Private Journeys

Food and wine: Vineyards of Argentina and Chile

14 days from £4,710pp

Argentina / Chile

Itinerary

map marker Map

Day 1

Arrive in Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel in arty San Telmo.

You will be met at the airport and escorted to your top-quality boutique-style hotel in San Telmo by one of our local representatives. This villagey-feel neighbourhood is crammed with quaint age-old houses interspersed with antiques shops, artisan street markets, tango bars and classy restaurants.

Overall, Buenos Aires is an elegant, cultured and cosmopolitan city famed for its interesting museums and the fascinating port district of La Boca, with its cobbled streets and brightly painted houses; it was here that the tango was born. The centre of town is home to the colonial heartland, government buildings and churches, as well as chic shopping districts, which have a nostalgic Parisian feel. Slightly further out of the centre is the Recoleta district, even more evocative of the French influence, while Palermo is a stylish neighbourhood of wide avenues lined with colonial mansions. The city zoo, the botanical gardens and racetrack are all here. 

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Day 2

Food-tasting tour of San Telmo.

Join other real-food enthusiasts for a culinary-themed lunchtime walking tour of San Telmo. With a focus on down-to-earth venues where the locals go, an English-speaking guide escorts you around some of the neighbourhood's best off-the-beaten-track eateries. On the way you’ll savour authentic Argentine dishes, including snacks from the city's traditional hole-in-the-wall parrillas.

Visiting several venues, you’ll sample mouth-watering traditional street food such as choripan and empanadas; followed by a variety of classic grilled meat cuts all washed down by local wines. Round off your meal with a choice of flavourful artisan ice creams.  All that you eat is included in today's tour. The rest of the day is free to continue exploring on your own.

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Day 3

Walking tour of Retiro and Recoleta.

Buenos Aires has always aspired to be one of the world's leading cities, never more so than in the early 20th century when the city's aristocracy enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity. Looking to the Old World for inspiration, wealthy families sought to replicate the graceful architecture of belle époque France, covering the upmarket residential areas of Retiro and Recoleta with palatial façades lining shady cobbled boulevards.

This walking tour takes you to former palaces and mansions which now have much more practical functions; the Military Society, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Parks HQ.

The Academicist style Retiro station, built according to British design and with British materials, was nevertheless inspired by the ornate French gares.  Follow meandering Arroyo street with its art galleries, and finally stroll down illustrious Alvear Avenue.

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Day 4

Fly to Salta in the northwest; walking tour.

The city of Salta sits on a fertile plain east of the rolling foothills of the Andes, where the snow-draped peaks can be seen rising beyond. The climate is balmy and the streets and parks are pleasantly studded with palm trees.

The city is renowned for its colonial architecture, friendly population and elegant claret-red ponchos, a legacy of the War of Independence.  It lies in a fertile plain at the foot of the arid foothills of the Andes, the only Argentine region where vestiges of indian heritage are still visible. Nowadays Salta is a opular base for visitors to the adjacent wineries of the Calchaqui valley, carpeted in vineyards.

As you wander round the city centre with your guide, you will appreciate the large number of intact baroque colonial buildings lining the geometric grid of streets and spacious squares. The city was an important centre in imperial times, but its influence waned in favour of Buenos Aires and its infrastructure more or less fossilised. The ornate cathedral with its frescoes is particularly gorgeous. You’ll also be accompanied on the cable car which ascends the hill on the edge of town for a panoramic view of the city skyline.

If you have time after the tour, we recommend you visit the MAAM Museum next to the Cathedral, which houses the haunting ice-mummified remains of sacrificed Inca children as well as other relics of the pre-Columbian period. 

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Day 5

Transfer to Cafayate; winery tour with tasting.

The 3hr drive to the wine-producing town Cafayate passes through the fertile Lerma Valley, dotted with small towns dedicated to plantation cultivation, in particular of tobacco. Leaving the fertile valley behind, you enter the dramatic, rust-red Las Conchas gorge which reveals a succession of arid and skeletal mountain views, punctuated by contorted rock formations fashioned by erosion.

Today you will visit one of the prestigious wineries perched on the sunny slopes just outside town. This may be the vineyards of the Piattelli estate which crouches at the foot of sun-bleached, craggy mountains speckled with cacti. Andean snowmelt, intense sunlight, free-draining sandy soils and high altitudes create perfect conditions in which the grapes can thrive. Enjoy a winery tour with tasting (Malbec, Torrontes and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced here) followed by lunch at the vineyard’s restaurant.

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Day 6

Transfer to Molinos and Estancia Colomé.

Drive through the Calchaquies valley to Estancia Colomé. This is another spectacular route: set off along a scenic gravel road climbing high on the arid slopes of the Andes and through the fabulous Quebrada de las Flechas gorge with its unusual multi-coloured rock formations. The final hour of the journey, from the tranquil village of Molinos to remote Estancia Colomé, is on an unmade single track road.

The property is an early 19th century winery situated at 2,300m above sea level: the highest commercial vineyard in Argentina, and one the most remote estancias in the north-west. The journey alone is a memorable experience, and your two night stay offers opportunities to sample fine wines and relax whilst enjoying the fabulous scenery of the Andes, with their star the 6,380m snow-draped summit of Nevado del Cachi. 

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Day 7

At leisure on the Estancia Colomé.

The Colomé estate is renowned for the quality of its crisp white Torrontes as well as its rich Malbec blends, which are exported internationally. You have a free day to enjoy the property’s facilities, which include a lounge, library, fitness room and swimming pool. You may also explore the vineyards on foot or go for walks in the surrounding countryside. We’ve included a wine-tasting experience which you can arrange with the management.

You may visit the on-site James Turrell museum, the exhibits of which are part of the personal collection of the Hess family, the estancia's owners. 

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Day 8

Return to Salta via Cachi.

The delightful six-hour journey to Salta features some dramatic scenery as you pass through Los Cardones National Park, famous for the hordes of giant cacti which stand rigid on the hillsides like battalions of silent, watchful soldiers. The mineral-induced colours of the arid rock faces around you range from dark green through purple and tangerine to deep red. Cachi is a particularly delightful white-washed colonial village from which there are gaping views over bright lime-green, ribbon-thin oases below. There's a final descent from the 3,340m Cuesta del Obispo pass to Salta. 

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Day 9

Fly to Mendoza and transfer to nearby Club Tapiz.

Your accommodation is in a small winery surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, which has a popular restaurant and a well-stocked wine cellar. Other facilities include a lounge/library, outdoor pool and spa area. Wine tasting is offered each evening.

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Day 10

Visit wineries in the Mendoza region.

The ideal combination: enjoy beautiful, scenery of rugged Andean mountains and fertile valleys while you relish the increasingly sophisticated wines of this sumptuous, welcoming region. Almost two thirds of all Argentine wine comes from the high altitude (1,000m) vineyards of the Andean foothills close to Mendoza, ideal for the cultivation of leggy Malbecs.

Although a relative newcomer to the European table, Malbec wine has been produced in Mendoza for well over 150 years. Cabernet, Tempranillo and Chardonnay are also produced here. Today you'll visit two vineyards, where you'll be introduced to the wine-making process by a sommelier and this is followed by a tasting of the delicious product.

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Day 11

Fly across the Andean watershed to Santiago, Chile.

It is only an hour’s flight but a bit of a culture shock when you arrive at your hotel in the centre of buzzing Santiago, Chile’s huge and cosmopolitan capital. But you are staying on the edge of a pleasant, arty neighbourhood, Lastarria, and close to the tranquillity of Santa Lucia Hill, one of the capital’s most romantic spots.  

Santiago is set in a broad valley between ranges of the Andes, with majestic ice-clad peaks, and a smaller coastal range with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. It’s a vast metropolis, a mix of the old and the contemporary, with neighbourhoods of tree-lined avenues and affluent tranquillity and others overflowing with commercial bustle. The historic core, with its Plaza de Armas, presidential palace, museums and other buildings of cultural significance is within walking distance of your hotel and is easy to explore independently.

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Day 12

Culinary tour of Santiago.

Chilean food and wine is gradually increasing in sophistication and popularity. Traditional pasties (empanadas), meats and seafood dishes have always been on the menu, but tastes are now becoming more refined, with added ingredients and subtle flavouring. There's no better way to explore Santiago than by sampling local specialities on this guided tour, as you move between the city's blend of historic, Bohemian and modern neighbourhoods.

Along the way you’ll call in at a couple of the city’s most important food markets, awash with the paintbox-bright colours of Mediterranean style fruit and vegetables and the marine products of the Pacific. Taste a few of the famous street food products on sale here.

From the historically significant main square, the Plaza de Armas, you’ll be driven to Providencia, an upmarket residential district and home in on a traditional Chilean restaurant for lunch, washed down by a glass of fine Carmenere Chilean wine, a variety rapidly gaining international reputation. Drive on to the up-and-coming Barrio Italia district for dessert. 

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Day 13

Transfer to Casa Real on Santa Rita vineyard.

It’s less than an hour’s drive to the Maipo valley, the closest wine producing region to Santiago. You’ll be staying on the historic country estate comprising the Santa Rita vineyard and Casa Real hotel, within easy reach of the neighbouring vineyard and wine cellars, yet secluded within its own peaceful and immaculately landscaped grounds.  You have the rest of the day to enjoy the house's elegant facilities, the museum displaying a private collection of Andean artefacts, and its lovely gardens, ancient trees and ponds dotted with black-necked swans.

Your stay will include a tour of the Santa Rita winery and the chance to taste its splendid premium wines.

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Day 14

Transfer to Santiago airport for international flight.

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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