I had a big long list of the bodegas that I wanted to visit in Cafayate.
Cafayate is full of boutique bodegas and there are plenty of wineries within easy driving distance from town (unlike La Ruta del Vino).
But in the end, we threw out that list and enjoyed a nice long lunch at Piattelli instead. You won’t find Piattelli listed in any of the tourist guides or maps – the vineyard is brand new.
They started planting the vines in 2009, producing the wines in 2012 and bottling the wines for our drinking pleasure in 2013. If you ask any local, Piattelli is the first place they recommend for an excellent feed and the estate itself is absolutely gorgeous.
It was Damiano’s birthday which was the perfect excuse for a special meal on the last day of our trip together with Danny’s friends.
We toasted his birthday with the Malbec premium reserve.
Before moving onto our starters.
Grilled sweet pumpkin slices with goat cheese, rocket and almond pesto (AR$45).
Mote and goat cheese empanadas (AR$35).
Quinoa salad with green leaves, roasted tomatoes and cream cheese in a crispy cheese basket (AR$45).
I have noted the prices in pesos so you can see what amazing value it was – divide by 13 at today’s Dolar Blue rate to get the price in US dollars. It’s unbelievable to think that my daily coffee in a first world country costs more than these starters.
There was also some top entertainment while we enjoyed lunch.
A pair of dancers performed traditional folk dances with a live band.
Like the Zamba – handkerchief swirling that is seriously captivating.
Not to be confused with Zumba!
And the Chacarera – where they click their fingers, clap their hands and tap their boots with sensational flair.
Sometimes performances in restaurants can be a bit cheesy in Argentina – but this was truly some of the most authentic dancing I have seen in South America.
In fact, it was so good that we almost forgot to tuck into our mains.
San Antonio goat cheese casserole, dusted with Andean herbs (AR$75).
Pork chop cooked in balsamic vinegar and honey, creamed potatoes and sweet paprika (AR$85).
But when in Argentina, you really can’t turn down the steak. I had the rib eye with creamed potatoes and black pepper butter (AR$120).
Oddly enough, most Argentines prefer their steak cooked well done (outrageous, I know!). To avoid confusion, it’s best to learn the lingo how to order your steak:
- Rare: vuelta y vuelta
- Medium rare: jugoso (happy to report that my rib eye was cooked perfectly jugoso 😀 )
- Medium: a punto
- Done: bien cocido
- Well done: suela
I think Damiano was very satisfied with his birthday feast.
After lunch, we went on a tour of the winery and indulged our palates in wine tasting.
Torrontés, Tannat, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon are cultivated at Piattelli. It’s still early days for this vineyard, but I reckon they’re off to a very promising start!
My only regret is that we came during the wrong season …
Just after they had burnt the vines. Sadly, no grape picking photos for me today
But we did plan our drive back to Salta at the right time of the afternoon.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the beautiful landscape of our road trip through Salta and Jujuy. What a view to end our trip to Argentina!