Who: Bodega Nanni
Family owned and operated for over 110 years in northern Argentina, Bodega Nanni is one of the growing number of certified organic wineries in South America. It is now controlled by the fourth generation of the Nanni Family. The cellar door/winery is located in the central part of Cafayate, as are most tasting rooms. It is easy to walk from anywhere you stay in town. Reservations are not required and tastings cost 30 pesos (about $3).
Where: Cafayate, Salta Province, Argentina
Located in a remote area of northwestern Argentina, Cafayate is little-known to the wine drinking pubic, and only recognized by a few sommeliers for its iconic Torrontes varietal wine.
Argentina is the only area of the world where the Torrontes Riojano variety grows. It is very light and smooth with apricot aromas, similar to Gewurztraminer. Torrontes is actually a New World cross of the Palomino (aka Mission) and Muscat of Alexandria (aka Mostcatel de Seturbal in Portugal) grapes. But for red drinkers, Tannat, Malbec, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Bonarda (aka Charbono in CA) are also grown in Cafayate. The Tannat, in particular, has found a nice home here. The reds are normally blended together in a cuvee. These are all full bodied, tannic reds that need extra hangtime to ripen in the high altitude desert climate of Cafayate.
Bodega Nanni produces single varietal wines on each of those types, along with a stunning flagship blend called Arcanus Gran Reserva. Arcanus is Latin for "secret", and the exact blend is kept confidential, although I believe it is Tannat/Malbec/Cab/Bonarda, which is a successful combination in this region. This robust, smooth wine with dark fruit is super satisfying.
A 100% certified organic winery is still a rarity in Argentina, especially compared to Europe and the US. Nanni's lower label wines are not particularly impressive, but the Reserva varietals are decent and the Arcanus is outstanding. We shipped home a bottle of Arcanus in our "best of Argentina" package. The visit to Nanni is more organized and personal compared to other Cafayate cellar doors. The tasting room is adjacent to the wine production facility, and we witnessed bottling operations during our visit.