Maybe you have not given much thought to Argentine Champagne, or sparkling wines. I did not until we visited San Juan, Argentina. San Juan is about a two-hour drive north of the city of Mendoza. We had read that San Juan wineries were friendly and less touristy than Mendoza; so despite the high Argentine summer temperatures we still decided to check it out. San Juan Province, the second largest producer of Argentine wine is just starting to become known for its wine tourism. While touring San Juan wineries we discovered Bodega Cavas de Zonda Champañera (Champagne house).
Bodega Cavas de Zonda
Bodega Cavas de Zonda (Cavas de Zonda Winery) is a Champañera (Champagne house) just west of the city of San Juan. It is located at Ruta Provincial 12 Km 15, Rivadavia, San Juan. This sparkling wine bodega is considered a must visit in San Juan. You will find descriptions of Cavas de Zonda in travel guides, such as Fodor’s, Lonely Planet and Viva. Since visiting the winery I have discovered a video that showcases what a visit to Cavas de Zonda might look like.
The Champañera produces sparkling wines via methods, which are similar to French and Spanish styles. Our initial thoughts were that the winery might have a hard time competing with sparkling wine in California. During our visit we were also introduced to some reds however, we did not get to taste any. Nevertheless, we bought a bottle of Merlot to taste later. I would not recommend the Merlot I tasted. However, I would recommend visiting this unique site. The bodega is located in an underground tunnel. It was quite hot when we visited. In fact the outside temperatures were in the 100ºF (35ºC) plus range. The inside temperature at the winery was cool, even on one of the hottest summer days.
Wine and Sommelier describes a visit to Bodega Cavas de Zonda and the wines produced. Suite101 article by Karin-Marijke Vis describes her visit. She also notes that it is one of the few mountain caves in the world that is used to store wine. I did find a wine review (NV Cavas de Zonda Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Cava – Champaña Demi Sec) at Wineup and Cellar Tracker. You can also check out Tripadvisor reviewers of the winery.
We loved the friendliness of San Juan. Travel San Juan provides online information, which is quite useful for planning a wine tour, locating accommodation and other services. We had no problems finding great food in San Juan. We also visited a day spa down the street from our hotel apartment, El Rocio. If your travels take you to Mendoza consider visiting San Juan wineries. While we did discover many other Argentine sparkling wines nothing beats our visit to Bodegas Cavas de Zonda on that hot Argentine summers day.
During our Argentine wine adventure we were most fortunate to also visit Mendoza, Salta and Neuquén wine producing provinces. This allowed us to do extensive wine tasting throughout Argentina. In general, the sparkling wines are quite good. If you are looking for Argentine Champagne check out a Good Morning Buenos Aires article, which describes Argentine Champagnes (or sparkling wines). I invite you to join me in my travels in Argentina and elsewhere in search of the best in Spaswinefood. You may also visit my travel column at the Examiner.
© Sharon Parsons
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