Go Way Off The Beaten Path in Bolivia’s Wine Country
If there ever was a Wild West in the wine world, Bolivia is it. This landlocked South American country of roughly 11 million people isn’t even on most wine enthusiasts’ radars, and that’s too bad because its high altitude and proximity to the equator make it something of a vinifera never-never land. Most visitors travel along the country’s Andean spine, visiting the Uyuni salt flats, trekking along the shores of Lake Titicaca, and visiting the markets of La Paz. However, adventurous oenophiles should add the southern region of Tarija, where most of Bolivia’s wines are made, to their list of wine destinations.
Renowned for their hospitality and warmth, tarijeños, as they call themselves, are proud of their wines, the best of which balance a distinct acidity with fruitiness. Often served alongside those wines is singani, a uniquely Bolivian spirit made from the ancient Muscat of Alexandria grape varietal. Cafes and restaurants in the region’s hub city, also called Tarija, serve local beverages with homemade cheeses, delicious grilled meats, and fried pastries. And since most foreign tourists leave little time to explore this lesser-known collection of valleys and foothills, you’re likely to have the wide horizons and rarefied Andean air to yourself.
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