoon is a sight to behold.
Further south still, in San Rafael, there is a hotel and lodge that shouldn’t be missed if you’re heading that way. Algodón Wine Estate offers good hospitality, a golf course and lots of vineyards. Decorated in a country style, the restaurant Chez Gaston is excellent.
The Patagonian wind
The land of immense rivers and relentless winds offers a unique opportunity to spend a night under its deep skies. La posada of NQN ($150), is located within the vineyards of the winey. There are two luxuriously equipped rooms. The wine cellar offers fine dining at the Malma restaurant or one can choose to cook. The best thing about it is the tranquility of the birds and the sizzling sound of cooking your own ribeye steak.
Written by Joaquín Hidalgo for Wines of Argentina