I have just returned from Argentina after performing the arduous task of wine tasting...

It's a hard job, but someone has to do it

I recently got back from Argentina, a country I adore. This time out I explored the vast landscapes, mountain passes and indigenous villages of the northern provinces after a (far too) short stint in the wine region of Mendoza to get to grips with the wine-making process and the different grape varietals, some only grown in Argentina. The country may be known for Malbec but after sampling over 50 wines in three days without too much of a headache, I came away with a Bodega Andeluna Cabernet Sauvignon as my particular favourite. It's a tough life, this research business.

I then headed north to Salta and Jujuy. My guide, Edgar, took me on the most wonderful trip through multi-coloured gorges past indigenous and pre-Inca villages and high altitude vineyards and out to huge salt flats under bright blue skies at La Puna. We combined the outdoor adventure with a cultural walking tour in the beautiful city of Salta, where you can still feel the presence of the Spanish Conquistadores in the architecture of the churches and important government buildings. My favourite place to stay was the House of Jasmines, a boutique country hotel which felt like home. The staff couldn't have made my stay any better and the food was superb. I'm already planning my next trip…