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Source: La Nacion
By: Silvina Beccar Varela

SAN RAFAEL. - Towards the south of Mendoza, to 230 kilometers, later to cross the Valley of Uco and San Carlos, he accedes himself to San Rafael, center of a true about 3700 productive oasis of km2 watered by the rivers Diamante and Atuel.

The small city counts on airport, casino, hotels of all the categories, spa and a good variety of restaurants, which makes attractive as departure point for the inexhaustible c onocimiento of the world of the wine. Also exits to Dam can be organized thence the Reyunos, to only 35 kilometers of the city; historical Villa 25 of May; The Nihuil; the Canon of the Atuel, and the Valley of the Firewoods.

He does more than ten years that San Rafael shows one of the few Denominations of Origen Controladas (DOC) of the country, which grants an own profile to him in the increasing planet came. To about 800 meters on the level of the sea, the region offers territories of optimal conditions for the culture of grapevines. "Quality grape growing has been always the sustenance of our industry ", assures Jose Luis Goyenechea, director of the traditional Goyenechea Warehouse, founded on 1868, crossed every year by about 6000 Argentine and foreign tourists.

Goyenechea, una de las firmas familiares más antiguas de la Argentina, unió esfuerzos con Valentín Bianchi, Jean Rivier, Alfredo Roca y Algodón Wine Estates-Viñas del Golf, todas de este departamento, para sumar sus productos y servicios turísticos.

Golf between vineyards

In order to arrive at Algodon Wine Estates-Vine of Golf it is necessary to pass the arc from entrance to the city and to take the Yrigoyen street about two kilometers towards the center, later to double to the right by Ballofett. After passing two bridges that cross the crystalline Diamante river, one takes the national route 144 about 11 kilometers, perfectly signalized. With the recent incorporation to the The group Algodon, the project has given a qualitative jump that will allow to duplicate its capacity him of vasija, incorporating technology and new tanks of stainless steel and barrels of maturing. "Vines of Golf always were a enoturístico project that combines a warehouse, lodge, reduced and a field of golf between vineyards, devised by the golfista Ricardo Jurado. Now, bought by the company Algodon, it goes much more there of which one thought at first ", Diego explains Coll Benegas, manager of tourism of Wine Algodon Estates.

In 700 hectares a development of Real Estate with properties grows at great speed that count on 120 hectares of vineyards, fruit trees, two fields of golf of 18 holes each one, clubhouse and driving range, field of pole, a thematic hotel of the wine, the coqueto lodge of 14 rooms, plus a sink, that already is in operation and will have important extensions, predicted for the next month.

One of attractive the most interesting ones of Algodon-Vine of Golf is his reduced of field, of net cuyana identity. Here the firewood like power plant is only used to cook typical organic products of the zone, which made creditor in 2007 of the Gold Prize in the aid who organizes the network Great Wine Capitals (Global Network of the Great Capitals of Vino), in the category Best tie Restaurant with the tourism of the wine.

All the meals become in the furnace, which gives a distinguishing touch to this kitchen of property. Untiring finder of or na identity, Diego Coll Benegas supervises each elaboration of bistro.

"We have own tradition, immigrants, grass, came, mud firewood, furnaces, rivers, orchards Any presentation that arises to start off of the combination of those variables can be considered cuyana. Thus they appear rabbits to the mass, pastes gratinadas to the mud furnace, chivos to the red wine and ossobuco to the disc; also the firewood fire, jarilla in sauces, the grass kills in desserts and many things more - publishing one of the modern regional kitchen describes this deep. The plow disc must be for us what wok means for the Eastern kitchen."

Espumante del país

Of the sixteen warehouses that in San Rafael receive visitors, greatest it is the champañera of Bianchi, located hardly two kilometers after passing the arc that gives the welcome to the city. With an annual affluence of 80,000 tourists, Warehouses Valentin Bianchi are referring undisputed not only for being a one of the few vines into the hands of founding families, but for being one of the pioneers in the promotion of the enológico tourism.
"After traveling by France and Italy, my father, Enzo Bianchi, summoned a local architect to lay the the foundations of the model to follow in the construction of the champañera, a long yearning of him and of my grandfathers Valentin", he refers Sylvia Bianchi, director of Warehouses Valentin Bianchi. And it adds: "Beyond the technical aspects, in the construction of the new warehouse the possibility of different cultural and tourist activities considered that allowed to form to the consuming public in the art to taste and to know the culture the wine."

The route is made in reduced groups, accompanied by guides specialized who explain the process of elaboration of the wine and by the espumante, according to the Champenoise method, that follows the tradition classic of the second fermentation in bottle. When finishing this visit, of one s 40 minutes, is invited to the assistants to a tasting of the Extra espumante Brut. With reserve, also it is possible to make the directed wine Tasting of the high range, in charge of sommelier of the warehouse. In the amphitheatre outdoors and the Exhibition hall it has been possible to enjoy works like The Traviata of Verdi, interpreted by elenco of the Theater Columbus, as well as of the presentation of the Filarmónica of Buenos Aires and Alberto Lysy.

The Rivier and the Rock

With other eight kilometers towards downtown, on the left hand of the Yrigoyen street, Jean Rivier arrives itself at the Warehouse. With a capacity of vasija of something more of a million liters, of which the 70 by one hundred are in conditionned subsoil, the warehouse was founded on 1954 and remodelada in 1993, the general style stayed, but the new technological standards were respected.

"This is a familiar company dedicated to the production and comercializ ación of wines where all the steps completely are controlled without leaving nothing at random. All our wines are product of grapes that we cultivated in two vineyards, which allows to maintain a continuity us in the quality ", it maintains Marcelo Rivier, one of his proprietors.

Leaving towards Dry Gorge, the Warehouse Alfredo Roca also has one impronta net familiar. From own vineyards, they produce wines of high quality, in a 70 percent destined to the export. Opened to the tourism, the vine offers routes according to the interests of the visitor. From the historical review, vendimia and the elaboration, happening through the digging, the division and the tasting, tour consists of about 40 minutes in which the visitor discovers the care whereupon this family dedicates itself to grape growing. He is frequent that the visit directly is oriented by Don Alfredo Roca (ex- Suter Warehouses) or their son Alexander, slopes of each detail as much of the vineyards as of elab oration of these wines of great personality.

Thus, without losing its identity, but accepting the new challenges, San Rafael it advances in the way towards the enoturismo of the high range. It is worth the trouble to cross it, and if he is in the heat of vendimia, far better; the sun shines more intense and there will always be a reason to offer.

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