We had a wonderful time in Cafayate -- it's like a little Mendoza with beautiful mountains, great wines and very nice people. It seems that there are only about 20 wineries in Cafayate, and many are giant producers that I don't find too interesting. But on the other end of the scale is Jose Mournier. Originally from Mendoza, Jose and his wife Mercedes bought a small vineyard in Cafayate about 12 years ago and are now producing about 50,000 bottles of wine. They sell about 1/2 of the production at the vineyard (with the below views and quality of the wine, it is not surprising). Their Torrontes is a frequent companion to our asados at The Vines and I was extremely impressed with the 2005 Malbec/Cab blend that should be released in a few months.
[caption id="attachment_2243" align="alignright" width="576" caption="Jose Mournier Vineyards, Cafayate"][/caption]
After tasting 7 wines at 9am with Jose Mournier (which may have been the reason that I splattered Bryan with wine -- on his birthday, no less), we headed a few miles north and 500 meters higher to visit the San Pedro de Yacochuya winery and vineyards. At 2,005 meters, this partnership between the Etchart family and Michel Rolland has created some real powerhouse wines. Marco Etchart was a great host, showing us the winery and tasting countless wines from tanks and barrels. Their top wine "Yacochuya" is one of the most intense wines I have ever tasted. A blockbuster with 17+% alcohol, this surprisingly and elegantly balanced wine is surely one of Argentina's best.