MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nยบ47 DEC 2010 / JAN 2011
Organic wine Reaching Aconcagua Tango in Mendoza
w w w. w i n e - r e p u b l i c. c o m 1
Extreme Tourism, Mendoza Hub, Watership Down .....................6
Bars & Events ...........................................................................28
Aconcagua: A stroll in the park?............................................... 11
Dining Out .................................................................................. 30
Aconcagua: A local matter? ........................................................ 12 Those Summer Nights ............................................................ 21 The History of Tango ....................................................................23
MAPS & TIPS
Pucha Que? .................................................................................. 24
Useful Information: Emergency, Airport, Wine Shipping, Crime, Night Clubs and Taxi Services .........................................................32 Map of Maipu ..............................................................................32
Map of Chacras de Coria .............................................................32
How to Bluff your way as a Wine Expert ................................... 8
Map of Mendoza City Center ......................................................34
Celebration Wishlist ..................................................................14 Cabernet Footprint ...................................................................... 16 Uncorking Organic Wine Myths ................................................ 18 The Winery Guide The best wineries to visit ..................................26
CREDITS Issue December 2010 - January 2011 10,000 Copies Published by Seven Colors S.A. Mendoza, Argentina Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Charlie O’Malley Assistant Editor: Amanda Barnes Publicidad: Ana Laura Aguilera (155018874), Mariana Gómez Rus email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Beattub, www.beattub.com.ar Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION Contributing Authors: Charlie O´ Malley, Amanda Barnes, Eryn Synder Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
news REPUBLIC Extreme Tourism
Scientists’ search for extra terrestrial life has taken them to the most unlikely place of Laguna de Diamante in the Andes. This pristine lake, 4,700 meters above sea level, at the foot of a volcano, is one of Mendoza’s natural wonders, and now it seems is the perfect spot to look for a super bacteria called extremophites that flourish in its harsh conditions. Experts believe that if they can exist at the bottom of this “diamond” lake, they also have a chance of surviving on a distant planet. It is for this reason, this season you will see some boffins poking around in this provincial reservation, amongst fly fishers and hardy campers. The lake itself makes for a spectacular (if long) day trip amidst gorgeous Andean scenery and ice capped peaks with herds of guanacos running rampant. The park is only open two months of the year, January and February, because of the adverse weather conditions. The rest of the year it is for extremophites only.
Slowly but surely Mendoza airport is beginning to offer more direct connections to places other than Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile. After years of shocked tourists discovering their flight from Mendoza to Salta was routed through Buenos Aires, Aerolineas Argentinas have finally began ferrying happy campers north directly to Salta and then Iguazu and also south to Bariloche. Every plane is packed which gives us reason to hope the flights will become a little more frequent than just twice a week. More good news is Taca Airlines is opening a new route from Mendoza to Lima which will operate three times a week. This means the warm beaches of Northern Peru are just that little bit closer. Now all we need is a tourist information kiosk in the airport and perhaps a place that sells water and we are all set.
By Charlie O’Malley
Anybody who likes to jog in Mendoza will recognize the challenge of running the gauntlet of hose bearers washing down their front pavements in the morning. That is all to change as Mendoza’s government have imposed restrictions against the free use of water to shine the side walks. This is the result of the worrying water shortage anticipated this summer. Melted snow is at a premium after a mild winter where Mendoza’s main skiing resort Penitentes remained closed because of a lack of snowfall. The vast complex of waterways that keep this city so green and productive are fed by the Andes and the lack of snow has many worried that global warming could be the underlying reason why suddenly water has become an issue. Buckets and hoses are thus prohibited and any transgressors will incur a fine of 80 pesos. Lets hope this is the only water related inconvenience this city’s inhabitants suffer and next year we will have snow by the hoseful.
How to bluff your way as a wine expert
Amanda Barnes takes us THROUGH the art of SNIFFING and swirling your way to the top Mendoza can be a daunting destination for wine amateurs. Gentle bar chatter in a city with a swollen population of sommeliers, oenophiles, wine snobs and fiercelyproud locals (where everyone and their grandmother would happily correct Michel Rolland) can be a somewhat bewildering prospect. So how can you fake your way as a wine expert? My parents introduced me to wine from a young age and having slurped my way up from sickly sweet Blue Nun (shameful but a necessary ritesof-passage) to some rather more expensive (and ergo surely better?) wine, I figured I was ready for joining such a community. How naive! Within half an hour of my arrival it became quite evident that Mendoza´s wine drinkers were well out of my league. Arriving one night in February (the height of Vendimia madness and wine know-it-alls), I jumped off the bus and headed to a supermarket to pick up a bottle of wine for the evening. Gazing at rows and rows of labels (and that was just the Malbec), I tried to navigate my way to some sort of decision. Resolving that a 25 peso bottle with a pretty label was the most sensible way to go, I reached out to the middle shelf. “Ooooo, tush, tush, tush” came a disapproving tutting sound and head shake to my right. My hand faltered midair, suddenly feeling exposed. “Is this not very good?” I blushed. “Feo (horrible)” came the simple response. “Uh – what do you recommend? Maybe the Trapiche?” I desperately scrambled for approval. “Hmmm... this one is good” my elderly wine guardian pointed to a 50 peso bottle. Dammit. I struggled with my pride and purse strings. “Or this one is not bad” he pointed to a 12 peso wine. I thanked him, grabbed the cheapie and walked to the check-out to reassess my future in Mendoza. If I can´t even stand my ground in a supermarket showdown how will I manage at, God forbid, a vineyard or tasting room? Enter Escuela Argentina de Sommeliers (EAS) and its introductory sommelier course (or essentials to bluffing your way as a wine expert). Figuring this was a chance to learn the basics of Argentine wine, a few fancy wine words and drink plenty of nice wine under the guise of educational betterment – I signed up. So after two months of learning the history, process and tasting of wine, and spitting and swirling our way through over 40 bottles, here are my top tips for bluffing your way as a wine expert: 1) TO SPIT OR NOT TO SPIT? An age old question. Sadly, no matter how good a wine is, in a tasting room, the real ‘expert’ would always spit. This took a few classes to learn. After trying to not so artfully half-spit and halfhoard in a hamster-like fashion, the messy aftermath forced me to spit it all out in the end. The theory behind this is obviously that in
order to appreciate the different flavours and aromas of a wine, it helps to not be drunk. 2) MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU When spitting, try to find a happy balance in your force. Spit too ferociously and you end up with splash-back from the spitoon all over your face; not forceful enough and you will dribble down your chin. Swirling your wine in the glass to aerate it is another one to practice at home with a bib on. 3) LET IT FLOW Sommelier Bárbara Jones encouraged us to share whatever we thought we smelled and tasted (and admirably she tried to agree with most of our ideas). Wine is completely subjective so the true secret to bluffing is picking a likely aroma candidate and saying it with enough conviction. Red fruits and spices tend to go with reds, and white fruits and herbs for whites, but don´t be afraid to say something slightly unusual. Soon enough everyone will be smelling Tabasco sauce. 4) INHALE DEEPLY Most of the sensation of a wine comes from its aromas, so spend some good time inhaling and pondering like a professional. If, after 5 minutes, all you can genuinely come up with is ‘alcohol’ or ‘red wine’, perhaps just go with a classic faker’s response: a moustache-twitching “Hmmm, interesting – I can’t quite put my finger on it”. 5) KEEP YOUR NAMES TO YOURSELF Name-dropping is an immediate giveaway for a wine bluff and a wine bore. Say you like the wine from the wrong bodega and you will instantly be cast off. If you insist on name-dropping vineyards - go for some smaller, boutique operations with a local presence, they are more likely to impress, and even better if they haven’t been heard of. 6) BREAK THE RULES I learnt in my EAS wine and food pairing lesson that the classic combos (although classic for a reason) can be a bit tired. Spicy and rich chicken dish? Try matching it with a Cabernet Sauvignon. Sushi? Go for a Rosè. Mushrooms? Pinot Noir. Chocolate? Forget the wine, whisky all the way! 7) NO WAY ROSÈ No self-respecting wine snob likes to admit they like rosè but they will all admit that sometimes a rosè cannot be replaced (for example with dessert). The key to being a wine-know-it-all is to know that all wines have their appropriate place and time (and preferably to know when that is, or furthermore, isn’t). 8) PROBAR, PROBAR, PROBAR! My favorite EAS rule: probar, probar, probar (try, try, try)! There is no better way to become a wine expert other than by trying the stuff - Salud! If you want to seriously learn something about wine and know what you are talking about, or even go so far as to become a sommelier, contact EAS in Mendoza on (261) 424 6602 or visit www.sommeliers. com.ar or Hipòlito Yrigoyen 242, Barrio Bombal.
Charlie O’Malley dispels some myths about Mount Aconcagua I am not exactly a mountain person. Train platforms make me dizzy and the only peak I ever reach is after a few glasses of Malbec too many on a Friday night. The German explorer Paul Güssefeldt met the same ambivalence amongst the locals back in 1883 when he tried to persuade them to help him out conquering Aconcagua summit for the first time. They were just not interested. The clever German had to invent stories of buried treasure at the top to coax them into action and even then they failed to get there. Aconcagua means “Stone Sentinel” in Quechan. The Huarpe Indians regarded it as the gate to heaven and left it at that – somewhere to go only when you die. Climb it? Are you crazy? The Incas regarded the mountain as sacred and sacrificed royal princes on its higher slopes to pacify the Gods when the heavens rumbled or the earth shook. In 1985 a group of mountain climbers from Mendoza University came across a stone cairn holding the remains of one such mountain mummy, perfectly preserved in a beehive shaped mound of rock. Salta city in the north west of Argentina has three such mummies discovered on Mt Llullaillaco in 1999. The disinterment was filmed by National Geographic and the three bodies can be seen in a specially constructed mummy museum in the city center. Their freeze dried remains look like sleeping children, one of which is half black after being scorched by a lightening strike during its lonely 500-year sojourn on the mountain top. The Mendoza find remains in a freezer in the University of Cuyo basement with no plans to display it though you can see its feathered headdress and golden adornments in a small but fascinating museum at the Facultad de Filosofia y Letras. “The clever german had to invent stories of buried treasure at the top to coax them into action and even then they failed to get there” At 22,841 feet (6,962 meter), Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Americas and one of the big seven; one for each continent, that avid mountain climbers have on their hit list. 7,000 people attempt the summit each year and maybe 3,000 make it. It induces a phenomenon known as “summit fever” in many. This is an obsessive drive to reach the top that can be dangerous and life threatening as the altitude can be lethal. Medics at the different camps are constantly forcing belligerent climbers to turn around if they find any health issues. Many are reluctant to do so, especially when they have paid up to $5,000 US for a professional guide to take them up there. One such guide had to punch his client in the face to make him turn around. A German couple once tried to reach the summit with their newborn child. When forced to turn around, they tried to sneak up at night and were promptly arrested. One year, one woman did reach the top and promptly committed suicide. I imagine I might do the same if I experienced the pure agony that comes from exerting yourself at such extreme altitudes. Headaches, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, loss of appetite and insomnia are just some of the milder symptoms that must become somewhat unbearable when stuck in a tent in freezing temperatures waiting three days for a storm to pass. All this, plus
the fact that you have to carry around your excrement in a special tube for two weeks, has to be a little trying on even the most resilient optimist. Most guide books make it out to be a walk in the park - a non-technical climb that requires no ropes or crampons, just two weeks to aclimatise. The fact is two weeks is barely enough. A month is more like it. Two months better. Seasoned guides really can treat it like a stroll, though the steep shale slopes must sometimes have even them muttering oaths beneath their Goretex. Some crazy Italian once made it from the base camp to the summit in one day, in tennis shoes. An 10-year old once climbed it as did an 87-year old. “One such guide had to punch his client in the face to make him turn around” Don’t let such stories give you a false sense of ability. The fact is Aconcagua is not an easy climb for the average citizen who spends most of his days no higher than six stories up in an office block. This is the biggest mountain outside the Himalayas and anybody who climbs it deserves a hug and a handshake (after they’ve cleaned themselves up of course and got rid of the turd receptacle). You just have to hang around the park entrance to see the gaunt men and women coming down with only two things on their mind, a shower and steak, to appreciate their achievement. Look across the road and you’ll see a craggy mound that is the climber’s cemetery holding some of the 135 people that have died on the mountain since it was first conquered by an Swiss called Mathias Zurbriggen in 1897 (who commited suicide 20 years later as it happens). You may be tempted to do as I do and cheat to reach the summit. Just pop into the small visitor’s center beside the car park. There you can watch a video that takes you to the summit in three minutes flat. Look! I can see the Pacific.
Aconcagua: a local matter? It has the tallest mountain in all of South America at 6962m, it was home to some of the world’s oldest dinosaur bones and over 7,000 international tourists visit it a year – but why is it Aconcagua Provincial Park and not Aconcagua National Park? This lower classification of such an important landmark and area in Argentina might seem quite bizarre and it has confused many, with people often calling it a National Park anyway. But why isn’t it made a National Park as it certainly warrents the credit, prestige and international reputation? As with most businesses, this seems to be down to politics. It was declared a Provincial Park by a provincial law in 1983 with the aim of protecting flora, fauna and archaeological sites in the area (Act Nº4807). The Park is run by the Renewable Natural Resources Directorate of Mendoza Province. This gives the province control over Aconcagua - it sets the fees, pays the wages and collects the income, meaning that Mendoza has more control over the park. We couldn’t get a clear answer from the Directorate about why the state doesn’t want to make it National Park, but it seems that in this case the
province beat the nation to it, and Mendoza would prefer to keep it that way. The season for climbing Aconcagua is upon us (November to March) so if you are up for the challenge then there are a few things you need to start getting sorted out. First of all a permit is required (www.aconcagua. mendoza.gov.ar, 261 425 8751), for either 3, 7 or 20 days. If you want to climb the summit then the 20 day permit is required, it costs $3000 for foreigners and $720 pesos for locals in high season - this includes your emergency services insurance. The list of equipment required is endless and temperatures towards the summit can get down to -30C so be prepared. If you are heading for the top it is advisable to take a guided tour, unless you are a highly experienced climber. Andes Vertical is an experienced Mendoza-based adventure company which can help you find a guide to the top. Call for more details about their 17 day summit attempt (or 7 day, 2 day and full day treks). Visit www.andes-vertical.com or call (261) 423 1148, Sarmiento 681.
With Christmas, New Year and Summer holidays (at least for the southern hemisphere), December and January are months to celebrate. And so for this edition’s wishlist we are rounding up the year with some wines that topped our Wine Tasting 2010 in April. This isn’t the time of year to scrimp and save, so let go of your purse strings and splash out on some special wines of alta gama!
Carinae, Prestige, Blend 2007 Angelica Zapata, Chardonnay Alta 2005
This was our top scoring white wine in 2010. A very rich and concentrated Chardonnay full of apples, caramel and honey. It can certainly pull its own weight and is perfect to match with dinner. $90 AR (91 points)
Benegas Lynch, Meritage, Blend 2006
A unique blend that (shockingly for Argentina) uses no Malbec but takes Cabernet Franc as its main grape, producing a beautiful jet black wine with fresh basil, thyme and spices over rich oak and plums. $250 AR (92 points)
A very rich and complex wine with concentrated black fruits and hints of chocolate and caramel. From a boutique bodega in Maipu owned by two passionate French expats. $244 AR (92 points)
Alta Vista, Alto, Blend, 2006
Another gorgeous blend with a complex nose of prune and blackberries with a long lasting finish laced with chocolate and licorice. Coming from the beautiful Alta Vista vineyard in Lujan. $350 AR (92 points)
Cavagnaro, Malbec Reserva 2004
This was the wine on everyone’s lips at the tasting – not the top scorer but an impressive wine from a small, relatively unknown family vineyard. With rose on the nose, a port taste and a toasty finish – a bargain for $75 AR (91 points)
Terrazas de los Andes, Afincado, Tardio Petit Manseng, 2008
It is Christmas after all so we had to have a sweet wine and this was our top late harvest wine in 2010. A delightful sweet wine oozing honey, apricots and quince. $92 AR (90 points)
Other top scorers in 2010 included: Ruca Malen, Kinien, Malbec (91); Salentien, Primus, Malbec (91); Alta Vista, Atemporal, Blend (91); Benvenuto de la Serna, Trisagio, Blend (91); La Azul, Gran Reserva, Blend (91); Catena Zapata, Agrelo Estiba Reservada, Blend (91); Renecer, Punto Final Reserva, Malbec (90); Tapiz, Reserva, Malbec (90); Kaiken Ultra, Cabernet Sauvignon (90); Melipal, Reserva, Malbec (90); Domaine St Diego, Pura Sangre, Blend (90).
Cabernet Footprint Worried about how your drinking is affecting the environment? Amanda BArnes learns all about Organic Wines
rganic’, like ‘sustainable’, often appears as a marketing term hijacked by companies aimed at giving stay-athome, yoga practising, yummy mummies an affordable sense of wellbeing. On a recent trip to an organic vineyard in Valle de Uco called Occioverde, I learnt that beyond the marketing phenomenon there is actually an inspiring motive. But before donning my hemp shirt and Birkenstocks, I asked owner and winemaker Paolo Addis to explain what ‘organic’ actually is and why there’s all this fuss about it. Organic wine is both a new phenomenon and also a very old one. ‘Organic’ simplistically means respecting the environment by not using synthetic chemicals or anything that pollutes it. So it goes without saying that in the 7,000 year history of wine - it is only in the past 100 years since the invention of synthetic chemicals that nonorganic wines have been made. Now the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides has become the norm, the ‘conventional’ method; and so conversely ‘organic’ is now the alternative. It is only in the past 10 years or so that Argentina has returned to some organic production with a handful of organic producers. There are two ways to make ‘organic’ wine: producing organic wine, or producing wine made from organic grapes. Sound more or less the same? I thought so, but Paolo explained that where the first uses organic methods for the entire process (including the winery), the second uses organic grapes with conventional production in the winery (allowing them to add more sulphites, tannins and use different cleaning products). Most ‘organic’ wines are made the second way - with organically grown grapes. “If you fed someone a diet of mcdonalds and steriods, they won’t live as long as someone with a healthy balanced diet” Occioverde is one such producer with vineyards located in La Consulta south of this beautiful valley. “What interests me about organic is the sustainability,” says Anglo-Italian Paolo as we walk through his sunny patch of vines with the Andes towering in the distance. “Conventional vineyards rely more and more on chemicals and get stuck in a vicious circle. The more you use synthetic chemicals, the more you need them.” As with all living things, the vineyards adapts to the chemicals and stronger formulas are needed to make an impact – thus taking it further and further away from its natural state, and shortening its life. “Put simply,” says Paolo, “if you fed someone a diet of McDonalds and steriods, they won’t live as long as someone with a healthy balanced diet. It is not healthy for the plant to be pushed like that.” So if organic production is more sustainable and perhaps better for the earth, why is everyone using chemicals? Because they are much easier, cheaper, involve less work and higher production. But for Paolo, his business partner Elisabeta and numerous other organic producers, it is ‘vale la pena’ (worth the effort) and he believes that not only does it respect the land more but that the quality of the grapes are much higher. “With organic vines you get a much lower yield but a 16
longer life - vines should last centuries, and pumping them with chemicals burns them out earlier.” It does not necessarily follow that the grapes are better quality if organic (it all depends on the individual winery) but usually organic vineyards take a more artisan approach, paying more attention to a smaller, more concentrated yield for better quality. “To stop the ants organic farmers might spray their vines with strong garlic or hot chilli” To conquer some of the many obstacles that Mother Nature throws at them, organic agronomists have to come up with some creative yet simple solutions. To stop the infamous and enormous Argentine ants and other pests munching their way through their budding crop, organic farmers might spray their vines with strong garlic or hot chilli (the bugs, like many Argentines, don’t like picante on their food). Another option is to grow ‘cover crops’ (or weeds for the less organic-literate) around the vines which give the pests their fill of tasty weeds rather than tucking into the rather more lucrative vines. This increased biodiversity is a strong principle of organic farming. It all sounds much harder, more fiddly and demanding than just spraying the crops with ‘kill all’ somethingcides, but actually on a sunny afternoon in the vineyard, this lifestyle seems quite appealing. And it certainly sounds healthier. “Organic is not just about the crop though – the people are also important,” says Paolo. “With conventional methods the workers are put at a health risk. When I was working in a vineyard in Italy, I once got some of the chemicals on my hands when they burnt through the plastic bag and very soon I felt sick. Not only did the headache put me off but also that these chemicals were strong enough to burn through plastic. I decided I really didn’t want to eat or drink these chemicals in any way!” “Organic is not just about the crop though - the people are also important” Organic farms are obliged to hire workers legally (which is often not the rule of thumb in rural Argentina) and thus workers handle safer products and have more legitimate working conditions (with insurance and pension etc). So if the people, environment and wine are perhaps better off organic, why aren’t more people doing it? “I often joke that organic farming is actually less environmentally friendly because of the number of trees you use,” says Paolo. “There is so much paperwork involved in becoming certified that it puts a lot of people off. It does take more time and costs more money from this point of view.” To be ‘organic’ you need to be clear of chemicals for 3 years, have regular inspections and get certified by each country you wish to distribute to as well as complying with your national government’s regulations. This certainly builds up - the costs of certification and inspections can be around $4,000 US a year. However it would be misleading to say that there isn’t some financial gain in going organic. We are back to the marketing ploy. And in Europe and the US, it is a great one. More and more consumers are looking for
organic or fairtrade products, and whatever their or the producers’ motivation, this phenomenon is driving a positive change around the world. Within Argentina there is very little demand for organic, however with international consumer demand, organic and more sustainably produced wine is on the up, along with many other organic products in Argentina and the rest of the world. “There is so much paperwork involved in becoming certified that it puts a lot of people off” So, on a personal level, is it worth a vineyard going organic? “There is more work and the risks are high, but we believe organic is much better for ourselves and the environment and our grapes keep getting better and better.” Paolo and Elisabeta are even thinking about trying to move to the holy grail of ‘green’ - biodynamic.
If organic seemed difficult, biodynamic is a marathon. It is a method of organic farming which also takes into account the astronomical calendar, uses herbs and crystals and aims at having a practically complete self-sustainable farm. With preparations such as putting ground quartz in cow horns and stuffing flowers in deers´ bladders and cows’ intestines, burying them for a few months and then spraying the crops with the composted remains, biodynamic is probably a bit of a far stretch for most vineyards, let alone those in Argentina. However organic is really working its way more into the mainstream and proving to be more than a fad, and although I won’t be putting on my Birkenstocks just yet, after a healthy day at Occioverde I am certainly starting to see the greener side of life. For more information on Organic visit www.organicconsumers.org For information on Occioverde visit www.viniesencia.com.ar
Uncorking Organic Myths Amanda Barnes pulls the cork out on some of the many myths about organic wine Myth 1) Organic is better for you: true. Most say that organic foods and wines tend to be more nutritious and contain more anti-oxidants (and are thus ‘better’ for you). But the real issue with organic production is that it is better for the environment and more sustainable. Myth 2) All wine is a bit organic: false. As you work your way around many vineyards in Mendoza, they might claim that they are 95% organic or very, very natural. This is just marketing. You either are or aren’t organic. Wine is obviously a natural product; put a box of grapes in the sun and soon enough you will have wine but the vineyard from where the grapes came can only be organic if it follows strict guidelines of no synthetic chemical, no GM and increased biodiversity etc. Myth 3) Organic wines don’t add sulphur: false. Sulphur is a natural by-product of fermentation so all wine contains it. However sulphur dioxides are added in conventional wine making to inhibit oxidation and bacterial spoilage. Strictly speaking, organic wine would have no added sulphur dioxides but in practice most ‘organic wines’ add sulphur dioxide although at lower levels. Don’t worry though – another myth to dispel is that 18
sulphur is rarely the cause for a headache. It is usually the excessive alcohol. Myth 4) Organic is expensive: true. A well-managed organic vineyard or farm shouldn’t cost much more than a chemical one. However the yield is lower and the labour hours required can make them more expensive. As can the paperwork. Myth 5) Organic is better quality: N/A That depends on how you measure quality and what you are comparing it to, but it is true that organic vineyards tend to show more artisan-like approaches and more attention to detail which in turn often produces higher quality grapes and thus wine. However, any vineyard with a smaller, more carefully nurtured yield will produce better wine, whether organic or not. Myth 6) Organic wines use so much copper and sulphate that it isn’t worth it in the end: not in Mendoza! Again this depends on the vineyard and the problems it faces. Mendoza is blessed with relatively fungus-free terrain so barely any fungicides are needed whether they be organic or conventional vineyards. Myth 7) Organic wines don’t age well: true. Theoretically the organic juice has
the same potential as conventional wines, however organic wines use less sulphates and tannins so possibly have less aging potential. Aging depends on sulphur dioxides, tannins, acidity and alcohol. Myth 8) Organic wines taste bad: false. Well, if they have rot which has been allowed to ferment, then true – they would taste bad. But if healthy organic grapes are selected then there is no risk of these ‘off’ flavours. See our recommended organic wines below!
RECOMMENDED BOTTLES: Occioverde, Merlot. The Merlot grape from Uco Valley is one of Mendoza’s unsung heroes and this silky fruit bomb is a great example. $25 Jean Bousquet, Gran Reserva Malbec. “An intense peppery wine with candied fruits and ripe red berries.” $55 Zuccardi, Santa Julia, Organic Chardonnay “A balanced Chardonnay with tropical fruits and green apple.” Zuccardi’s extensive organic line is only available outside of Argentina (in Europe and the US)
Those Summer Nights Amanda Barnes gives us the lowdown on where it gets hot in the summer This buttoned up city takes its shirt off in the summer. You just need to know where to go to discover its live music and dance scene that is more open-air than underground.
TANGO AND LIVE MUSIC The famous two step is Argentina’s best known dance and a must see while visiting the country. Although BA may be your natural first choice for tango, don’t leave Mendoza out of the picture. We have also listed venues with Latin beats, folk and jazz. The Alameda During the summer, the Alameda (a treelined avenue six blocks north of the tourism office in the city) comes to life with people dancing in the streets and playing tango. This bohemian area is the place where locals and young people hang out for a more lowkey atmosphere compared to Mendoza’s most famous beer street, image conscious Aristides Villanueva. The weekends are filled with people pouring out of popular bars which often have live music. This can be a great place to catch locals playing music and dancing, and as it is in the great outdoors - it is free! Alameda is on Av. San Martin around the 2000 mark. Aristides/Belgrano On Friday evenings in the summer you can join in with some locals dancing tango in a lovely little, flower adorned plaza on the corner of Aristides Villanueva and Belgrano called Plazoleta Carlos Vergara. This openair milonga starts at around 10pm, but don’t set your watch because there is a truly Argentine sense of time keeping. Charming if you can catch it.
Tajamar This restaurant-cum-gallery-cum-theatre hosts regular tango shows on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday nights, and live music and theatre every other night (except Monday when it’s closed). With an intimate theatre out the back and a large open bar space with a small stage and art works in the front, it has two spaces for watching performances. This is one of the most dedicated live music and performance bars in the city and draws in a mixed crowd. Tajamar, 1921 Paseo Alameda. (261) 425 6165 www.tajamar. com.ar Ana y Luis Dancing duo Ana and Luis have been teaching tourists and locals alike in their classes and weekly milongas for over 5 years. On Tuesdays and Thursdays classes are held at Centro Cultural de la Bancaria (España 1234) for two hours from 9pm where you can learn how to tango. Put your steps into practice at their milonga (a social event where tango is danced) on Sunday nights (officially from 10pm, but naturally not starting until 11.30pm, at San Juan 456). This milonga is popular with silver foxes and a slightly older crowd who enjoy gliding along to the less intimidating ‘social’ tango dancing style which beginners can easily fall into step with. To see the impressive skirt twirling stuff stick around for one of the ‘shows’ during the breaks. The venue is a San Juan RestoBar, an informal, slightly cheesy, bar in the downtown. They also host live music on other nights. Contact Ana or Luis on (261) 420 1336, www.anayluistango.com.ar San Juan Resto-bar, 456 San Juan, (261) 425 7489.
Mendoarte: 11 December to 26 March As summer really kicks in there are always dance and art festivals around and Mendoarte is one of the longest in Mendoza. Starting on 11 December it is a three month festival with free tango and folkloric dancing classes which are then followed by a performance (by professionals – not those that have just taken the class). Art exhibitions, cinema and a food patio are also included in the festival. For more details visit www.mendoarte.com.ar Casa Usher This bohemian hot spot in Alameda hosts a weekly tango performance on Tuesdays. Pulling in a crowd of locals, this trendy hub moves outdoors to the paved streets in the summer leaving the small, eclectic bar for drinkers. On Wednesdays go to a cult favorite, the jazz session. With a mix of performers which keep the boho locale on their toes. During the rest of the week you can catch Latin beats, reggae, rock, folk, live theatre and pretty much anything else. La Casa Usher, 2259 Alameda, (261) 15 304 3602. 8pm till late, closed on Mondays. Performances start around 11pm on week nights and 12 at the weekend. Approx. $10 entrance. Long Play Another popular spot on the Alameda. This retro watering hole has live music Tuesday through Sunday with acoustics on Wednesdays and Sundays, Karaoke Thursdays and salsa and rock in between. It spills out onto the street and has a large loft area for dancing and performances. Long Play, Remedios de Escalada 2023. 10.30pm to 4am for music, between $5 and $10 entrance. 21
Soul café This lounge in the centre has an eclectic mix of regular ‘arty’ events: from milongas and live music to poetry recitals and comedy nights. There is usually something going on at one of Mendoza’s most famous and intimate live music venues. Galeria Piazza, off De la Reta (near the Sheraton) (261) 423 3530. From 10.30pm, entrance cost varies.
Terrazas, The Hyatt On weekend nights Terrazas, an outdoor bar at The Hyatt, organises live music to sooth the ears of guests and visitors. You can usually catch some sort of jazz, bossa nova or other dulcet tones. Terrazas, The Hyatt, Chile 1124, (261) 441 1220, from 11pm
Go Late and with the Flow: The great thing about Argentina is its relaxed, spontaneous attitude. Parties, asados and even milongas get organised at the very last minute (literally with five minutes notice). The worst thing about Argentina is also its relaxed, spontaneous attitude. Even if you have had an event planned for six months, it may well be cancelled at the last minute too. So take heed, relax and enjoy whatever happens! As a general rule the events detailed here do happen... at least 80% of the time. To keep updated on the music, dance and other events in Mendoza check out our events page on Wine Republic website. A cultural calendar is regularly updated with what’s going on in Mendoza. www.wine-republic.com/events Or follow our facebook page for more events www.facebook. com/winerepublic
The History of Tango CHALIE O`MALLEY RETELLS THE HISTORY OF THE FAMOUS TWO-STEP
‘The tango in Buenos Aires is a private dance from houses of ill repute and bars of the worst type. Never is it danced in high-class salons or by respectable people. Tango music itself arouses unpleasant thoughts.’ So said Enrique Rodriguez Carreta, the Argentine ambassador to France, in 1913. He was trying to pour cold water on a hot sensation sweeping across Europe – a sensuous, exotic dance called tango. It was fresh, exciting and more than controversial. Before it, men and women hardly touched when dancing. Now suddenly they were in a close embrace, cheek to cheek, chests together, legs invading each other’s space, passing sultry looks and caresses, accompanied by yearnful music with sometimes risqué lyrics. It was enough to give a puritan a heart attack. Kaiser Wilhelm banned it. Prince Louis of Bavaria denounced it as absurd. (Strangely enough Pope Pius was unimpressed and called it too languid for his tastes) All to no avail - the chattering classes took to it enthusiastically and the tango became the music and dance of European high society. “IT WAS ENOUGH TO GIVE A PURITAN A HEART ATTACK” Its origins are as mysterious as the dance itself. Experts cannot even agree on the source of its name. Tango could come from an African word meaning closed place or circle. Others say it is an 18th century term for a place where slaves gathered (and perhaps danced). Or it could come from the tambor, a type of drum used in an African dance called candombe. The music is a fusion of rhythms – candombe, the havana, the milonga and the madrileno. It was born in the late 19th century in the poor barrios that fringed Buenos Aires City. Waves of immigrants, mostly Italian but also Spaniards, Jews, Arabs, French, Irish and Poles began arriving on Argentine shores. They were young, single and working class, fleeing famine or persecution. They harboured an immigrants’ feelings of loneliness, displacement and nostalgia. They all of course had a love of music. Brothels became big business, but not just for being places where sex was available. They became meeting points and social exchanges, drinking holes where people could share a story and listen to music in the form of three itinerant musicians playing guitar, violin and flute. Like the melodies, people improvised some steps and danced to ease their
melancholy. A strange kind of mournful accordion called the bandoneon replaced the flute. A new type of popular culture was born and tango became its’ voice, echoing stories of lost loves and sad memories. The music and dance evolved. Some men took it so seriously they practised together for want of a partner (the girls were just too expensive). Their moves became a source of pride and perhaps a chance to improve their appeal to the opposite sex. “THE RICH ESTABLISHMENT BANNED THEIR DAUGHTERS FROM PRACTISING IT” The new dance from the barrios was disdained by the rich establishment. It was uncouth and immoral. They banned their daughters from practising it. Yet the sons of the aristocracy were attracted by its romance and danger. They slummed it in the arrabales (city fringes) and picked up some steps. At the time Argentina was developing rapidly. It had become one of the ten richest countries in the world. Most of the Argentine elite owned property in Europe and spent time there every year (such was their wealth the French had a saying; ‘He’s as rich as an Argentine’). Sons of the privileged were often educated in Europe. They brought the new dance with them and the tango craze began. Europe legitimised the tango. The high-class salons of London, Paris and Rome reverberated with the music. What was born in rags, now wore a tux. The Buenos Aires elite began to grudgingly accept it as their own - a truly original Argentine phenomena. A TANGO TIP When the Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato wrote: ‘Only gringos dance tango for fun’, he was not kidding. True aficionados take it very seriously indeed. They stare intensely into each other’s eyes while the man leads. They never smile or say a word. They are deep in thought and concentration. The only language is in the feet, heart and head. But Tango is more than a dance. It is a way of looking at the world, a philosophy and poetry in movement and emotion. To dance tango is to immerse your self in Argentine culture; to dip into the nostalgia of the immigrant. If you are brave enough to take lessons, remember you are stepping through history and whatever you do, try not to smile. 23
Eryn Snyder looks at the difficulties facing the Argentine music scene and sits down with the members of Pucha Che! to get an inside view into one of the hottest young bands in Mendoza.
Pucha Che! takes the stage in Godoy Cruz´s Escalera al Cielo and within moments I am dodging limbs on the chaotic dancefloor. The eight guys on stage hit their instruments hard and the crowd jumps and shouts and sambas to the beat. Delivering an ¨explosion of energy¨ in every performance, Pucha Che! is a force to be reckoned with in Mendoza’s growing local music scene. From humble beginnings playing birthdays and roof-top fiestas, this band has evolved over the last four years into an eclectic musical act with an undeniably infectious stage presence. While some may classify their music as Ska, the band prides itself on constantly experimenting and incorporating new concepts. Six of the band’s current eight members are music students at the local University. Percussionist Lucas Lucchetti credits their musical education for the expansive variety that Pucha Che! brings to the stage; “Every time we hear something interesting or new in a class, we bring that back to the band and play around with different sounds...we are constantly changing our style”. The guys offer up their lead singer, Martin Rodrigues Blanco, as the quintessential example of the band’s unique brand of Latin American fusion. “Martin started off in a punk-metal group. He had long hair and wore only black”, drummer Demian Nicolau tells me with a laugh, “and now he plays cumbia!”. I laugh too as I try to imagine the now sleekly dressed Rodrigues Blanco contorting his suave voice into a punk-metal scream. Evidenced by the band’s growing fan-base, Mendoza is beginning to embrace this “mestizo” style of music. While reggae and jazz are still enjoying considerable popularity among locals, “people are more open to different types of music then they have been in the past” claims Lucchetti. Several other local groups have their own take on Latin-fusion style. Popular bands that have hit some mainstream visibility include Karamelo Santo and Simpecao. Acts like Bajofondo, set a precedent with their world-wide acclaim for mixing tango rhythms with techno beats. In reality, mendocinos enjoy a vast variety of different musical genres. A quick visit to local music web page, Rock-Mendoza.com, will reveal that there are metal, alternative, punk, and blues groups tearing up the Mendoza music scene. “HOWEVER, MENDOZA STRUGGLES WITH LIMITING LIVE MUSIC LAWS” However, the music scene in Mendoza is not fully prepared for this influx in popularity. Bands are constantly struggling with venues and limiting live music laws. Bars are required to purchase permits to have live music performances on their premises, a tedious process which deters many bar owners. A significant obstacle in some cases, businesses have to insure that their walls are properly insulated for sound. Within the city limits, strict volume and capacity
laws are inforced, causing the music crowd to flee to Godoy Cruz where there are more flexible regulations and established local music dives. Paying bands also becomes complicated by the Argentinean artist’s union, SADAIC. Established to protect copyrights and artists’ “intellectual property”, SADAIC works as a third-party mediating payments for performances. Venues pay SADAIC for each song and SADAIC in turn pays the bands. While it is a non-profit mutual, SADAIC admin costs are a source of grumbling for several venues and bands alike. “NO JIMI HENDRIX-INSPIRED PERFORMANCES ARE LIKELY TO APPEAR IN ARGENTINA IN THE NEAR FUTURE” Another root of the woes plaguing the Mendoza music scene is a set of government regulations mandated after a disastrous fire burned down a club in Buenos Aires in December 2004. At least 175 people died in the flames. As a means of preventing another tragedy, the authorities placed stricter regulations on maximum capacity, fire escape routes, and performance props. The result: live music venues are still struggling to meet demanding fire-hazard and safety regulations and no Jimi Hendrixinspired performances are likely to appear in Argentina in the near future. Yet the boys of Pucha Che! owe their band’s name to the frustrating quirks of the local music scene. Pucha che is an Argentinean expression, used to replace a similar sounding, vulgar word. It is more or less, their equivalent to “dang it!”. As the story goes, when the band arrived at their first gig at a bar in the city, the venue’s owner turned them away. Despite the fact the band had advertised for weeks in advance, the venue failed to obtain all the proper permits and the show was cancelled. As they sat on a curb in their old neighborhood, glumly silent after the night’s turn of events, one band member uttered “Pucha che!” The guys collapsed on each other laughing and the name stuck. With their casual humor and distinct style, Pucha Che! is a group to check out as they leave their mark on the growing live music scene. For more info on Pucha Che visit www.myspace.com/puchache or find them on facebook. If you are interested in exploring live music in the area, the website www.rockmendoza.com keeps up to date with news about showings throughout the city.
The Winery Guide The Best Places to Visit
Overall Winery Experience
LUJAN DE CUYO
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. 4200800 www.pulentaestate.com 40 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. Thames and Cochamaba, Perdriel. Tel. 4880704/5 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. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 32, Agrelo. Tel. 4900202 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. 490 9700. www.norton.com.ar 30 min
Renacer This Chilean-owned winery creates the label Punto Final, one of Mendoza’s best value Malbecs. Small, modern operation with tour that includes a hands-on lesson in blending. Brandsen 1863. Tel. 5244416/17. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar
Driving Time from Mendoza City
Decero FABRE MONTAMAYOU Attractive, modern facility with spectacular views of the mountains from the cozy tasting room. Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo. Tel. 524 4748 www.decero.com 40 min
Clos de Chacras Charming boutique operation. A five minute walk from Chacras plaza. Great Merlot and excellent lunches. Monte Libano s/n, Chacras de Coria. Tel. 496 1285. www.closdechacras.com.ar 20 min
Luigi Bosca Old, family owned operation with lots of heritage, handsome cellars and a tasting room. Large selection of wines from lowend to high-end blends. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond. Tel. 4981974 www.luigibosca.com.ar 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. 498 0011 Ext. 27. www.lagarde.com.ar 15 min
Sottano 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 153535506 www.bodegasottano.com 30 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 498 1379. 15 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. 562 8357. www.bodegarucamalen.com
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: 524 3160 www.kaikenwines.com
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. 490 9968. www.bodegaschandon.com.ar
Catena Zapata Showcase winery designed like a Mayan temple overlooking vineyards and the Andes Mountains. Rich, complex wines. Cobos s/n. Tel. 413 1100. www.catenawines.com
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. 498 9200 www.dominiodelplata.com.ar
Melipal Great Malbec and gourmet lunches make Melipal one of the most exclusive wineries to visit. Ruta 7 km 1056, Agrelo. Tel. 524 8040.www.bodegamelipal.com.ar
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. 498 9400. www.carlospulentawines.com
Belasco de Baquedano Gleaming modern facility with fascinating aroma room and restaurant with Andean view. Cobos 8260. Tel. 153 023 491 www.belascomalbec.com 30 min
Cavas de Cano Micro-winery set in a beautiful, colonial building. Lunch is a spectacular buffet with every type of delicacy. Av. San Martin 2488, Luján de Cuyo. Tel 498 7283. www.cavadecano.com 15 min
Achaval Ferrer Makes the highest scoring Argentine wine. Modern boutique close to Mendoza riverbed. Big concentrated wines. Calle Cobos 2601; Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 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 4964684 www.altavistawines.com 15 min
Mendel An old style winery ran by one of Argentina’s most famous winemaker dynasties the De La Motta family. Terrada 1863, Mayor Drummond. Tel. 5241621 www.mendel.com.ar 30 min
Hacienda del Plata A lovely winery in a pastoral setting. It offers one of Mendoza’s most up close and personal tours with the owners themselves offering up tank and barrel tastings. San Martin 4871. Tel. 496-0900. www.haciendadelplata.com.ar 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. 496 0794 www.bodegabenegas.com 20 min
Dolium A completely underground winery with innovative design and top notch Malbecs. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 30 s/n, Agrelo Tel: 4900190 www.dolium.com 30 min
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 Naciona 7 km 1060, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo Tel. 156439564 www.bodegacaelum.com.ar 30 min
VALLE DE UCO
excellent Torrontes and Malbec. Ruta 94 km 21, Vista Flores, Tunuyán. Tel. 4411134 www.bodegalurton.com La Azul Simple, small production winery with not so simple Malbecs. R.P 89 s/n. Agua Amarga. Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 422175 www. bodegalaazul.com 90 min
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) 451010 www.fincalacelia.com.ar 90 min
Clos de los Siete Visit three wineries in one and try rich, complex wines surrounded by state-of-theart architecture and wine-making technology. Calle Clodomiro Silva s/n. Tel. (02622) 422 054. www.clos7.com.ar 90 min
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) 4200782 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.155080261 www.altusdetupungato.com.ar
O. Fournier Most architecturally innovative winery with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent lunches in the modernist visitor center. Their guides are always well-informed and enthusiastic. Los Indios s/n, La Consulta, San Carlos. Tel. 02622/ 451088 www.ofournier.com 100 min
Lurton The wines are faultless and the location stunning. A French operation producing 100 min
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. 4410000 www.familiazuccardi.com 30 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. 4972013 ext.125 www.bodegalarural.com.ar 20 min
Lopez Popular, old-style winery with handsome tasting room close to Maipu plaza. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez. Tel. 4811091 www.bodegaslopez.com.ar 20 min
Andeluna The old-world style tasting room looks upon dramatic views of vineyards against mountains. Have a glass of the cabernet, their best wine. Ruta Provincial 89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 4299299 ext 113 www.andeluna.com 90 min
Aconquija A down-to-earth, family-run affair with good wholesome Malbecs. España 1094, La Consulta, San Carlos. Tel. (02622) 4700379 www.aconquija.com 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) 429500 www.killkasalentein.com
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. 481 3501. www.tempusalba.com
Jean Bousquet Modern, French winery making rich, organic malbecs. Ruta 89 S/N Km 7, Tupungato. Tel. 155 274 048 www.jeanbousquet.com 80 min
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. 4972039 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. Urquiza 8136 - Russell. Tel 5878900 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. 4990470 www.carinaevinos.com 30 min
MAIPU Trapiche Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old and new, traditional and industrial. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito. Tel. 520 7666 www.trapiche. com.ar 30 min
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.
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
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
This Argentine brewery originated from three friends sharing one great idea, “to rescue the true brewing tradition.” They’ve fathered some great artesanal brews. Their beers, Honey, Cream, Barely and Kolsh, sound more like swimsuit models than drink-list items and perhaps justly so, for these frothy sirens are blissfully designed and certainly something to drool over. Arístides Villanueva 153 Tel. 261-423-8327. Everyday 7pm-close.
PH must stand for posh hot-spot because all the trendy chicos know this is the place to see and be seen. With over 50 cocktails, blue-note jazz and a plethora of attractive people this is where many a night starts on busy Aristides. Every Friday PH sells over 150 mojitos. Get in early for a seat! Artistides VillaNueva 282. Tel. 261-425 5858.
Here are our top picks for events in Mendoza over December and January:
2 - 5 Dec
. Godoy Cruz Beer Festival. If you want a break from all the vino, this four day beer festival is your opportunity to try some of Argentina’s harder to find artisan beers, enjoy some local music and munch on a few local specialities. $20 entrance.
. Wine Maker Night, The Vines. One of The Vines’ weekly Wine Maker Night series, this week featuring Renacer. Pop along for a two hour wine tasting and education session to learn more about the bodega and wine making in general. A steal for $30. Look out for Carmello Patti and Monteviejo this Summer!
11 Dec - 26 March
. Mendoarte, various. A three month art festival with exhibitions, live music, dance, food halls and more. More detail on www.wine-republic. com/events
31 Dec. New Year’s
Eve, The Hyatt. A glamorous way to top off the year with a glitzy New Year’s Eve party with live music and a free bar. Around $1000 (TBC) For more information on all of Mendoza’s best events visit www.wine-republic.com/events
dining out mendoza city Anna Bistro
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: $65 pesos
After a stint in Thailand, French-Argentinean owner Emmanuel Smith came to Mendoza with a handful of ingredients and some big ideas. His newly restored restaurant has a relaxed vibe, a beach in the garden and food that boasts the uncommon Argentinean adjective, healthy. The food is a Mendocinan´s version of Thai, not too spicy with tender meats. Special efforts are made 30
to give patrons beautiful plate presentations using garnishes of complementary colours. I had the warm pork salad and the Masa Maan Nua which were unavoidably similar in flavour but both very tasty. For dessert the Crunchy Banana and Mascarpone are delicious! Their in-house sommelier can give you a great suggestion from the 50+ bottle wine list. Keep your eye open for live music and films at the weekends. For an up-to-date review on Wasana’s latest dishes check out www.wine-republic.com/ restaurants. Aristides Villanueva 785 Tel. 261-425 6762. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, Bar 6.30pm-close, Kitchen 8.30pm-1am. Avg. Meal cost: $60 pesos
El Palenque has a rustic charm to it - honest food, honest prices and a great atmosphere. Three friends opened the resto-bar seven years ago as a meeting place to enjoy a penguin of wine (an old-fashioned penguin shaped jug) and simple, homemade food. It serves its renowned empanadas, pizzas and lomos along with some heartier ‘gaucho’ style fayre. Casually decorated with quirky pieces of furniture and pictures, the bustling, intimate restaurant is a great setting to enjoy real Argentine food and a good Malbec from their extensive list. Low key, cosy and fun – this place is clearly doing something right as it usually fills up by 10pm, prompting even the locals to come out early for a table. Aristides Villanueva 287. (261) 154 548 023. Mon 8pm - 2am, Tues - Sun midday 2am. Avg. meal $50 pesos
A hotly anticipated new addition to the growing Plaza Italia food scene, Florentino will be one to check out when it opens later this month (December). Visit www.winerepublic.com/restaurants for a review of the new gourmet restaurant opened by former Mallman chef Sebastian Flores. Montevideo 675. (261) 464 9077. 6pm - 12am.
Located in the elegant Park Hyatt Mendoza, Grill Q serves up traditional regional cuisine at a Five-Star level. Wood floors and cowhides combine with expansive windows and sky-lights to create a welcoming, modern atmosphere. The restaurant aims to provide visitors with an authentic Argentinian dining experience. Key features, include the original artworks of Mendocina painter, Laura Rudman, and a “parilla a la vista” grill that allows patrons to view the chef at work. They´re famous for their grilled meats and vast selection of regional wines. Other exceptional options include traditional favorites such as locro, a classic stew that hails from Argentina´s “Independence Days.” Personally, I would suggest coming with a friend and ordering the “Parilla for two” with a pairing of Trumpeter Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Conclude your meal savoring a quince and cheese terrine, this establishment´s gourmet take on a unique regional desert. Chile 1124. Tel. (261) 441 1225. Wed - Sat 12:30pm 3:30pm, 8:30pm - 12am Sunday 12.30pm - 3.30pm. Executive Lunches are offered Wed - Fri and include your choice of main course, glass of wine, and your choice of a desert or starter, $75. Sunday brunch for $95. Avg. meal cost: $90 pesos.
As the oldest Italian restaurant in Mendoza, La Marchigiana has alot of history and perfected pasta sauces. Somewhat of an institution in Mendoza, this big pasta house is home to great ravioli, delectable fish dishes and its greatest treasure: nonna Maria Teresa. Now in her mid 70s Maria Teresa has been making pasta since she was a toddler and after many years of experience she and her restaurant have it down to a fine art. Downtown: Patricias Mendocinas 1550. (261)4230751 firstname.lastname@example.org or Marchigiana Palmares: Ruta Panamericana 3200. (261) 4391961 lamarchipalmares@ marchigiana.com.ar. Avg. meal cost: $75 pesos
This charming café, set in front of leafy Plaza Italia, offers more than just good coffee. With its funky regal design, it is rich in quirky art and a pleasing place to sit for a coffee, light lunch or cheeky glass of wine in the afternoon. Three sisters converted their 1920 family home into a friendly cafe and kitch Argentinian design shop where you can buy anything from artisan matès and jewellry, to art work, antique decanters and even designer marigolds! Regulars come for their tasty homemade tarts, pastries, Italian coffee, stash of glossy magazines and free WiFi. Find yourself a nook or cranny in one of the many rooms and enjoy their hearty parma ham, tomato and melted cheese sandwich with a glass of Malbec, followed by a cooling frappuccino and chocolate brownie (or a juice, salad and tea for those eating light). The courtyard is a perfect suntrap, while in the front you can sit back on the deck looking over the plaza. Opened in 2010, this unique, family-run addition is a real gem in Mendoza’s cafe scene.San Lorenzo 656, Tel: (261) 423 9677, Mon – Sat 8am – 9.30pm. Avg. meal cost $25.
Best friends Gustavo and Charlie have realized their dream of opening a restaurant together with this hip eatery on Aristides Villanueva. They pride themselves on being the only restaurant on Aristides Avenue with traditional Argentine bbq asado. Although this rustic style
restaurant specializes in beef, its menu also includes salads, sandwiches,pizzas and a unique selection of papas fritas (French fries). Everything is freshly cooked so prepare to have a bit of patience. There is a good wine list and outdoor seating on the lively sidewalk. The lounge in the back is filled with antique furniture and perfect for chatting over a drink. The plates are big, the wait staff is friendly, and the location is central to the best nightlife. *Look for their coupon inside the magazine! Aristides Villanueva 495. Tel: (261) 425 0420. Everyday, 11am - 3am. Avg. meal cost: $45 pesos
outside city center aguamiel
Aguamiel is the sort of place you can really get away from everything and relax. Created by husband and wife architects Gustavo and Leticia, the small, peaceful oasis of european-style wooden cabins set amongst a vineyard overlooking the Andes is quite an unusual place to dine. But the exclusive hotel restaurant is steadily gaining a name for itself with its seasonal, simple and salubrious gourmet cuisine. With only five tables, Aguamiel is intimate, service is impecable and chef Pablo Sigoy makes every plate picture perfect. Dishes are fresh, light and carefully balanced: roasted mango with rocket and mint is refreshingly juicy and peppery, crisp filo coils filled with goats cheese and spinach served with griddled asparagus and a sweet marmalade sauce is a delightful combination of textures and flavours. And their succulent steak is one of the best cuts in Argentina. All accompanied by Malbec grown from their own vineyard, tasteful artwork and the sound of gentle music and wind rustling through the olive groves. An idyllic spot for a cosy lunch or dinner, and a secret worth keeping. Calle Anchorena s/n, corner of Calle IV, Maipu. Tel: (261) 497 5788, 15 362 4486, email@example.com, Mon - Sun,
12pm till late (also early dinner). Avg. meal cost: $220 (4 courses and wine).
Terruño-Club Tapiz Resort
Tucked away among the sprawling Maipu vineyards lies Club Tapiz Resort and its lovely restaurant Terruño. 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: $130 pesos
Casa de Campo
For rustic charm and traditional dishes visit Casa de Campo; A 15-minute taxi ride from Mendoza city center. Think welcoming casa with wooden beams, intimate tables and a small but lively verandah. Locals flock for the mouthwatering Argentine fare. Appetizers come in a taster’s collection of home-made goodies, from bread, prosciuttio and olive oil to sausage, pickled eggplant, cheeses and olives. Save some room for their clay oven specialties of succulent rabbit and suckling pig. “Grandma´s Menu,” the dish of the day, is made from inseason, locally grown produce. Complement this with a bottle from their extensive wine list and the result is a flavor combination of gourmet quality. A picturesque stroll to Rutini La Rural bodega, just ten minutes away, is a wonderful way to conclude the afternoon. Urquiza 1516, Coquimbito, Maipu. Tel: (261) 481 1605. casadecampomza.com. Everyday 12pm - 6pm.
Police, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Dial 911 Bus Terminal Tel: 431-3001 Av. de Acceso Este and Costanera. Bus Routes: Maipu, Linea 10 N° 171, 172, 173, Rioja street and Garibaldi. Chacras, N° 115 or 116, 25 de Mayo and Montevideo. Airport Tel: 5206000 Accesso Norte s/n. El Plumerillo. Shipping Wine Ordinary post will not ship wine and a courier can cost at least U$ 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