MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nยบ53 DEC / JAN 2011
SALTA ROCKS WINE AND MOUNTAINS IN SALTA ANDES: MOUNTAINS OF MYSTERY WINERY GUIDE TO MENDOZA
w w w. w i n e - r e p u b l i c . c o m
CONTENTS NEWS REPUBLIC
A country life.................................................................................6
A guide to Gaucho Chic...............................................................16 Bareback Mountains...................................................................18 Mountains of Mystery: The Andes.................................................22
wine Salta: Vines in the Sky......................................................................8
Bars & Events...............................................................................26
RESTAURANTS Dining Out ...................................................................................30
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information.......................................................................32 Map of Maipu and Chacras de Coria..........................................32 Map of Mendoza City Center.......................................................34
CREDITS Issue December 2011 - January 2012 ISSN 1853-9610 10,000 Copies Published by Seven Colors S.A. Address: Espejo 266, Planta baja. Departamento 3. Mendoza, Argentina Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Amanda Barnes Editorial Director: Charlie O’Malley Publicidad: Ana Laura Aguilera (155018874), Mariana Gómez Rus email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Beattub, www.beattub.com Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION Contributing Authors: Amanda Barnes, Gwynne Hogan, Charlie O’Malley. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
news REPUBLIC By Charlie O’Malley
Location, Location Visiting Argentina throws most people into a pre-trip tizzy trying to decide where to go and where to leave out. The truly indecisive could be ruthlessly efficient and follow the suggestions of what has become the World’s most prestigious travel club – the UNESCO World Heritage list. To join this elite clique a location must be truly outstanding and go through a painstaking process that takes years and is notoriously picky, as Buenos Aires City found out this year when it was flatly and unceremoniously rejected – the steel flower must not have been working the day the UNESCO boffins did their city tour. 911 sites have been chosen around the world since this League of the Sublime first started in 1972. There are 8 sites in Argentina, 4 cultural and 4 natural. Can you name them? A quick survey around the office produced some very poor results with someone even insisting Argentina´s most tacky tourist drag El Caminito was listed. It is not and may it never be, solely for the reason that they grossly overcharge there for a plate of chips. One city that is definitely not on the list is Mendoza but that could someday change as a recent proposal in the provincial senate suggests that the city´s unique canal and tree system should be put forward. Much paperwork, voting and municipal cooperation is required to get the project off the ground so do not hold your breath. Doubters who suggest the city does not qualify should be punished by a good ducking in the same canals. Just look at some of the other cities that are actually listed. Valparaiso? And now, not to tease you any longer, the Argentine elite list is the following: Iguazu, Ischigualisto-Talampaya, Los Glaciares, Peninsula Valdés, Cueva de las Manos, Jesuit Cordoba, Jesuit Misiones and Quebrada de Huamahuaca.
Perito Moreno in Parque Los Glaciares 6
Valle de Uco
A Country Life When in Mendoza be sure to visit Valle de Uco, a high altitude valley tucked against the Andes, producing world famous wines. The area is also renowned for its bumper harvests of pears, apples, peaches and hazelnuts and makes for a spectacular day out driving its long stretches of bucolicroads with farms on either side and the white, towering mountains in the background. One such farm has decided to open its gates and have what must be Mendoza´s first farmer`s and artisans market every first Sunday of the month. Organic food stands, artisan products, wine tasting and pony rides for the kids are just some of what are on offer at Finca Ogawa, located close to the rural town of Tunuyan. The finca also has lodging at two lovingly restored adobe cottages and makes for a peaceful, pastoral break from the tourist circuit. The farm was once an old abandoned apple orchard and rests on 27 acres of rustic splendor offering authentic provincial life. For more information visit www.fincaogawa.com
y k S e h t n i s e n i V : A T L SA The wine producing region around Salta is the highest in the world with vineyards soaring over 3000 meters above sea level. Amanda Barnes gets a taste for wine at high altitude. I know this is going to sound stupid, but I am going to say it anyway. What really surprised me about flying into Salta in the north west of Argentina was that the Andes mountains were visible from both sides of the plane. As a consistently disorientated person who relies on the mountain range as a point of reference in navigating Mendoza, this was a real mind blower that you could stand on flat land and have the mountains all around you. It’s a charming place to fly into. As you arrive at the airport you may well think that you are being singled out as a tourist as the taxi drivers approach you dressed as gauchos, but actually it’s more a case of being the other way aroundthe gauchos are pretending to be taxi drivers. Perhaps surprising in the rather homogenously westernised 21st century, but locals actually choose to still wear their gaucho get ups. It actually feels like you are in a foreign country for once. 8
The Road to Cafayate The wine heartland, Cafayate, is almost 200km south of Salta city, which might seem like a pain after a flight, or worse, a 12-hour bus journey. But do not despair – the journey there is totally worth it. Leaving the rather green Salteña landscape you pass tabacco fields and agricultural crops before moving into the desert landscape of white sands, pastel hued mountain sides and great juts of burning red rock, interspersed with tall three fingered cactus. You could be forgiven for thinking that some of these spears of rock have only just erupted from the earth’s crust as they look very youthful for their 65 million years. The whole journey takes about three hours by car but there are loads of stop offs which will inevitably make you want to spend a bit longer ‘en route’. Adrenaline junkies might want to stop off at the Cabra Corral
The plaza is a hub of restaurants, tourist shops and a small artisan market, but the big orange church is probably the most iconic building in the town. The funniest building in town however is on the corner of the plaza, the local bank. Looking completely out of place and with good reason, this bank was designed to withstand heavy snowfall – surprising as Cafayate barely receives a thimbleful a year. This was the result of a fatal communication error between architects and the delivery man – the bank was supposed to be for snowy El Calafate some 2700kms further south. So there it stands, an expensive spelling mistake in all its glory. s in the
dam to partake in some kayaking, diving to see underwater petrified forests or taking off on the 700m canopy line. For those more on a gastronomy and wine mission the ‘Puesta de Cabras’ is the original halfway house. Run by Porteno Adrian and his partner Mercedes, here you can dig into a picada with their homemade goat’s cheese, or get a coffee and indulge in one of their cakes or desserts (make sure to try the goat’s cheese dulce de leche). If you fall in love with the place, there are some rustic cabins with a swimming pool for overnight guests. Eager to crack open some of the local wine? There is a small artisanal winery about twenty minutes up the road. Turn off onto a dirt track for Finca Las Curtiembres, a quaint family winery set against a stunning red backdrop, here you can try Nestor’s artisanal wines and soak up the gorgeous scenery. Finca Las Curtiembres, Ruta Nacional 68km, tel 0387 155 736655. “NO SHORTAGE OF OUTSTANDING ROCK FORMATIONS TO GET A GEOLOGIST SWEATY” Further up the Ruta Nacional there is an interesting rock formation named La Garganta del Diablo (the devil’s throat) because of its scarily concave shape which looks like a Lucifer’s windpipe thrown back in evil laughter. Bring your trainers and climb as far back as you dare. Around the corner is a similar formation although this time much narrower and cylindrical – the amphitheatre. With great acoustics, this is the place to try out your best Freddie Mercury impression. Along the rest of the route there is no shortage of outstanding rock formations to get a geologist sweaty and the rest of us awestruck or amused. Unusual rocks include what look like castles, a monk and doppelganger image of a large toad – completely weathered down by the sun, rain and wind. One day this will certainly slim down to be a prince of some sort. Arriving into Cafayate from such a wild landscape, it feels like a different world – neat vines and Spanish architecture line the wide streets. Although the small town of Cafayate is pretty much your average rural Argentine hamlet, what stands out are the colonial style houses with attractive balconies and arcades around the main plaza. 10
“THE BIGGEST WINE MUSEUM OF ITS TYPE IN LATIN AMERICA.” Another notable building in the centre of Cafayate is the llama shaped house of a local artisan. Half-finished, it sits directly opposite the new Museo de la Vid y el Vino (Museum of Life and Wine). The biggest wine museum of its type in Latin America, this interactive museum was opened earlier this year and has walk-through exhibitions on the extreme conditions of Cafayate, the climate, geography, soil, history and wine making process – complete with non-stop sound effects, light shows and such sensual, poetic descriptions of the plants, they would make the more liberal gardener blush. For information on visiting wineries in the region, visit the information centre around the corner. One of the most cultural experiences in the town centre is to go to the last remaining ‘pulperia’ in Cafayate. Here you can get natural remedies for impotence (by chewing a stinky hard root), lots of spices and dried herbs, llama wool, broken ceramics, a mug of wine and a bit of salami with the locals. You can even buy coca leaf. There are only a few places in the world where you can talk about taking coke without anyone batting an eyelid – and Salta is one of them. Saying ‘Anoche coci’ (I got coked last night) is perfectly acceptable in any conversation. Of course ‘getting coked’ in Salta is referring to sucking coca leaves and not any illegal white powder. Being the ever clichéd tourist, I obviously wanted to try some. Locals suck on the leaves to help with headaches from altitude sickness, aid digestion and to keep them awake during long nights. Stock piling it into one cheek like a hamster, a good ‘bola’ (coca ball in your cheek) can build up over a few hours and when you get to the point that you can no longer open your mouth to put any more in, that’s when you spit it out and start again. To be honest it tastes a bit like sucking tea leaves although it does give you a bit of a wakeup,especially if you chew it by mistake. And yes, it does help a resaca’ (hangover).
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in French oak and are certainly keepers. But don’t let all the points and hype mislead you, this is actually quite a quaint visit as the winery is an unimposing small warehouse with all the latest technology, local artwork and stunning views. If you get to meet owner Marcos Etchart, you are in for a treat with his refreshingly bohemian approach that gives a visit to this winery a really personal touch. Reservations required for wine tasting. San Pedro de Yacachuya, Ruta Prov No2 km6, tel 03868 15 400 890.
The Wineries of Cafayate BEFORE NUMBING YOUR MOUTH ON COCA THOUGH, TAKING IN THE WINERIES IN CAFAYATE IS ON THE TOP OF EVERYONE’S AGENDA. THE GREAT THING ABOUT CAFAYATE TOWN IS ITS SIZE AND PROXIMITY TO OVER 40 WINERIES. YOU CAN EASILY WALK OR CYCLE BETWEEN THE WINERIES HERE (THOUGH THERE ARE SOME IN DIFFERENT VALLEYS WHICH REQUIRE A CAR OR EVEN A 4X4). El Es te
EL ESTECO co
VASIJA SECRETA Probably one of the oldest and most touristic is Vasija Secreta. Bus loads of tourists get dropped off at this 1857 winery which is just out of the town centre with green vines stretching far up towards the mountains. Golden oldies all toast each other and natter in the courtyard while waiting to jump on the next guided tour and then later haul case loads of the cheapest wine to their tour buses, making it quite an entertaining if slightly claustrophobic place to visit. A small wine history museum, quaint tasting room and shabby historical decadence ta make it a nice visit along with its restaurant Vasija Secre which serves simple, local dishes including tamales and stew. Antigua Bodega Vasija Secreta, Ruta 40, tel 3868 421850.
SAN PEDRO DE YACOCHUYA One of the best known families making wine in Salta is Etchart. They really put Torrontes on the map and the Etchart family have numerous projects in the area including one of the critics’ favourite – San Pedro de Yacochuya. This is a much more boutique production of wines which the family started making with San Pedro de Yacoc the French oenologist Michel Rolland. Its huya small production of Malbec and Torrontes have risen greatly in stature and these wines regularly score over 91 points in famous international competitions. Located at the heights of Yacochuya, the winery has a sweeping view over the entire Cafayate basin and mountain range. It makes for an incredible postcard. At 2,035m, the 80-year old vines have a more challenging terroir and climate with less sunshine and slower ripening then further below, resulting in wines with lots of tannins, colour and structure. Following the Rolland style, these wines have a good amount of time urbex eyret D Peña V
Coming back down to earth, another winery worth a visit is El Esteco. One of the landmark whitewashed colonial style wineries in the city, this is one of the most historical wineries in Argentina and has quite a legacy from its founders, the famed Michel Torino brothers, in 1892. The beautiful bodega has relics of its long wine making history throughout, from its fireplaces to heat fermenting wine in pools, to the enormous vats from its mass production heyday. Nowadays it’s a smaller operation although it still pulls in enormous figures as the sixth biggest exporter in Argentine wine. You can pick from a hundred different tours, activities and tastings, but we especially recommend trying the Finca Notables Cabernet Sauvignon and their icon blends. El Esteco, Ruta 40 and Ruta 68, tel 03868 421139.
PEÑA VEYRET DURBEX To get the feel of a more boutique production in Cafayate, Peña Veyret Durbex is a perfect visit. 20kms out of town back on the route to Salta, this is a charmingly rustic boutique hotel and winery in another stunning landscape. Feeling completely away from it all in the middle of the valley with nothing more than a few goats around you, this is a really attractive detour. The winemaker can take you around the single small production room in no time and show you all the processes in a few square meters. They make a delicate and subtle Torrontes, an elegant Malbec and a lightly peppered Cabernet Sauvignon, all great value for money. It is also a nice spot for lunch and if you can’t tear yourself away, there is a hotel just upstairs. Peña Veyret Durbex, Ruta Nacional Km 18,5, tel 03868 421555.
SALTA CITY You won’t want to leave gorgeous Cafayate, but do save some time for Salta city. A bit shabby all over, its faded colonial glamour gives it quite an atmosphere and the lively Salteños certainly make it a fun visit. During the day there are a handful of museums to take a look around, including the MAAM which houses three Inca mummies found in the Andes and shown on rotation. All around the main plaza there are attractive buildings and postcard perfect churches. The pale pink Cathedral on the plaza is the iconic landmark most photographed here, but around the corner the Malbec red San Francisco is perhaps more striking with its exuberant tsarist Russia style. Salta has a really traditional feel to it and that’s reflected in the products and cuisine. This is the ideal place to shop for local products and there are countless artisan stores in the city but the best place to burn a few pesos is at the Mercado Artisanal just out of the city centre. An indoor market with bonafide craftsmanship, here you can find lots of silverwork, wood carving and the ubiquitous llama wool jumpers. Across the road is a Bolivian street market with a much tackier feel, which tour groups drop tourists off at pretending it´s the real thing. It’s not - walk across the road. You’ll find lots of traditional street food in Salta city – with tamales and humita being served up by native women on every other street corner. Make sure to try some. Restaurants range from good to standard but if you want to do a spot of wine tasting with your dinner, check out the vinoteca-cum-winebar-cum-restaurant Fuiste Uva. This popular and trendy (for Salta) wine bar has a good range of wines from Salta and further down the Andes. Here you can try by the glass or bottle and quaff away whilst nibbling on a picada or their gastro pub style dishes.Nightlife in Salta shouldn’t be missed either and of course the famous peña is a must for any visit.
Wines to try Yacachuya, Malbec: This is quite an intense wine with lots of black fruit, red pepper, violet and vanilla. This is very meaty with great aging potential but is already drinkable with a smooth and rounded finish. This was one of the more interesting wines at our Wine Republic Annual Tasting 2011 and shows a completely different side to Malbec.
Amalaya, Gran Corte: A really easy drinking blend from a new winery with lots of fresh fruit and a bit of spice behind. Malbec led, with 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Tannat from this new winery in Cafayate. Finca Notables Cabernet Sauvignon, El Esteco: The Cabernet Sauvignons from the region are really interesting and this one has lots of spice and ripe fruit to really hit the spot. VOS Torrontés, Vasija Secreta: A bright yellow Torrontés with classic banana, melon and coconut but a nice creaminess from being partially finished in oak. Alta Vista Premium Torrontés: One of our favourite Torrontés being made in Salta is actually produced by the Mendoza winery, Alta Vista. Well balanced with good fruit, acidity and minerality. Another top scorer from our 2011 Tasting. **For information on all the wineries and wine regions in Argentina, Bodegas de Argentina should be on the top of your contact list. The organisation promotes wine tourism in the country coordinating a wine route of more than 3000 km around the country and its 16 wine regions and can provide information for the different wine routes, including Salta and Cafayate www.bodegasdeargentina.org
Where to stay
Patios de Cafayate
In Salta city you will find plenty of hotels and hostels to fit most budgets. Upmarket options include the two five-star hotels in the city centre, the Alejandro Primero and the Sheraton, while more moderate prices can be found at Hotel Almeria and Hotel Salta. For backpackers Los Cardones Youth Hostel is right next to the main bar strip. In Cafayate the most indulgent stay must be the luxurious Spanish style villa Patios de Cafayate (www.patiosdecafayate.com). Attached to El Esteco winery, this spacious white hotel has a gorgeous garden with a pool overlooking hillsides, a wine spa, well decked out rooms and, of course, lots of pretty patios. If you can’t splash out on one of the lovely wine lodges there is also a youth hostel in the city centre.
Andean Trad If there is one thing that makes Salta stand out from the rest of Argentina’s tourist destinations is its vibrant, traditional music scene. Soaked in Andean culture and history, Salta’s lively music scene is an unmissable Argentine experience and it all revolves around the boisterous bar room venue know as the Peña. Amanda Barnes takes in the highlights of Salta and Cafayate’s music scene and delves deeper into gaucho and folk traditions.
The Peña Locals say the Peña is somewhere you go to forget your pains (peñas), others say it comes from an indigenous Mapuche word peñalolén which means the union of brothers. To be honest neither are far from the truth: music, dancing, and plenty of drinking, a Peña is sure to unify hermanos and numb the senses at the same time. Traditionally peñas are places where folk artists gather to drink, be merry and make music and this tradition has translated into one of Salta’s best nights out. Playing a huge variety of folk instruments, including the Charango guitar made of an armadillo’s back, and all dressed up in billowing trousers and knee high leather boots, you can’t miss out on a night tapping your feet and rapping the table along to the sound of lively folk music from hearty gauchos.Tradition is very much alive in Salta and the bewildering variety of musical genres range from drum banging, old lady keening to hoof clapping, cowboy roaring ballads. Salta’s Peña hotspot is most certainly on Balcarce Street. Here you will find a long strip of restaurants and bars with good Peña shows belting 14
out chacarera, chamamé, quarteto, zamba, baguala, carnavalito and chaya, amongst others. Settle down at a table, order some stew or Saltañese empanadas and enjoy the show. The street itself is a bit of a party zone late at night with banging boliches and neon lights flashing long into the night. Further out of the town you can get a really authentic Peña experience at La Casona del Molino. Musicians bring their own instruments and cram the five or six rooms of this old mill house holding spontaneous folkloric jam sessions and competing with the room next door to be louder, more lively and even more cheerful. There is a lot clapping, singing from the top of lungs and jeering. An eclectic crowd and a mix of different folk styles emerge throughout the night,the best thing to do is find yourself a stool in one of the rooms and join in with the locals for a sangria or Fantvin (fanta and wine mixed) and a proper Peña. About a 5 minute taxi ride out of the centre, most taxi drivers know the address: Luis Burela 1.
Folk music and tradition in Mendoza If you can’t make it up to Salta there are a few upcoming festivals in Mendoza where you can get a taste of Argentine folk and traditional music and dancing. FESTIVAL NACIONAL DEL CHIVO This festival in Malargüe may well be named ‘National Goat Festival’ but there is more than just gnawing down on some barbequed goat. Thousands gather at this festival to celebrate old traditions and folk music during the festival in January.
FESTIVAL DE LA TONADA This is a huge folklore festival in Tunuyan (Valle de Uco) in February. Musicians and dancers make it an animated event highlighting the unique Tonada style of folkloric music which comes from the Cuyo region. RIVADAVIA CANTA AL PAIS At the end of January this is a singing and music festival in Rivadavia with lots of traditional Argentine sounds
A GUIDE TO GAUCHO CHIC
AS YOU FALL FOR THE IRRESISTIBLE CHARMS OF YOUR GAUCHO VESTED MUSICIAN PLAYING ENTHUSIASTICALLY AT THE PEÑA, YOU WILL NO DOUBT TAKE NOTICE OF SOME OF THE UNUSUAL GARMENTS HE WILL BE SPORTING. HERE’S A GUIDE TO DRESSING UP IN ULTIMATE GAUCHO CHIC.
GAUCHO HAT Whether you are a big rounded hat man or like to give a nod to the Parisian fashion scene with a flat beret style cap, the hat is one of the essential gaucho accessories.
HANDLEBAR MOUSTACHE This will really drive the ladies wild at the Peña.
FACON This large fighting knife gives a dangerous edge and ‘bad ass’ appeal to the gaucho garb. Knifes can be adorned and blinged up with colourful stones and fancy metalwork.
PONCHO This large overall-cum-sleeping blanket, is the best way to express your true fashion personality. Coming in all colours and patterns, the poncho can make a bold fashion statement.
FAJA CON MONEDAS This coin studded belt is the real glamour injection into your gaucho folkstar outfit. Glistening coins accentuate the curve of your hip bones – even Shakira would be proud!
BOMBACHAS Not to be confused with ladies knickers, which are described by the same word, bombachas de gaucho are men’s trousers, gaucho style. Big and ballooned around the bottom and tight fitting on the ankle, the design gives ease when jumping on and off of your trusty steed and a nice airing to your nether regions in the summer. Modern bombachas are an increasingly popular (although not necessarily a good) trend for women.
Bareback mountains Riding horseback and drinking Malbec in the mountains. Amanda Barnes gets a taste for the outdoor Argentine life.
Mendoza: mountains, gauchos and wine. The first three images that spring to mind. If you are looking to tick all three off in one day, possibly the best way to do so is with a wine tour by horseback. But getting a horse, booking a winery, finding a gaucho and knowing where to go is a pretty tall order for anyone who just wants to enjoy themselves or relax in Mendoza. This is where an experienced tour company comes in. I booked myself in for a wine tour on horseback with Trout & Wine Tours for that true outdoor Argentina experience, but when the air conditioned minivan and an English speaking guide turned up to where I was staying I started to worry that maybe I wouldn’t get to meet my genuine gaucho or have a rustic outdoor experience. I was wrong. Our guide told us all about the history of Mendoza and its mountains and as we pulled up to Finca Las Lechuzas it was clear that this was going to be a proper country day out. “As we pulled up to Finca Las Lechuzas it was clear that this was going to be a proper country day out” A small and charming stables set against the stunning snow-capped Cordon del Plata mountain range, a few horses with their leathers on and a handsome young gaucho tightening a saddle, this was starting to tick all those boxes.
Our guide led us into a cosy dining room where we were greeted by Mercedes who introduced us to the finca and served us some steaming fresh coffee and lots of sweet treats. As she talked us through where we would be going today, I goggled at all the old gaucho and horse equipment adorning the adobe plastered walls – this was certainly ‘gaucho chic’ but you got a real feel for what life was like on a ranch. A couple of alfajores (caramel biscuits) and a café con leche later we moved outside by the duck pond to mount our furry friends, the Criollo horses. Mercedes explained that this is the famous Argentine gaucho breed. Being a bit of an inexperienced and unbalanced ditz on a horse (and in general), it was perhaps fitting that my horse was called ‘rubia’ (blond). But fortunately this blond knew far better than its rider and all the horses were especially selected for their calm and steady temperaments. After our gaucho Omar helped us up on the horses, we all strode off heading for the vineyards. As we passed the finca Omar pointed out lots of small owls, lechuzas, which is what the finca was named after as this is a popular breeding spot for them. Working our way through vines, under trees and across aromatic garlic fields, it is a lovely ride but the best of all is the outstanding view of the Andes mountains and the fat, snowy rounded top of Tupungato volcano – it was difficult to tear your eyes away.
After half an hour or so we reached a clearing and Omar told me it was time for a bit of horseriding training to build confidence and a bit of speed. Speed? I hesitated at the thought, pleasantly walking along at a slow pace is about all the balance I can muster on a horse and as someone who can hardly co-ordinate themselves not to trip over more ten times a day I was pretty sure ‘speed’ was a bad idea. But no-one likes to disappoint a handsome gaucho and so after duly watching his demonstration cantering around, blondie and I followed suit. “No-one likes to disappoint a handsome gaucho” This was probably the first time I took my eyes off of the mountains and looked nervously at the bobbing horses head and dust cloud emerging around us. Blondie knew exactly what to do and trotting around in a circle gave you quite a country kick of feeling like you were in your own rodeo. After catching our breath, and certainly with a renewed confidence, we carried on through the vineyards as our guide explained the different grape varieties that we were passing. Pulling up at large gates, we had arrived at Decero – the winery we were visiting for the day. Stretched out like a long Spanish villa, this Swiss owned winery has one of the prime positions in Mendoza with uninterrupted panoramic views of the mountains. “A traditional Argentine asado with all the trimmings” We toured through the winery learning about the owners’ fastidious approach to precision winemaking (no surprise from the Swiss huh?), their dedication to single vineyard wines expressing the true terroir and learnt about the winemaking process touring all the modern equipment. Moving through the tasting room there was, yet another, stunning view of the mountains, but this was the moment to tick box number three: Argentine wine. Specialising in only red wines, we tried the Malbec 09 which even as their ‘entry level’ wine had spent 14 months in oak – a big, concentrated wine with good fruit expression. Up next was their Cabernet Sauvignon, a spicier wine and with typical cassis characteristics. Our third wine was a really unusual varietal to drink in Argentina – a 100% Petit Verdot. With really intense colour, the meaty nose was certainly complex with some floral and sour cherry notes but a structured mouth. After a couple of glasses of wine we were certainly all feeling quite relaxed and ready to climb back on those horses. Another ramble through the vineyards and we were back at the ranch for the perfect finish to our country day out – a traditional Argentine asado with all the trimmings. On a blazing fire, Omar cooked us up
a few different cuts of juicy meat as we enjoyed another local wine from this prime Lujan region in the hot sunshine. Moving back into the lovely air conditioned dining room, we cooled off and sat down to a big BBQ with proper silverware and comfortable chairs – this is the best way to do an outdoor Argentine experience: gaucho but classy. Boxes all comfortably ticked. Trout & Wine Tours offer horseback wine tours every day. For more information contact Trout & Wine Tours, Espejo 266, Mendoza City. Tel (0261) 4255613. www.troutandwine.com
Christmas Wishlist This is the season to celebrate – Christmas, New Years, long summer’s evenings… We’ve picked out some of our favourite top scoring wines from this year’s Annual Tasting to help you get that Christmas shopping sorted. For
You may not like him, but you ought to impress him – this is the ideal gift for your boss. There are some outstanding blends in Argentina and we had many in our tasting. One of our favourite boutique wineries came up trumps with its Bordeaux blend from Maipu. Lots of black cherry and smoky notes to linger over. Score: 93 Price: $220
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Cruzat Larrain, Brut Cuvee Reserve
Whether it’s your better looking sister, metrosexual brother or demanding daughter – there’s always someone who needs to have the latest ‘en vogue’ gift. And Cruzat Larrain has bags of star quality: a fab fizz from famed sparkling wine maker Pedro Rosell, it has citrus and mineral notes and persistent bubbles. Score: 87 Price: $90
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Whether it be your wife or your mistress, Pinot Noir is a seductive wine and Salentein’s Primus will seduce most palattes. This wine still reigns supreme as one of Argentina’s best Pinot Noirs with its juicy red fruits and a delicate oak dusting the finish. Score: 90 Price: $225
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Afincado Tardio, Terrazas
Give the sherry a rest this year, and give the OAP in your life this fab late harvest Petit Manseng. A truly desirable sweet wine with lots of quince and honey as well as more refreshing aromas. Make sure you leave room after your Christmas dinner for this one! Score: 91 Price: $95
Angelica Zapata, Chardonnay Alta
This is one of the best Chardonnays in Argentina and is sure to make anyone fall silent for at least a few minutes. With complex multilayers of fruit, citrus and buttery oak – this is a manly Chardonnay and can stand up to rich flavors just as well as a red. Made by the well known Catena family. Score: 91 Price: $143
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Lindaflor Malbec, Monteviejo
Argentina is of course famous for its Malbecs and some friends would be pretty disappointed if they received anything but from Malbec country. Lindaflor is an exemplary Malbec, well integrated with an elegant body and a long lasting impression. This French owned winery sits in the stunning Valle de Uco. Score: 91 Price: $190
Some other top scoring wines (90+) from our tasting that should make their way onto your Christmas list: Tapiz Sauvignon Blanc Single Vineyard; Pulenta Estate Sauvignon Blanc; Alta Vista Premium Torrontes; Terraza Reserva Chardonnay; Angelica Zapata Merlot; Malma Reserva de Familia Malbec; Terrazas Afincado Malbec; Pulenta Estate Gran Malbec; El Enemigo Malbec; Catena Zapata Argentino Malbec; Ben Marco Cabernet Sauvignon; Kinien (Ruca Malen) Cabernet Sauvignon; Ruca Malen Petit Verdot; Pulenta Estate Gran Cabernet Franc; Benegas Lynch Libertad Cabernet Franc; Mendel Unus; La Azul Gran Reserva; Clos de Chacras Gran Estripe; Vistalba Corte A; Alta Vista Alto; O Fournier A Crux; Benegas Meritage. To see all our wines from the Wine Tasting 2011 visit www.wine-republic.com/wine/632-annual-wine-tasting-2011
PUEYRREDÓN 217 - CIUDAD DE MENDOZA TEL: 4281277 - email@example.com
Todos los jueves 20:30 hs. Degustaciones dirigidas en nuestra cava. Vinos de Bodegas Boutique Asesoramiento especializado bilingüe Delikatessen y Licores Destilados y Cervezas
Mountains of Mystery: The Andes They characterise almost the entire continent, leaving some people in awe and others in peril. There is no mountain range quite like the colossal Andes. Gwynne Hogan explores the legends and tales of the Andes near Mendoza.
Andean Memories Heroes made and lost within the snow bribed by a glistening twenty ounces of gold, a lowly mail courier was convinced to do the impossible: cross the Andes from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile on foot in late autumn. Halfway across the pass a blizzard began. In order to brave the storm, the courier walled himself up for eighteen days in a tiny Casucha, one of the small cabins lining the pass that Charles Darwin would later describe as “caves, or rather dungeons”. Having run out of food and supplies, he decided on the nineteenth day to make a break for it and fought his way through the storm across the pass into Chile. A year or so after the experience in 1849, the courier would comment to a fellow traveller that no amount of gold could “induce him to renew the attempt,” not “after the terrible experiences he had already gained.” This courier was not the first nor would he be the last to make the terrible trip. Decades earlier General Jose de San Martin performed one of the most epic crossings of the Andes Mountains of all time. In January of 1817, he hatched the plan to catch the Spanish troops in Chile offguard by attacking not from the waterfront as was anticipated, but from behind. During the twenty-one day trek, the troop lost more than 1,000 soldiers and half of the horses they had with them. Despite these casualties, the meagre and exhausted army still managed to defeat the enemy, sending Spaniards fleeing from their Chilean strongholds. This heroic deed has branded San Martin’s memory into the pages of history books and onto the names of main streets throughout Argentina. “San Martin performed one of the most epic crossings of the Andes mountains of all time” Two years later, the Spaniards still had not incorporated ‘crossing the Andes’ into their book of tactics to watch out for, and General Simon Bolivar was able to liberate Colombia by crossing in from Venezuela. Even before the conquerors however, insatiably curious scientists like Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin traversed Andean peaks and passes seeking to document new species, and to discover proof for hair-brained theories like evolution. High up in the mountains Darwin found petrified coastal trees and shell fossils, proof that the mountain 22
had once been alongside the ocean. In the early 1900’s American outlaw Robert Leroy Parker, more commonly known as Butch Cassidy, hid out within the foothills in Patagonia and was eventually shot in Bolivia after one last desperate rush for the gold. The legends of men are made and destroyed within Andean cliffs. There is no place where this is more clear, than on the peaks of Aconcagua where decades of the mountain’s victims lay frozen in time along the trail to the summit. One climber describes the corpse of such a victim, “the dead guy’s grave is located at 5,800 meters… The grave is just around the corner from our tent. The corpse is covered by a pile of rocks and some discarded mountaineering gear.” The bodies of these men and women remain intact as if they had died yesterday, yet the memories have long since been blown away. “Those who have proved themselves strong enough to overcome the extremity of Andean hardship are not soon forgotten” One unshakable memory, however, and the subsequent making of perhaps the most epic Andean heroes of all time, is the tragic story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. In October of 1972, a private jet carrying a Uruguayan rugby team as well as some their friends and family members (45 in total), crashed into jagged wintry cliffs at around 3,600 meters. Twelve passengers died on impact, and another six passed within the next few days. With little to no equipment to deal with the harsh Andean conditions, the survivors hid out in the broken fuselage surviving on candy bars and bottles of wine, and then eventually the bodies of their deceased friends, unkind reality that later made the movie version of the story such a success thanks to its sensational tagline “Rugby players eat their dead”. Years later, survivor NandoParrado helped illuminate the connection between their ability to stay alive in the Andes partly thanks to the consumption of human flesh, and his vocation as rugby player:
“[Rugby is] a game that’s misunderstood by people who don’t play... They don’t understand the team spirit, the sacrifice you make of yourself for another player so he can score. We survived from that spirit. If we had been soccer players, we would have died.” On the eighth day, the shaky reception of a transistor radio told them that the search had been called off—it had proved impossible to find a white plane amidst miles and miles of white snow. An avalanche killed eight more on the sixteenth day. Finally after waiting for the worst of the extreme winter weather to pass, three of the survivors set out to look for help. Walking westward for days, and resting under the shelter of a patchwork sleeping bag the group had fashioned at night, the three finally found signs of human life leading to the eventual rescue of the remaining sixteen passengers after two and a half months stranded in the Andes. Like the mail courier two centuries before, sheer will power and the intense animal instinct to survive were the only things that kept the remaining passengers of Flight 571 from being swallowed up by the Andes entirely. Those who prove themselves strong enough to overcome the extremity of Andean hardship are not soon forgotten.
Andes Vacation Reading HERE ARE A FEW TOP READS FOR ANDES BUFFS OVER THE HOLIDAY SEASON.
Crossing the Andes Crossing the Andes by car or bus may not take as much commitment as it does by horseback, but Gwynne Hogan explains the many problems facing even auto mobilised vagabonds. The jagged Andean peaks flanking Mendoza’s western side remain one of the most sublime and impenetrable regions known to man. As the world’s longest continental mountain range, the Andes extend for more than 7000 km, and bisect seven South American countries. Just west of Mendoza sits Aconcagua, the range’s highest peak, which summits at a treacherous 6,962 meters making it the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. As such, mountaineers flock from all over, propelled by that slightly suicidal human desire to conquer and traverse the unknown. For a lazy man’s alternative to experiencing the Andes, one might consider crossing Paso de los Libertadores, a road that has functioned since colonial times and connects Mendoza to Santiago de Chile. One of the most affordable ways between Argentina and Chile, this winding pass is highly trafficked by trucks carrying merchandise, blunderingly top-heavy buses, as well as passenger cars. Route 7, the road that leads from Mendoza to the Andes pass, climbs gently in altitude through rural towns, tree lined boulevards, and acres upon acres of vineyards. Just before hitting the border, the road grazes Puente del Inca an electric sulphurous yellow, naturally formed rock bridge. Snow-glazed peaks cradle the route on all sides, and after crossing the border into Chile comes Los Caracoles [the Snails], a series of 20 hairpin turns that give even the wildest drivers hesitations. “By bus you feel the texture and trauma of the Andes”
ALIVE: THE STORY OF THE ANDES SURVIVORS (by Piers Paul Read) Let’s face it, the author would have really had to consider a new profession if he had managed to ruin this gripping tale of the Uruguayan rugby team stranded in the Andes. THE CONDOR AND THE COWS: A SOUTH AMERICAN TRAVEL DIARY (by Christopher Ishwerwood) Searing and unsentimental this Englishman’s account of his experiences in Latin America in the 40’s is not your traditional travel log. THE OLD PATAGONIAN EXPRESS (by Paul Theroux) Originally published in 1979, this travel diary recounts the author’s epic train ride from Boston Massachusetts, to the Southern tip of Argentinean Patagonia. THE CONQUEST OF THE INCAS (by John Hemming) For those looking for a more historical option, the Conquest of the Incas is a readable and intriguing account of this great civilization’s decline.
I recommend this journey for all. Sure, it may be more time consuming than the hour long flight to Santiago. But in an airplane one loses the texture and trauma of the Andes. All landscapes are simplified into a short movie version of the actual experience. As is true in any comparison between a book and its movie sibling; the book may take longer, but it is almost always worth it. Should you decide take the bus or car route here are two pieces of advice: don’t sit in the front row of the bus, and make sure your gas tank is full. Both of these nuggets of information come, of course, from direct experience. The first, I offer you as help for choosing your seats on a double-decker bus. You may realize when you go to purchase your ticket that the front row seats on the second story are not reserved. If your brain works at all like mine did on my first border-crossing experience, you’re thinking, “Oh wow! Those must be the seats with the best view!” Maybe a nagging voice in the back of your head says, “That’s strange, then why are they the only ones not yet reserved?” The answer to that little voice is that those are the seats you’re most likely to die in, or at least this is the slightly superstitious common knowledge of the local populous. You’d think that if your bus went cascading off a grim Andean cliff-side it wouldn’t really matter which seat you were in. However, in this case I prefer to trust the local consensus. Now as you embark on your Andean journey, you’ll have the tools necessary to decide whether you want that panoramic shot to be the best of your life. If you do however arrive at the moment to reserve your seat, and the front two rows are filled up; you have the right to scoff/cough under your breath “gringos” as you pick your seat a conservative three or four rows back. Secondly, if you go the automobile route, be sure you have gas. This may seem self-evident, and to most reasonably functional beings it would be. However, when your lovely, charismatic, friend/driver parks
The highlights of the Andes in a fly by view There is a quick way to cross the border, although it’s not everyone’s favourite… Amanda Barnes takes to the air and amid the turbulence and ear popping, sits on the edge of her seat for good reason. I love a bit of turbulence in an aeroplane – it’s like getting a fairground ride thrown in for free. The more bumps, bounces and stomach flips you get, the better value I feel I’ve got for the ride. And the flight between Mendoza and Santiago usually doesn’t disappoint. No surprise as you are crossing one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. Although many people go cold at the thought of turbulence on a flight, not even the most nervous traveller can deny the
his 1972 clunker truck in a Chilean gas station, next to a Chilean gas pump right before you start a six hour drive to Mendoza; do not assume he is filling up the tank! In my case, despite the fact that we had performed the above action, leading all seven passengers including myself to believe we were ok on the gas front, it turned out friend/driver was just stopping for a quick candy fix-- next to a gas pump. “The realisation and sinking winter sun brought a chill to our bones” The gravity of our situation became clear to all rather suddenly after making our ninth or tenth hairpin turn on the snail bends. Although the hearty, antique truck had been chugging away at a meagre snail’s pace anyway, all of a sudden we seemed not to be moving at all. And indeed we were not, as the poor dried out engine belly had been running on empty for a few kilometers now. The moments that followed were wrought with tension and curses; it was his fault, it was your fault, it was mine. After about ten minutes of this foolishness it collectively
sheer beauty of this flight. Make sure you book a window seat because the views are to die for (excuse the pun). As the plane takes off from the flatness of Mendoza, it gently rolls up the foothills of the Andes until you reach height and start to cross over the Andes. Everything outside goes from green, to brown, to red, to blue and white. Passing slopes, dips, curves, jags, basins and glaciers – it is an ever changing picture and you feel quite privileged to see these virgin lands that not even San Martin ever traversed. Without a doubt certain parts are completely untouched by man, guanaco or rugby players. It’s a really stunning flight. That is, until your ears pop again and you descend back down into the smog of Santiago.
dawned on us, that playing the blame game was a futile exercise since we were all equally screwed. This realization and the sinking winter sun brought a chill to our bones. This situation could have easily turned sour. I’m suddenly thinking about those poor Uruguayan rugby players in the seventies who had to resort to cannibalizing the bodies of their dead friends in order to survive a plane crash. If you let them, these peaks will turn respectable humans into desperate and gruesome versions of themselves. While the girls huddled together in the back of the truck under blankets and coats, the boys rubbed their hands together over the engine, shivering and cursing under their breath. I begin to wonder whom we will have to eat first. A passing trucker with a spare jug of gas interrupted my nightmarish daydream. Spout in place, antique truck slurped it up like a hungry baby. We had just enough fuel to reach the border, then after clearing the summit, we turned off the engine and coasted down the curves until we came to a service station. Disaster averted
bars inside Mendoza City
The list below has some great bars but if you’re looking to browse, head to Aristides Villanueva Avenue, the nightlife strip of Mendoza. It’s a continuation of Ave. Colon and is simply referred to as Aristides by the locals. Pubs, bars, restaurants and shops cram together from Belgrano to San Martin Park to provide you with ample bar options. Get your shut-eye before a night out because the clubs don’t even get started until 2am, and call a taxi because they are all located out of the city in Chacras or El Challao.
Voy Pub Crawl
This new pub crawl meets every Thursday at 9pm and works its way around Mendoza city into the wee hours of the morn. Each crawl takes a different direction, but mine kicked off with wine and an inmpromtu tango session, followed by beers and French fries at a nearby bar, empanadas and wine at another, fruity shots at the Irish bar, and culminated in a sweaty moshpit of pulsing bodies at a local club. The group grows as the night goes, a ragtaggroup of around twenty foreigners and locals alike. This is a great night out and a unique way to see the city at night! www.voypubcrawl.com.ar, firstname.lastname@example.org (261) 4630363. $75 pesos which includes drinks and snacks at each location and entrance into the last club.
UPCOMING EVENTS The height of Summer is finally upon us and the city is filled with lots of great events. Don’t forget to check out our article on the Peña about some local folk events and our cultural agenda at www.wine-republic.com/events
BELIEVE IRISH PUB
One of the few bars in Mendoza with a bar counter and high stools to prop yourself up on. Kelly, the English part-owner/pub-mascot is almost always there to share a chat and a smile with the crowd; which is most likely a factor in its notable popularity among expats and travelers. On the menu is a great collection of draught beers, bottled beers (try the Warsteiner) and surprisingly decent pub grub. TV screens hang in every corner airing hit music-video montages or football games. Monday night is International night and for their packed events DJ’s rock the house. Colon and España 241. Tel. 261-4295567.www.believeirishpub.com.ar
THE VINES OF MENDOZA
As the first and only true tasting room in South America, The Vines of Mendoza offers the broadest selection of premium boutique wines from Argentina. Compare the wine notes with one of their tasting flights or chose a glass from the impressive list of limited production wines. Chatting with their learned bartenders and sipping fabulous flavours on the patio under a canopy of vines makes for a truly enjoyable afternoon. Join their Acequia Wine Club to receive these exclusive Argentine wines. Espejo 567, Tel. 261 438-1031. Mon-Sat, 3pm– 10pm www.vinesofmendoza.com
Cachita’s bar has been serving the best cocktails in Mendoza for a year now, but the funky little watering hole recently relaunched itself with a more colourful, relaxed summer time vibe and their own kitchen so that they can now serve North American style food to hungry drinkers. With juicy homemade burgers like Patagonian lamb and goat’s cheese, or red tuna with soy and mango, along side hot sandwiches, salads and fresh desserts there’s plenty to keep you sated. But what you really want to get down to here are the supreme cocktails by world traveller and barman Christian. Bringing classics like Martinis, Manhattens and Singapore Sling as well as frozen daiquiris and margaritas, punches, creamy cocktails and sours -there are around 50 to choose from but make sure to try some of his signature cocktails: the super sexy Old Cuban (7 year aged rum, lime, angostura and fresh mint topped with champagne); the Amaretto Sour (amaretto, lemon juice, orange juice and egg white with a real kick!) and the Raspberry Mojito. Cachita’s quite dangerously opens with a 2X1 Happy Hour at 7.30pm… It takes some serious willpower to ever leave! Cachita’s, Sarmiento 784, (261) 429 9009. Open Mon – Sat 6pm till late.
Farmers and Artisans’ Market – 3 December This is the only true farmers and artisans’ market in Mendoza, well actually in the Uco Valley! Held the first Sunday of each month there are organic food stands, artisan products, wine tasting and pony rides for the kids. Visit www.fincaogawa.com for more info and to confirm schedule. New Year’s Eve Parties If you are spending New Year’s Eve in Mendoza you probably want to find a good party right? For a five star party both The Park Hyatt and The Sheraton have attractive options with packages including live music, DJs, dinners and discos! Wine and Tapas at The Vines, Hyatt – 19 January Every Thursday you can join a buzzing crowd of locals, expats and tourists in tasting a couple different wines and trying out small tapas portions in this relaxed social evening. Held at The Vines bar in The Hyatt every Thursday from 9pm, $65 per person. Park Hyatt, Chile (in front of Plaza Independencia), 261 441 1232.
The Winery Guide The Best Places to Visit
Overall Winery Experience
LUJAN DE CUYO
Luigi Bosca Old, family owned operation with lots of heritage, handsome cellars and a tasting room. Large selection of wines from low-end to high-end blends. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond. Tel. (0261) 498 1974. www.luigibosca.com.ar 15 min
Terrazas de los Andes The fine wine sister of Chandon Argentina is a beautifully restored bodega with well-appointed tasting room. Try the famous Cheval de los Andes. Tel. (0261) 488 0704/ 5. Thames and Cochamaba, Perdriel. www.terrazasdelosandes.com 30 min
Tapiz Great wine lodge Club Tapiz, high-end restaurant Terruño and an instructive wine tour that includes an invigorating horse and carriage ride and a tank, barrel and bottle tasting. Tel. (0261) 490 0202. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 32, Agrelo. www.tapiz.com 40 min
Norton Old-style cellars contrast with a high-tech production line. Tank and barrel tastings are conducted at this huge facility and the jug fillings on Thursday mornings are popular with the locals. R.P. 15, Km 23.5, Perdriel. Tel. (0261) 490 9700. www.norton.com.ar 30 min
Ruca Malen Excellent food, great guiding and first-class wines. The pairings over lunch make for an unforgettable culinary experience. Generous tastings and gorgeous views of the vineyards and mountains. Ruta Nacional 7, Km 1059, Agrelo, Lújan de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 562 8357. www.bodegarucamalen.com 30 min
Kaiken This rustic 80 year-old winery houses a new venture by the prestigious Chilean winery Montes. There is nothing rustic about the wines however. They are big and powerful and destined to be famous. Here you can enjoy a terrific view, dynamic tours and a friendly guiding environment. Roque Saenz Peña 5516, Las Compuertas, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. email@example.com Tel. (0261) 524 3160. www.kaikenwines.com 20 min
Catena Zapata Showcase winery designed like a Mayan temple overlooking vineyards and the Andes Mountains. Rich, complex wines. Cobos s/n. Tel. (0261) 413 1100. www.catenawines.com 30 min
Melipal Great Malbec and gourmet lunches make Melipal one of the most exclusive wineries to visit. Ruta 7 km 1056, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 524 8040. www.bodegamelipal.com.ar Sottano
Dominio del Plata Argentina´s most famous female winemaker Susana Balbo is creating some rich and complex wines in the heart of Agrelo. Try their Crios and Ben Marco. Cochabamba 7801 Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 498 9200. www.dominiodelplata.com.ar
This small, modern winery located in Agrelo is owned by three generations of winemakers. Big, concentrated reds are their speciality, including a top wine with the name Judas which you can taste whilst viewing vineyards and snowcapped mountains. Ruta 7 y Costa Flores S/N. Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 153 535506. www.bodegasottano.com
Pulenta Estate Cool minimalist design and rich complex wines make this a winery with finesse and style. Convenient to visit on the way to Valle de Uco. Ruta 86, Km 6.5. Tel.(0261) 155 076426. www.pulentaestate.com
Decero FABRE MONTAMAYOU Attractive, modern facility with spectacular views of the mountains from the cozy tasting room. Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 524 4748. www.decero.com
Clos de Chacras Charming boutique operation. A five minute walk from Chacras plaza. Great Cabernet Sauvignon and excellent lunches. Monte Libano s/n, Chacras de Coria. Tel. (0261) 496 1285/ 155 792706. www.closdechacras.com.ar 20 min
Carmelo Patti Mendoza’s most famous garagista. Carmelo Patti himself is often there to show you around (in Spanish). Try his famous Cabernet Sauvignon from the barrel. San Martin 2614. Tel ( 0261) 498 1379. 15 min
Lagarde Owner of the oldest white wine in South America. Try the hand- crafted sparkling wine made from 100 year old vines; best enjoyed in one of their many courtyards. Ave. San Martin 1745, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 498 0011 Ext. 27. www.lagarde.com.ar
Chandon The original foreign investor, French-owned Chandon has been making great sparkling wines in Mendoza since the 1960s. RP 15, Km 29, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 490 9968. www.bodegaschandon.com.ar
Driving Time from Mendoza City
Vistalba Tasting room where one entire wall is a subterranean cross section of the actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks. Houses French restaurant La Bourgogne. Roque Saenz Peña 3135, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 498 9400. www.carlospulentawines.com 20 min
Belasco de Baquedano Gleaming modern facility with fascinating aroma room and restaurant with Andean view. Cobos 8260. Tel. (0261) 153 02349. www.belascomalbec.com 30 min
Piattelli Al lovely family owned winery done in a Tuscan style. Enjoy lunch on a deck beside a pond. Calle Cobos 13710, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 479 0123. www.piattellivineyards.com 30 min
Achaval Ferrer Modern boutique close to Mendoza riverbed. Big concentrated wines. Calle Cobos 2601; Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 488 1131. www.achaval-ferrer.com 30 min
Alta Vista Masterful mix of modern and traditional. Tasting includes distinctive Torrontes or single vineyard Malbecs. Álzaga 3972, Chacras de Coria, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 496 4684. www.altavistawines.com 15 min
An old style winery ran by one of Argentina’s most famous winemaker dynasties the De La Motta family. Terrada 1863, Mayor Drummond. Tel. (0261) 524 1621. www.mendel.com.ar Bonfanti A lovely winery in a pastoral setting. It offers one of Mendoza’s most up close and personal tours with the owners themselves and a tasting room set amidst the vines. Terrada 2024. Tel. (0261) 488 0595. 20 min
Benegas Lynch Rich history and richer wines. Lovely old bodega with lots of character. Mendoza’s best Cabernet Franc. Ruta 60. Cruz de Piedra. Tel. (0261) 496 0794. www.bodegabenegas.com
La Azul Simple, small production winery with not so simple Malbecs. R.P 89 s/n. Agua Amarga. Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 423 593. www.bodegalaazul.com
Dolium A completely underground winery with innovative design and top notch Malbecs. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 30 s/n, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 490 0190. www.dolium.com
Finca La Celia One of the valley’s oldest wineries. They conduct excellent tours and tastings. Av. De Circunvalacion s/n, Eugenio Bustos, San Carlos. Tel (02622) 451 010. www.fincalacelia.com.ar
Caelum This modern, medium size winery is located on the main road to Chile just before you reach the mountains. Argentine owned, it produces quality Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Ruta Nacional 7 km 1060, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 156 439564. www.bodegacaelum.com.ar
Benvenuto de la Serna Charming, family-run operation making a very decent Sangiovese under the Mil Piedras label. Carril Los Sauces s/n, VistaFlores, Tunuyan. Tel. (02622) 420 0782. www.benvenutodelaserna.com 90 min
Altus A red barn-like winery which faces a lovely adobe-style restaurant doing excellent lunches. Las Vencedoras, Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 155 080261. www.altusdetupungato.com.ar 90 min
Dante Robino Founded in 1920, Dante Robino offers an atmospheric old-style winery with a modernist, light-filled tasting room with excellent view of the mountains and vineyards. The tasting includes sparkling wine from the tanks. Recommended: the Gran Dante Malbec. Callejón Maldonado 240, Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Mendoza. Tel. (0261) 488 7229 Ext. #2. www.bodegadanterobino.com. 30 min
Viña Cobos American winemaker Paul Hobbs was one of the first to recognise the possibilities of Malbec and his Bramare label is possibly one of the best examples of this varietal. Ruta 7 Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 479 0130. www.vinacobos.com
Andeluna The old-world style tasting room looks upon dramatic views of vineyards against mountains. Ruta Provincial 89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 423 226 Ext 113. www.andeluna.com Gimenez Riili A brand new family run affair, part of the exciting Vines of Mendoza project. This is a modern winery in a stunning setting. Ruta 94 (s/n), Tunuyán. Tel: (0261) 424 5973. www.gimenezriili.com 90 min
Atamisque This Uco winery has some great white wines, a unique stony roof and they breed their own trout which is served in the charming restaurant. Ruta Prov. 86 (Km 30), San Jose. (0261) 156 855184. 90 min
Salentein Designed like a temple to wine, this ultraconcept winery includes a modern art gallery, lodge, and chapel set high in the Andean valley. R.P 89 s/n, Tunuyan. Tel. (02622) 429 500 . www.killkasalentein.com 90 min
O. Fournier Most architecturally innovative winery with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent lunches in the modernist visitor center. Los Indios s/n, La Consulta, San Carlos. Tel. (02622) 451 088 . www.ofournier.com 100 min
Lurton The wines are faultless and the location stunning. A French operation producing excellent Torrontes and Malbec. Ruta 94 km 21, Vista Flores, Tunuyán.Tel. (0261) 441 1134. www.bodegalurton.com 100 min
Rutini / La Rural Well-stocked museum with invaluable antiques such as cowhide wine presses and buckets. Giant oak tanks stand in large, cavernous halls whilst side rooms hold Victorian era pumps and bottle corkers. Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 497 2013 Ext.125. www.bodegalarural.com.ar 20 min
Lopez Popular, old-style winery with two museums on the wine and history of Lopez and Argentina, close to Maipu plaza. A newly opened restaurant offers gourmet cuisine with a panoramic view. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez. Tel. (0261) 497 6554. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar 20 min
VALLE DE UCO
Familia Zuccardi A professional, far-sighted operation. The guides are always enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to please. Attractive restaurant amidst the vines, famous for its asado-style lunches and generous wine pourings. Ruta Provincial 33, Km 7.5, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 441 0000. www.familiazuccardi.com
Flichman Steeped in history and tradition. Charming, pink-hued, colonial-style bodega, set in the leafy vineyards of southern Maipu. Recommended is the top blend Dedicado. Munives 800, Barrancas, Maipú. Tel. (0261) 497 2039. www.flichman.com 40 min
Familia Di Tommasso Officially the oldest winery in Mendoza and still run by Argentine hands. Their charming and rustic restaurant looks onto the vineyard, just two steps away. At La Chiase the DiTommaso, the kitchen of our home is open to our guests, homemade food made with family recipes that can be enjoyed among vineyards in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Urquiza 8136 Russell. Tel. (0261) 524 1829. www.familiaditommaso.com 30 min
Carinae Small, charming, French-owned winery offering personal tours and well-honed wines. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Videla Arande 2899, Cruz de Piedra, Maipú. Tel. (0261) 499 0470. www.carinaevinos.com 30 min
Trapiche Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old and new, traditional and industrial. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito. Tel. (0261) 520 7666. www.trapiche.com.ar 30 min
Tempus Alba A fine modern winery set in the rural lanes of southern Maipu. The rooftop terrace ovelooks the vineyard. Great Pleno label. Perito Moreno 572, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 481 3501. www.tempusalba.com 30 min
dining out mendoza city Florentino
Florentino is a real delight. An intimate, artistic bistro tucked into a converted house by Plaza Italia provides the perfect nook to try some of Mendocino chef Sebastian Flores’ salubrious and scrumptious dishes. We recommend the indulgent mushrooms with cheese (proper parmesan), thyme and garlic croutons, or the warm salad of squid, chorizo and watercress. There is a nice variety of mains – and it hasn’t taken long for their succulent chivito (baby goat) to become the thing of Mendoza legends: moist, tender and lean on a bed of creamy polenta and roasted garlic.
Florentino Desserts are just as irresistible as is the extensive Argentine wine list. Florentino has made a very promising start and its beautiful simplicity and good taste is a real charm. Montevideo 675. Tel: (261) 464 9077. Mon – Sat, 12.30pm – 12am (serves early dinner also). Avg. meal $120. Closed1 – 8 January 2012.
For an intimate, unusual and memorable evening – Ituzaingo is one of the city’s best kept secrets. A ‘closed door’ restaurant located in a historic house in the bohemian quarter, Ituzaingo has been receiving rave reviews from locals, expats and travellers alike who relish in the warm atmosphere, good company, unique art, 30
and good food all accompanied by an eclectic music mix. The maestro in question is Gonzalo Cuervo who likes to welcome in up to 45 people in his attractive loft conversion house or leafy summer garden, and his chef Lucan can delight guests with an eight course menu of Argentine flavours catered to an international palate, or simply relax with a glass of wine and nibble on a picada or empanadas. This is a real place to meet the wines, food, art, music and hospitality of Argentina. Ituzaingo, tel: (261) 15666 5778, firstname.lastname@example.org, 8 courses $140 – $210 pesos (inc wine). Advanced booking recommended.
Located in the elegant Park Hyatt, Grill Q serves up traditional regional cuisine at a five star level. Sit back in the chic parilla style restaurant amongst the cowhides and local artwork, pick from one of the many Mendocinean wines, make your order and watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. They are famous for their grilled meats and gigantic empanadas, and serve hearty Argentine classics such as ‘locro’ - a stew which hails back to the early independence days. Save room for the stunning desserts. The Hyatt’s other restaurant, Bistro M, offers a more gourmet evening menu and the most exuberant ‘lunch menu’ in town. With a gorgeous buffet spread of starters like thai squid salad, chicken ceasar with macadamia nuts and mezze style tapas, you’ll need to bring your stretchy waistbands to fit in the hearty and flavourful main options and the sumptuous dessert buffet on top. Put aside an hour or two for this tempting lunch. Chile 1124. (261) 441 1225. Avg. meal Grill Q $105. Bistro M Executive Menu $130 with starter buffet, main course, dessert buffet and glass of wine
Farrah is the type of restaurant that shines in personality, from the funky and colourful décor and eclectic music, to the unique wine list and menu that has dishes such as ‘flirting’, ‘last
sensation’ and ‘wet, wet, wet’. The good taste and character showing through are those of the three Farro sisters and their brother. The creative mind in the kitchen is middle sister Belen who creates fresh and innovative dishes with plenty of meat, fish and veg options. Lots of different salads and starters, creative ciabattas such as blue cheese and rainbow trout, pasta dishes including artichoke lasagna and their signature dish of sticky BBQ ribs, all sit on the menus in this attractive house in the 5ta. Save room for their refreshing sage crème brulee or oozing Chocolate volcano to savour Farrah’s ‘last sensation’. Tues – Sun from 8pm, open for an Lunch Special Menu with two courses and coffee for $40. Paso de los Andes 1006, tel (261) 423 9981. Avg. meal: $90
This cosy Mendocino restaurant has a casual, rustic charm about it. A colourful hub of activity on a quiet street, Patrona attracts a crowd full of locals every night of the week who come for the honest, traditional Argentine food and friendly and warm atmosphere. Classic dishes like the hearty empanadas and sizzling asado are worthy and popular fare but the real star here is Patrona’s warm, open sandwiches We recommend the artichoke hearts and goats cheese; roasted vegetables with white wine and honey; or the more traditional pick of rich glands cooked in lemon. A decent wine list and some satisfying desserts complete the gastronomy experience but the key to Patrona is the cosy way that they really make you feel at home. Mi casa es Patrona casa! 9 de Julio 656. Tel: (261) 4291057.Mon to Sat: 12.30pm - 3.30pm and 8.30pm - close. Avg. meal cost: $45 pesos.
For a romantic evening outdoors Anna Bistro is unsurpassable. Carved wood tables adorned with candles are nestled between exotic flowering plants and hanging vines. Couple this with soft lighting and tranquil jazz, and any mundane evening is transformed into a
memorable event. Gazing at their menu of delectable dishes, from ceviche and cesto de portobello (pastry piled with mushrooms and walnuts), to melt-in-your-mouth salmon al limon and trout, produces an unavoidable bout of indecisiveness. The Anna Bistro staff swear by the T-Bone steak and local Malbec combo. End the feast with a Blackberry Cheesecake and glass of bubbly on the sunken sofas for a quick trip to nirvana. Av. Juan B. Justo 161 Tel: (261) 425 1818. Everyday 12pm - 1am. Avg. meal cost: $90 pesos
If you want to see some real Argentine flavours and ingredients beyond parilla and pizza, 7 Cocinas is a ‘must’. Renowned Chef Pablo del Rio as taken key ingredients, flavours and recipes from the seven cuisines of Argentina and created a menu of Argentine origin but tantalisingly different to the norm. Take for example the gorgeous ravioli stuffed with creamy goat’s cheese, and sundried tomatoes, buttery almonds and ‘cuaresmillos’ (second blossom peaches burnt from frost) – the cream, tang, sweetness and bitter burnt caramel make an unforgettable dish. The Pacu river fish with sweet potato mash, citrus oil and roasted mushrooms is also one to remember – a bold and earthy dish that sits nicely with a red wine. Even in the more traditional dishes of saltañese empanadas and a whopping great steak, there is an added dose of creativity. Loosen your
belt for dessert though and be sure to try the cloying dark chocolate mousse with an olive oil twist and red berry sauce. 7 Cocinas is definitely a novelty in Mendoza: there aren’t many places where you get six types of bread, the wine list on ipads and a glossary in your menu. This is one of the most attractive ways to explore the argentine cuisine. Mitre 794 (at San Lorenzo). Tel: (261) 423 8823. Mon – Sun, 8.30pm – late. Avg. meal cost $160
outside city center Nadia OF
Winery lunches are one of the best things about Mendoza, but there is rarely an opportunity to enjoy a six course gourmet tasting menu near the city in the evening – until Nadia.Nadia OF is the beautiful brainchild of Nadia Heron, head chef at O Fournier winery.Open every night and tucked away in tranquil Chacras, 20 mins from the centre, the restaurant has a gorgeous courtyard, evocative art and a relaxed vibe. Originally a biochemist, Nadia started cooking for passion rather than trade and it certainly shows through her creative and colourful culinary flair. With divine appetisers such as sweet and salty melon gazpacho with crispy ham; and a remake of moist Spanish omelette wrapped in tender red pepper with a drizzle of parsley oil – the weekly changing menu aims to play with appearance, aromas, flavours and textures with a focus on seasonal ingredients. Most courses innovate vegetarian dishes but you can also tuck into one of Mendoza’s biggest, juiciest steaks with mojo rojo (red sauce). You can BYO here or pair courses with O Fournier wines. Open daily from 8.30pm, Italia 6055, Chacras de Coria. Tel: (261) 496 1731. Avg. meal: $125 without wine.
ENTRE CIELOS 7 Cocinas
It seems every season Entre Cielos are bringing something new to Mendoza’s scene: first of all Latin America’s first and only true hammam, next Mendoza’s only Italian-Asian fusion restaurant,
and more recently they launched their ‘beef club’. The new parilla is open weekdays where you can try different cuts of BBQ-ed meat with side courses, and during Friday and Saturday after office cocktails, beef club and wine tasting. If you are out in Vistalba, both of their restaurants are worth a try. Guardia Vieja 1998, Vistalba. Tel: (261) 498 8538. Avg. meal cost: $220
Casa de Campo
For rustic charm and traditional dishes visit Casa de Campo; A 15-minute taxi ride from Mendoza city center. Think welcoming casa with wooden beams, intimate tables and a smallbut lively verandah. Locals flock for the mouthwateringArgentine fare. Appetizers come ina taster’s collection of home-made goodies, from bread, prosciuttio and olive oil to sausage, pickled eggplant, cheeses and olives. Save some room for their clay oven specialties of succulent rabbit and suckling pig. Complement this with a bottle from their extensive wine list and the result is a flavor combination of gourmet quality. A picturesque stroll to Rutini La Rural bodega, just ten minutes away, is a wonderful way to conclude the afternoon. Urquiza 1516, Coquimbito, Maipu. Everyday 12pm - 6pm. Tel: (261) 481 1605. casadecampomza.com.
Terruño-Club Tucked away among the sprawling Maipu vineyards lies Club Tapiz Resort and its lovely restaurantTerruño. This handsome eatery boasts an elegant interior, excellent service and a wine list that is sure to please even the most finicky of wine snobs. Their chef compiles a tantalising menu that includes top notch lomo steaks, a rotating range of salads and a savory ginger/ honey chicken dish that is second to none. If you like what you see and taste, book a room in one of their seven Renaissance-style villas. Don’t forget to call ahead for dinner reservations! Ruta 60 s/n 5517 Maipú. Tel: (261) 496 0131. tapiz. com. Lunch, everyday, 12pm - 3pm. Dinner, Sun - Thurs, 8pm-11pm, Fri & Sat until 12am. Avg. meal cost: $150 pesos. 31
Police, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Dial 911 Bus Terminal Tel: 431-3001 Av. de Acceso Este and Costanera. Bus Routes: Maipu, Linea 10 N° 171, 172, 173, Rioja street and Garibaldi. Chacras, N° 115 or 116, 25 de Mayo and Montevideo. Airport Tel: 5206000 Accesso Norte s/n. El Plumerillo. Shipping Wine Ordinary post will not ship wine and a courier can cost at least U$ 30 a bottle. The most economical way is send it with your checked luggage in a special styrofoam wine box, available at most wine stores or at Trout & Wine, Espejo 266. Crime Be alert. Mendoza does have crime. Hold on to purses on the street and at restaurants. Avoid carrying valuables. Hostel lockers are not safe. Danger spots: bus terminal and internet cafes. Bike Tours in Maipu The most economical way to do a wine tour in Mendoza. Take bus (see above) to Urquiza street where you’ll find several bike rental companies. Some are notorious for dodgy bikes. Check and double check you get a good mount as a puncture can cause a mini nightmare. Head south, as north of Maipu is urban and not pretty. Recommended wineries: Rutini, Tempus Alba, Di Tommasso and certainly Carinae. When returning have a late lunch at the excellent Casa de Campo. Nightclubs In most nightclubs you have to queue twice for a drink which can get slightly exasperating as the night wears on. It is wise to buy several drink tickets at once for an easy, unimpeded flow of alcohol. Bathrooms are usually ill equiped so bring your own toilet paper. Many nightclubs are 200 light years away in Chacras which can cause problems getting home. Clubs rarely get going before 2am. Taxi Services Taxi Godoy Cruz Tel: 427-0055 - Radiomóvil Guaymallén Tel: 445-5855 - Mendocar Paraná 250 Tel: 423-6666 - La Veloz del Este Alem 439 Teléfono: 423-9090 Mendoza Expats Club An organization which enables Expatriates to meet each other. www.mendozaexpats.org. Hair Dresser English speaking and eccentric hairdresser Haisley from Delite will do your hairdo right. Arístides Villanueva 444. (261) 429-9124 - Leocut: Mendoza plaza shopping, (0261) 4490239
Published on Nov 29, 2011
Wine Republic is a FREE Magazine written in English. Published by Seven Colors S.A. Mendoza, Argentina Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613 Products