Nยบ63 AUG- SEP 2013
Wine Republic Blind Tasting 2013 Wine & Winery Guide The List 2013 w w w. i s s u u . c o m / w i n e r e p u b l i c w w w. w i n e - r e p u b l i c . c o m
Alberto Antonini. Luxurious accommodations, regional gourmet
USA: +1.305.468.4631 MAIL: email@example.com 3
Fake reviews on Tripadvisor...........................................................6 Boutique Crisis.................................................................................6 The Horse in the Lake...................................................................6 House Wine.......................................................................................6
The List 2013....................................................................................8 Let it Snow! A Ski Guide to Mendoza..........................................16 Moving Statues..............................................................................18 Rugby Rolls into Town...................................................................27
Out & About
Wine Republic Blind Tasting 2013..................................................8 Winery in Focus: Mundo Rolland....................................................28 Winery in Focus: Finca Agostino....................................................30
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information..........................................................................32 Map of Maipu and Chacras de Coria.........................................32 Map of Mendoza City Center......................................................34
CREDITS Issue August - September 2013 | 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 Publicity and Publisher: Mariana Gómez Rus: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Design: Design | Lab · María Laura Gómez · email@example.com Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION Contributing Authors: Amanda Barnes, Charlie O’Malley Illustrations: Donough O’Malley, www.pencilrobot.net Contributing photographers: Amanda Barnes, Timarie Chan, Emily Seitz, Federico Garcia Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic. www.wine-republic.com
news REPUBLIC Fake reviews on Tripadvisor
Hoteliers and restaurateurs are always griping about false reviews on the influential travel site Tripadvisor.com. Bad comments it seems are being placed by competitors and it is hard to prove what is true and what is being made up. Recently however a well known boutique hotel caught a fake reviewer red handed. 1555 Malabia House was reviewed by StaceyM138 from Lake Los Angeles who claimed to stay there in March 2013. The title of the note is “From the outside looks great… but falls apart from the inside” and what follows is a malicious, often obnoxious critique ridiculing the hotel staff’s bad English and laissez faire attitude towards hygiene and noise. The owner responded immediately giving a list of reasons why he thinks the review is fake, the most devastating of which is the fact the hotel actually closed its doors in January 2013.
1555 Malabia House is not the only boutique hotel to have closed its doors in Buenos Aires recently. In fact ten upscale lodgings have closed in the past year, including Soho Suites, Craft and Casa Alfaro. This marks the end to what was a 10-year boom in boutique hotels in the capital, mostly in Palermo but also San Telmo and Montserrat. It was a trend that shifted the tourist experience away from the big conventional hotels in the chaotic microcenter and added a more relaxed, salubrious element to what can be an intense urban experience in the Tangolopolis. Runaway costs, soaring wages and a drop in foreign visitors are all cited as reasons for the contraction. Another reason is the proliferation of short term apartment rentals that undercut the hotels. The 100 boutique hotels that operate in Buenos Aires have to compete with some 17,000 apartments - most of them unregistered. Their unregulated status means they pay
By Charlie O’Malley
no taxes and with little staff can offer better prices to the hotels which charge up to $300 US per room - a price too high in these recessionary times.
The Horse in the Lake
Anybody who lives in Mendoza will know that the huge San Martin Park to the west is a common dumping ground for unwanted pets. Go for a run in the park every day and you will eventually be followed home by a forlorn waif of a pup looking for a family to take it in. Now that the local authorities have decided to clean out the park’s lake - a 1km long sliver of water next to the regatta, for the first time in 28 years, they have discovered that the locals have also been abandoning aquatic pets such as turtles and fish, of which the cleaners have been doing their best to rescue. Some animals have fared better than others but none better than the carp that have been left to their own devices and grown obese on the lake’s rich waters. One rather large specimen found flapping in the lake mud was a whopping 28 kilos. Besides marine life and thousands of tons of mud, the lake has thrown up some surprises such as an ornate fairground horse and an office fan.
Getting a foreign bottle of wine in Mendoza is about as difficult as getting an iPad. That was until this writer found himself one day perusing through the department store Falabella and was shocked to see bottles of Chilean wine perched amongst the lamps and plates and other household gear. Falabella do not have a wine section but they do have lots of bottles of Casa de Bosque Carmenere, an excellent red made by New Zealand wine maker Grant Phelps in the Casablanca Valley. How this got through the beady eyed import restrictions I won´t ask, just drink it and be thankful.
Wine Week: 2 - 10 August & 24 - 31 August, El Portillo
Just the other side of the Argentine border in The Andes you can get your ski on at El Portillo ski resort in Chile and drink a bunch of wine at altitude… Two wine themed weeks rock the slopes with vino and music and you can solve your hangover in the morning with some brisk mountain air and powder. If the Chilean side is booked out you can also stay in accomodation in Penitentes. www. skiportillo.com
Premium Tasting: 14 & 15 August, Intercontinental Hotel
A two day premium wine tasting extravaganza with talks, workshops and tastings looking at the Argentine wines that have scored the highest points by Robert Parker and Stephen Tanzer (91+) . Wines from both sides of the Andes take part and this is a top educational experience for any wine lover or wine worker in Mendoza. Reserve tickets now. www.premiumtasting.com.ar
Tango on the wine routes: September (dates TBC)
This two week long festival celebrates two of the best things to come out of Argentina: tango and wine! Visit different wineries around the region to hear some live tango music by musicians from across the country often accompanied by dancers, and of course a nice glass of Malbec. One of the musical wine highlights of Mendoza. www.cultura.mendoza.gov.ar
The Rugby Championship: 25 August Mendoza, 29 September La Plata, 6 October Rosario
As The Rugby Championship (see page 27) comes into town, you can see international matches with New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa against Argentina in Mendoza, La Plata (Buenos Aires) and Rosario. Get your tickets well in advance. 6
Wine Republic Blind Tasting 2013 By Amanda Barnes Illustrations by Donough O’Malley · www.pencilrobot.net Photos by Federico Garcia
On celebrating 10 years of the magazine, Wine Republic may still be underage in most - ok… all - countries but we wanted to celebrate in style: with plenty of great wines and a professional wine tasting with an esteemed panel. As the third Wine Republic Tasting (on 11 July 2013) we pulled together a fab lineup of seven wine experts to taste almost 70 wines in a blind tasting and give them a score according to their quality and how representative they are of the best and most interesting Argentine wines. All the wines selected by us are some of our favourites that we’ve tasted over recent years (so we knew they were all good!) but we wanted to put them to a professional blind tasting and share the results with you so you can see from an objective view some of Argentina’s top wines. Salud!
Prices when mentioned are in Argentine pesos.
What is a blind tasting?
Although it would certainly be more fun to watch with the judges in blindfolds, a blind tasting is a wine tasting where wine is served in identical glasses and judges only know the bare minimum information about the wine: the variety, origin, year and in some cases a price guide. Tasting all the different wines individually, wine tasters can objectively appraise them without any prejudice or pre-formed opinions about the wineries involved, as they don’t know whose wines they are. Scoring wines on their appearance, aromas, taste and overall performance out of 100, we added all the judges scores together to make an average which is where the final score came from. Although many wine tastings charge wineries extortionate amounts to participate, we make it our firm policy to have free entrance to wines so wineries of all sizes can participate and we can guarantee you that these were all tasted completely blind and with no back-handers.
You can’t just be any old wine-lover to taste almost 70 wines in three hours. Our judges all have extensive tasting experience and are the crème de la crème of the Argentine wine world!
Roberto de la Mota
One of the great dons of Argentine wine. Roberto de la Mota has been making wine since he was 19 years old. Following in his father’s footsteps he has worked for many well known wineries in Argentina - and is still a sought-after consultant - as well as making his own wines under Mendel. A legend in Argentina.
Although her name might not ring a bell for all, Gabriela has a huge influence on many of the wines made in Argentina today. As Michel Rolland’s partner in EnoRolland, she consults to numerous wineries around the country and has wide experience with different varieties and regions. As the saying goes, ´behind every good man, there is a good woman´!
This handsome sommelier is one of Mendoza’s best. Having started his own sommelier teaching and services with his, equally handsome, brother Luis a few years ago, the Manteginis teach, taste and judge across the region. As well as knowing Argentine wine well, Martin has extensive experience in Chile and teaches wine internationally in Spanish and English.
A kiwi in Mendoza. Duncan Killiner is a flying winemaker who spends his time quaffing vino and making it all around Argentina, Chile and Uruguay for different wineries as well as his own labels: Manos Negras and Jelu. He has an impressive portfolio of harvests in the Americas, New Zealand, Europe and also Israel. With a strong background in tasting, Duncan has a formidable palate and energy.
Of ´pura cepa´, Mendocinean Cristina Pandolfi may not be making wine but she whips most winemakers inline through her important position as Head of Statistics and Technical Subjects in the country’s National Wine Institute (INV). With an objective view and an admirable approach to tasting, Cristina has been a valued member of our panel since our first tasting in 2010.
Making wines in Argentina, Chile and Spain, winemaker Jose Spisso has a wealth of cross-continental experience. As the head winemaker at O Fournier in the Uco Valley, as well as O Fournier wineries in Chile and Spain, he knows what goes into making a good wine and the beautiful celebrated differences between varieties and regions.
One of Mendoza’s most loved wine journos, Jose Bahamonde says it as it is. With a radio programme that incorporates wine and music, In Vino Veritas, Jose has a wealth of experience in tasting and communicating about Argentine wine. A friendly character on the wine scene, you can follow his wine journeys on @elJosedelaGente
You can’t just open 70 bottles of wine and put them on a table. In a professional tasting wines need to be checked for spoilage, need to be served at the right temperature and in some cases (our 10 year Malbecs) they need to be decanted. All this was left to trusty Sommelier Myfanwy Turner. Graduated last year from Escuela Argentina de Sommelier, this half-Welsh-half-Argentine has been working in wine for six years and runs Mendoza Wine Camp.
the Wines! Uco and Lujan Sauvignon Blancs
With fresh winds and vineyards at altitude, the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyo is the ideal place to make great Sauvignon Blanc. Here are some of the most exemplary Sauvignon Blancs in the region: Doña Paula Estate, 2013. $75. 91 points Coming from the sustainable social-project friendly Doña Paula winery, this beautiful Sauvignon Blanc has tropical fruits, herbs and a fabulous typicity for the varietal. The top scorer in the group. Pulenta Estate, 2012. $90. 87 points One of our favourite wineries, Pulenta Estate make some excellent vinos and their Sauvignon Blanc is a reference point for the variety in Argentina. Fresh, herbal and perfect for Summer. Montesco, Agua de Roca 2012. $110. 87 points. Made by renowned winemaker Matias Michilini, his personal project focuses on wines of single vineyards and this wine couldn´t be more mineral driven and terroir focused. A wild Sauvignon Blanc that doesn’t play by the rules. Mariflor, Bodega Rolland. $120. 89 points. A complex and concentrated Sauvignon Blanc that has some real power to it, you wouldn’t expect anything less from Michel Rolland’s personal wine project in Vista Flores at the foot of the Andes mountains.
It used to be that you could only get decent Torrontes from up north, but that certainly isn’t the case anymore! Torrontes has spread like wildfire and it is being made all over the land. Called ‘the liar’ by locals for its floral, sweet nose that tricks you into surprise at its dry and sometimes bitter mouth. We picked some Torrontes that don’t lie and instead show their true and unique terroir. Gimenez Riili, Perpertumm 2012. $59. 88 points. Coming from the delightful Gimenez Riili brothers, this Torrontes is made in the desert-scape of La Rioja. With the long hot days and cool, cool nights it has the floral nose you’d expect but also a delicate touch. Merced del Estero, Mil Vientos 2012. $65. 87 points San Juan certainly is the land of a hundred winds, and this wine reflects that wild landscape and performs as a delightful tipple. Intense and floral with a great volume in mouth and a long finish. Tukma, Gran Torrontes 2011. $95. 86 points. Cafayate is certainly the home of Torrontes in many ways, but that doesn’t mean all wineries do the same. Tukma is a Torrontes with six months in oak, unusual for the variety but with a pleasing result of intensity and buttery volume.
New World Chardonnay got a bad rap for being too oaky, but we wanted to show you some oaked Chardonnays that are nothing short of fabulous. You will find great unoaked Chardonnays here too, but when you want to spend a little more and try something with more meat - this is where to go!
Cobos, Bramare 2011. $179. 90 points. Paul Hobbs is a big name in the wine business and so it is no surprise that his Chardonnay from his own winery in Lujan is big business too. A bit of honey, some fresh fruit and a great balance - this is a smashing wine. Walter Bressia, Lagrima de Canela 2010. $220. 87 points. Coming from one of the great Mendocinean winemakers, Walter Bressia, this wine’s name (Cinnamon Tear) is as poetic as the flavour. With a touch of Semillon and barrel fermentation it has a hint of spice and lashings of cream. Catena Zapata, White Stone 2009. $500. 89 points. Catena Zapata have been the pioneers of premium Chardonnay in Argentina and their brand new icon Chardonnay is a true testimony to their skill and a delicious delight to drink. Focusing on two different terroirs you can try their White Bones or White Stones and both will send shivers down your spine.
Argentina makes fantastic sparkling wine. There is no doubt about that. But we wanted to show you some wineries pushing the boat out a little and creating unique sparklers from red grape bases. There’s always an excuse to open a bottle of bubbly! Casa Margot, Blanc de Noir. $110. 88 points. With half the wine coming from Syrah (and the other half Chardonnay), this is an unusual Blanc de Noir. A lovely colour and a long finish, this is best served at Casa Margot’s gorgeous restaurant and boutique hotel in a refurbished artist’s house in Chacras. Cruzat, Cuvee Reserve Rose. $120. 88 points. One of our favourite sparkling wine makers in Argentina, Pedro Rosell is the sparkle in Argentina’s bubbly crown. Cruzat is a smaller sparkling wine project that focuses on Champagnoise method wines and his Pinot Noir based sparkling rose is sure to get any romantic night started - or finished - right. Navarro Correas, Brut Malbec rosé. $50. 88 points. In Argentina, you can’t not make a sparkling Malbec rosé and this modern winery has admirably risen to the challenge. Delivering a fun rosé that wins points for its simplicity, red fruit aromas and great price point. Zuccardi, Alma 4, Bonarda. $120. 87 points. As an oenology student, Sebastian Zuccardi simply wouldn’t accept the answer from his teacher that you just can’t make a sparkling red wine. So he set out to prove him wrong. And boy has he done it! This sparkling bonarda is a party fave in Argentina to bring something different to the table. Definitely daring and definitely unusual - gotta to love anyone proving their teacher wrong!
Under $50 Reds
A couple of years ago this category would have been flooded with entries, but sadly with the rising costs in Argentina you can’t get too many great wines for less than $50. So a whooping round of applause to these wineries and winemakers who keep true to their fans and give you a good mid-week wine that won’t break the bank. Casa La Primavera, Bonarda. $30. 86 points. You simply can’t go wrong with this: a fruity bonarda with a great roundness and a dry finish… all for less than 5 bucks!
but family winery Cecchin earn extra kudos for their cool Carignan. Complex fruit and a little bit smoky, they do this Spanish grape justice.
Cuarto Surco, Familia Tipo Malbec. $32. 87 points. Out in the sticks of La Consulta, in the Uco Valley, this family winery makes some great wines at a low price point. Expressive, aromatic and very Malbec! Calatayud, Malbec 2012. $38. 86 points. Made by gaucho brothers who own some of the most beautiful land in Vista Flores. True to their roots, this wine is simply made with great fruit - and you can taste it!
Zuccardi, Textual, Ancellota. $60. 90 points. We have nothing but love for a winery that puts so much effort into experimentation and Zuccardi would certainly be it. Their efforts with Ancellotta, an Italian grape, are nothing short of praise-worthy and this sexy, tobacco-laden red is a corker! Zuccardi, Textual, Caladoc. $60. 87 points. In his experimentation lab, you’ll find Sebastian Zuccardi and his team of winemakers working with a dozen of different varieties and only the best end up in the Textual line. One of them is Caladoc - a dense wine which comes from a cross between Grenache Noir and… yes, Malbec!
Off the Map Terroirs
Bodegas Salentein, Killka Malbec. $49. 87 points. Just squeezing into the category is this pleasing wine from the Dutch winery in Uco Valley. A well made Malbec affirming their solid reputation. Also a fantastic winery to visit with their own art gallery and chapel!
When you think of Argentina, you think Malbec. But that doesn’t need to be the case anymore. There are some unusual and splendid varieties coming out of the country and here are some of the wineries and wines that are leading the band: Las Perdices, Albariño 2012. $85. 92 points. Mainly grown in Galicia Spain, this white variety has delicious aromas of peach and apricot. This wine was one of the favourites of the judges and a great example of how pushing the boat out can really pay off! Cecchin, Graciana 2008. $60. 85 points. Coming from one of the original organic wineries in Argentina, this humble project has great authenticity and character and their investigation into different varieties proves it. Floral, juicy, and fresh tannins. Cecchin, Carignan 2008. $60. 86 points. Making organic wine in the vineyard and winery is admirable enough, 12
Although buying Argentine wines from abroad you won’t often see wines from beyond Mendoza, while in Argentina you can find some really off the map terroirs producing interesting wines and some different varieties. Here’s a look at some of the lesser-known wine regions in the country. Noble de San Javier, Malbec 2010. Cordoba. $80. 88 points. Although famous for its Fernet, Cordoba actually makes decent wine too! This jammy Malbec comes from a traditional-style winery and has a bit of umph after 12 months in oak. Piedra Parada, Merlot 2008. Chubut. $95. 91 points. Coming from the Weinert crew but made in the deep south of Chubut, this wine is called stalled stone… and with its weighty minerality it makes perfect sense. An interesting wine that will send oenophiles crazy! Finca Don Diego, Syrah Castaño 2008. Catamarca. $130. 87 points. Catamarca is well known for its olive oil and its altiplano which stretches up to Bolivia, but you don’t get the chance to try many red wines from there. This Syrah is an exception: meaty, herbal and interesting.
Argentina is pretty blessed with its sunny, dry climate. There is little risk of rot and infection so growing organic grapes is fairly easy, although sadly there aren’t as many wineries doing organic wines as there should be! Here are four producers that really do put the extra effort in keeping their vineyards green and making wine from organic grapes.
Caligiore, 4 Vacas Gordas, Malbec - Cabernet blend 2011. $40. 86 points. With certified organic vineyards in Lujan de Cuyo and Ugarteche this project makes good Malbec and as well as being organic and only $40, the wine has a brilliant label with 4 fat cows chewing the cud. Judges didn’t see the label and they still gave it 86 points. Cecchin, Malbec Reserva 2007, $90. 85 points. As the owner Alberto points out, all vineyards and agriculture used to be organic. So when he took over his family vineyard he just never changed that. Cecchin has been, and always will be, an organic grassroots winery. They are also probably the first winery to do a sulphite free Malbec too! Chacra, Manique Merlot, 2011, $180. 87 points. A very cool project making wines from gnarly old vines in Patagonia, Chacra make biodynamic and organic wines and this Merlot is stunning. Elegant, subtle and with lots of fruit, this is a gorgeous wine which proves that Merlot is completely underrated in Argentina. Ojo de Vino, Puro Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011. $82. 86 points. Taken from organic vineyards in Agrelo, this Cabernet Sauvignon has lots of mature fruit and a long finish. Owned by a Swiss wine lover, Dieter Meier, the winery will soon be opening a grassroots tourism circuit in their organic vineyards.
Bonarda has long been the wine on everyone’s lips. Once it was the most planted variety in Argentina, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it. This workhorse red wine is prevalent in many blends but in recent years some winemakers have been unlocking Bonarda’s potential as a single variety wine. Passionate Wine, Ineditos, 2012. $75. 85 points. Passionate Wine is renowned winemaker Matias Michelini’s playful wine project where he makes wines for fun, for experimentation and for himself. It just so happens that lots of others like them too! This unique Bonarda is fermented with whole grape bunches and results in a fresh, fruity and characterful wine. Caligliori, Bonarda 2012. $60. 88 points. Full of fruit, well balanced and smooth drinking - this is the simplicity of Bonarda that enchants its drinkers. A great score from the judges for this easy going wine. Nieto Senetiner, Cadus 2010. $300. 87 points. As one of the first wineries to really focus on an icon level Bonarda, Nieto Senetiner is still at the top of its game. A complex wine with intense aromas and a long finish, this is one to mull over and deserves a bit of decanting. El Enemigo, Bonarda 2009. $180. 87 points. Made by Catena winemakers Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena, this is their project where they go a little bit wild and make wines that are to love or hate. With 10% Cabernet Franc in the mix, this wine won’t make many enemies.
This is - in my opinion - one of the most exciting categories. A pick of some of the most interesting independent vintners and small bodegas doing their thing with their own wine labels. Maximum personality expected!
Chacra 55, Pinot Noir 2011. $330. 91 points. A South African with Danish heritage making wine in Patagonia, this is bound to be different to your usual wine here, and it is. With an incredible minerality that makes you feel like you are licking a wet stone, this is a delicate and beautiful wine that has elevated Chacra to cult status. Marcelo Miras, Merlot 2011, $140. 86 points This Mendocinean winemaker has been making wines in Patagonia for more than a decade and his own personal project is an expression of what he loves about making wine in the South. Originally making them just for family and friends he now sells them commercially too and also has a delicious Pinot Noir. Matias Riccitelli, Malbec Vineyard Selection 2011, $165. 90 points. This young winemaker heads up Fabre Montmayou but he also makes some fab wines under his eponymous label. One of the most promising, young winemakers, this is his blend of three Malbecs from different vineyards - a structured and handsome wine. Cepas Elegidas, Suono (Malbec - Cabernet) 2009. $140. 89 points. A bit of a wild child, Brennan Firth is your authentic creative winemaker. After doing harvest in the US and Argentina, he jumped into the deep end at 25 years old and started making his own wine with playful blends. Now 29 and in his fourth harvest for his label, he still never makes one wine the same as another but an elegance and individuality is characteristic in them all. Marcelo Pelleriti, Terroir Blend Malbec 2009, $270. 90 points. One of Argentina’s most loved winemakers, Marcelo Pelleritti makes wine all over the country but this is his own baby. Making racy and dark wines, these are designed to be enjoyed with good friends and some serious rock and roll. Check out his app for music and wine pairings and let the guitar strings hum and the wine flow! Pablo Montarrel, Tierra de Dios Malbec 2008, $400. 91 points. Pablo makes wines for The Vines of Mendoza as well as the lovely wines of Gimenez Riili. This is his first wine under his own name and is made in very limited quantities. 36 months in oak but you wouldn’t tell because of its beautiful fruit and elegance. A lightly spoken winemaker who lets his wines do the talking. Antucura, Grand Vin (Cab Sauv, Merlot and Malbec) 2007, $170. 90 points. This beautiful boutique winery has their very own unique style. Concentrating on Merlot they take the rich Vista Flores fruit and turn it into a complex wine that leads its own path in style, quite unlike most of its Uco neighbours. French owners, French winemakers and certainly a bit of je ne sais quoi.
Cabernet Sauvignon used to be the King of grapes in Argentina, and although Malbec pushed it off its throne a decade ago, there are still some good Cabs to be found and often at very good prices. Here are a few of our favourite mid to top range Cabernet Sauvignons. Casarena, Rama Negra Reserve, 2011, $80. 88 points. Alejandro Sejanovich is the consultant winemaker for this fairly new 13
project in Lujan de Cuyo where Mendoza’s top Asian chef, Chef Mun, resides. This sweet and spicy Cab is perfect for pairing with flavourful dishes. Clos de Chacras, Eredita, 2009. $95. 89 points. This new release Cabernet Sauvignon has just come onto the market and is showcasing the beautiful boutique winery’s bold, structured red winemaking talent. Coming from the Uco Valley, this is intense and juicy. Ruca Malen, Kinien 2008. $200. 88 points. Named after the legend of a Mapuche woman who fell in love with a God on Aconcagua, this Cabernet has a romantic storyline to it and the juicy dark fruits and smoky bacon will help you wax lyrical for sure.
It’s not a secret anymore: Argentina is producing some stunning Cabernet Francs that really give all the other red varieties a good run for their money. Don’t miss out on trying this variety here, these are some of the top ones in the country. Durigutti, Cabernet Franc 2011. $155. 88 points. A family run winery in Lujan de Cuyo this is a good example of Cabernet Franc as a single variety with an intense nose of fruit and spice with a long finish and good structure after over a year’s oak aging. Pulenta Estate, Gran Cabernet Franc, $230. 88 points. Pulenta has long been the winery to watch for their Cab Franc. As one of the first to make it an icon wine, they are still on top of their game with their bell pepper and mature fruit version. Delicious and always a favourite of visitors in Mendoza. Riglos, Gran Cabernet Franc, $195. 88 points. A group of wine specialists wanted to make a project focusing on ultra premium wines in Argentina, and Riglos is it. With specialists from all over the field, this is their Cabernet Franc offering from Gualtallary. Andeluna, Pasionado Cabernet Franc, $395. 91 points. Coming from the owner of Lays, Andeluna certainly have the funds to concentrate on top premium wines and their intense and rich Cabernet Franc is a child of that expertise, at no cost spared. Simply fantastic.
Most certainly the jewel in Argentina’s wine crown, you can’t go wrong with a good Malbec. And these Malbecs are the icons of the winery - the crème de la crème. All of them deserve good company and a couple hours of decanting. Luigi Bosca, Los Nobles 2010. $480. 89 points. Taken from their stunning Los Nobles vineyard which looks upon Tupungato volcano in the distance, this top quality Malbec is rich, intense and with gorgeous fruit. A well renowned winery with a long history of DOC status Malbecs. This is their iconic Malbec with just a smidgen of Petit Verdot in the mix. Renacer, Renacer Malbec 2010. $240. 90 points. A Chilean family wanted to make the best wines they could this side of the Andes and Renacer (meaning ‘rebirth’ in English) was their Argentine reincarnation. This is their top wine and the Malbec from Lujan de Cuyo and Uco Valley comes together in a very good value icon wine.
Serrera, Gran Guarda Malbec 2008. $190. 91 points. A smaller winery that make honest and simple wines, this is their top line and the rich concentration and well balanced nature make it fantastic value for an icon wine for less than $200. Top marks all round! Tapiz, Black Tears 2008. $350. 91 points. There’s no reason to cry over this wine, apart from with joy. This wonderfully concentrated 100% Malbec is the top wine from Tapiz and the wine is one of the attractions to the winery but also the olive oil factory, restaurant and the beautiful Roggerone murial make it a good visit. Altos Las Hormigas, Single Vineyard Vista Flores 2007. $500. 90 points. This unique project with experts from Italy, Chile and Argentina has been doing some serious terroir investigation over the last few years. This single vineyard Malbec is the result of some hard work and impressive soil profiling, and it is a delicious result.
Blending varieties can add another dimension to wines and these wineries chose to make their icon status wines blends. We’ve picked some of our favourite blends that show something a little different and use less common varieties as well as Malbec. Domaine St Diego, 9 Lunas 2010. $150. 90 points. Winemaker Angel Mendoza is one of Mendoza’s best loved characters in wine: a warm, charismatic winemaker who makes you feel at home on visiting his small winery in Lunlunta. This is a romantic blend made under 9 harvest moons and with Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mendel, Unus 2010. $200. 92 points. Roberto de la Mota is the head of this historical, boutique winery and this blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot is a gorgeous example of their intense and balanced wines. An excellent wine guaranteed. **
El Esteco, Altimus 2010. $360. 91 points. Coming from the high altitudes of Salta, this winery makes their icon blend a complex and beautiful mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Bonarda, Tannat and Syrah. Multi-layered and interesting with the trademark inky dark colours of Salta.
Ruca Malen, Malbec 2003. 92 points. With one year in oak, this Malbec showed more evolved fruit expressions as well as all things cinnamon and spice with cigar box depth. Ruca Malen is an attractive winery on the wine route in Lujan and you can try some of their older vintages during their delicious wine paired lunch.
NQN, Malma Universo 2009, $160. 90 points. Coming from the deep south of Argentina in Patagonia, this smaller winery makes altogether different wines in style: feminine, delicate and more floral. Their icon blend is Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and a lovely tipple ready to drink now.
Dolium, Gran Reserva Malbec. 2003. 89 points. Red fruits, vanilla and a silky texture, Dolium’s Malbec has gained fans both sides of the Atlantic. This winery is in Agrelo, coined the home of Malbec, and you’ll find one of the first subterranean wineries in the Americas designed by the founder, an Italian engineer called Mario. His son Ricardo now runs the winery and you can visit most days.
El Enemigo, El Gran Enemigo 2009. $360. 91 points. This icon wine from the alternative Catena duo is a brilliant rule breaker for a showcase wine: Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and just a splash of Malbec. Juicy, intense and with some violet floral notes, this wine proved very popular among some judges who gave it their highest score of the night. Carinae, Prestige 2007. $300. 90 points. Made by French retirees who refurbished an old winery in Maipu to start a new life in winemaking and enjoying the good life, Philippe and Bridgitte make some lovely wines with a unique style of their own including this icon level blend with Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. O Fournier, Alfa Crux 2006. $300. 92 points. This stunning Spanish owned winery in the extremities of Uco Valley makes a fantastic Tempranillo and their icon blend (with 25% Malbec) is an ode to their commitment to the Spanish variety and doing something a bit different to everyone else. Spicy, complex and a long finish. **
10 Year Malbecs
This year to celebrate our ten-year anniversary of the magazine we put together a very special category: 10-year-old Malbecs from 2003. We’d like to especially thank the wineries that participated in this category. Not only is it brave and courageous to put your icon wines on the line to see how they’ve developed over 10 years (and some of them were their first harvests) but also these wines are priceless - there are few in the market and even less in the wineries cellars. It was a real pleasure to see how well Malbec stands up to the years and a great accolade to all of these producers that their wines looked and tasted so good after a decade.
Altavista, Alto 2003. 92 points With a little bit of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, this Malbec really stood up to the test of time with great structure and depth. Altavista is the brainchild of French investors who wanted to make Old World wines in the New World and, as you can see, they are certainly doing it right. Visit the winery for tastings and picnics in the park! Monteviejo, Lindaflor Malbec 2003. 94 points. When a judge writes ‘WOW’ on their tasting notes, you know this is a pretty impressive wine. This Malbec swept the board with the highest scores of the evening. Only their second harvest, this is very accomplished with great concentration but also the trademark floral notes of Vista Flores. Part of the Clos de 7 project, Monteviejo is headed up by winemaker Marcelo Pelleriti and owned by a French wine dynasty. Catena Zapata, Angelica Zapata 2003. 92 points. As one of the first wineries to focus on high quality Malbecs, Catena Zapata is wine royalty in Argentina and remains so with their exceptionally high quality wines. This Angelica Zapata is great proof of their long track history of making wines that will leave a legacy. Long live Argentine Malbec!
** In the case of wines included in the tasting made by one of the judging panel, the relevant judge’s score was removed from the average to leave the final score.
Let it snow let it snow let it snow! By Amanda Barnes
There’s one thing every ski bunny will be praying for this winter: snow. After a couple of dry years Mendoza is in need of a good sprinkling of powder in the Andes, and these are the months for it. Whether you are an international playboy with a penchant for skiing, or a penny pinching backpacker who’d like to learn, Argentina’s ski resorts have something for everyone.
Close to Mendoza: Vallecitos
This is where Mendocino ski history began. It is the province’s oldest ski centre, nestled into the stunning Cordon de Plata mountain range at an altitude of 2,900m (rising to 3,200 for the highest run). 80km south west of Mendoza City and just 16km past Potrerillos, it is perfect for day trips or one night stays. The resort has a total of 12 runs, 20% for beginners, 60% for intermediates and 20% for the advanced, making for about 88 hectares of skiable ground (when there is enough snow). Apart from the marked trails there are a number of out-of-bounds bowls and chutes to be explored. This is another resort that has outdated equipment when it comes to world standards so take the extra time suspended above ground to enjoy the view. Vallecitos is 16
modest in size but also in prices. You best bet for accommodation is in the town of Potrerillos or at the plush La Alejandra Estancia. www. estancialaalejandra.com.ar/
What Los Penitentes lacks in size and glamour, it makes up for ten-fold in scenery and accessibility. Named after a row of monkshaped peaks in the mountains, this tiny village could not be more conveniently located as it is literally bisected by the main road to Chile (165km west of Mendoza City). With a base altitude of 2580m rising to 3200m, these powdery slopes provide tremendous opportunities for all levels to downhill or cross-country ski and snowboard. The resort has a total of 28 runs, 11 of which have been approved by the International Ski Federation. All vary in difficulty, and stretch a total of 22 kilometers that cover around 300 hectares of mountainous slope.
Los Puquios - Parque de Nieve
This is much more than a ski resort. In fact, it is a ‘snow park’. There are a handful of different ski runs here (with varying levels - some which are good for beginners as well as others designed for intermediate skiers) but this unpretentious and family friendly resort also
has a large variety of other activities on offer. If you don’t want to ski or snowboard but like to stay on your feet you can have a go at snow shoeing, which is basically trekking around the resort with shoes similar to tennis rackets on your feet, or you could try your hand at ice skating in the small ice rink by one of the restaurants.
Where to stay
If you want to take advantage of Mendoza’s nearby Los Penitentes and Los Puquios resorts, or even Chile’s El Portillo, book yourself in for a night or two at Hotel Ayelen. This hotel opposite the Penitentes ski resort has been taken over by British and Argentine duo Steve and Mecha who have created a warm and friendly environment, comfortable and attractive large living areas and a restaurant with winter-warming food - great for a lunchtime stop if you are touring the mountains too. Even when the snow has melted, this is a great place to set up camp and explore the stunning surrounding Andes doing some mountain treks, rock climbing and Aconcagua admiring. You can access the hotel and ski resorts by catching the thrice daily from Mendoza Bus Terminal
The easiest route to the powder
If you want to go skiing but are feeling a bit too lazy to organize your own ski pass, gear, transport and accommodation, speak to the Oso Loco (translation: Crazy Bear) - Mendoza’s very own grizzly gringo ski bear. Otherwise known as Adam, this ski fanatic has been running his own ski tour company for 9 years and can get you kitted out with everything from cramp-ons to the best guides with the ultimate off-piste knowledge and experience. Specializing in helping foreigners get the most out of their ski experience in Argentina, Adam works mainly in the Los Penitentes, Las Lenas and Bariloche resorts. Contact Argentina Ski Tours: www.argentinaskitours.com
However for those of us who quite like to use their bottom as a snow cushion there are a couple of fun options, and don’t trick yourself into thinking they are just for children. Try out the culi-patin (literal translation butt skating) for a surprising adrenaline rush throwing yourself down a large hill on slippery plastic sledges, or go ‘tubing’ and sit your derrier in a large inflatable rubber tyre as you slide down the slopes - either way you are bound to be a convert.There are also play areas for the rug rats to make snowmen and throw snowballs at each other, while the adults sit back with a beer or homemade rustic argentine food at the restobar nearby. And if you want to spend an entire day at the resort, Los Puquios offers night skiing three nights a week with floodlit pistes, live DJs and mulled wine. Los Puquios is just a couple of kilometers further up the road from Penitentes with the same gorgeous Andean scenery. www.puquios.com
Over the border… In Chile El Portillo
Chile isn’t that far away. In fact it’s only a 4-hour drive from Mendoza and just the other side of the border is El Portillo, the first ski resort established in South America. Well equipped and newly renovated for 2013 with 34 pistes
for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, as well as an outdoor heated swimming pool, yoga classes, a nightclub and a 3D cinema. The best time to visit for wine lovers though is during their well established Wine Week and Wine Fest for two weeks during August where every night during the week some of Chile’s top wineries are invited to warm up the crowd with some of their finest wines and a charm. In its twelfth year, the wine celebrations carry on late into the night with a party after wine tasting. Wine Week is 3 - 10 August, and Wine Fest is 24- 31 August. www.skiportillo.com
Keep on eye on the forecast because if it starts snowing, staff close all but 2 lifts inciting dreadful hour-long lines at the base. The ski-lifts are mildly outdated and even during normal conditions the ride from the base to the summit takes about 45 minutes. The village at Las Leñas’ base contains modern luxury hotels, restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and of course a multilingual ski school. If you decide to stay in nearby Malargue (70km) you get a 50% discount on the lifts. Buses leave regularly from the Mendoza bus terminal. www.laslenas.com
Outside of Mendoza
Close resort. added down
445km south of Mendoza City in the heart of the Andes, this is the biggest, the best, and by far the most expensive of the resorts in the area. It attracts snow starved enthusiasts from the north who can´t bear the thought of a summer without snow, along with wellheeled Argentines who ski by day and party by night. Las Leñas has a total of 35 marked runs that cover a distance of about 64km, the highest of which reaches 3,430m. Of these runs, 30% are to be considered beginner, 25% intermediate, 20% black and another 25% double black. One run even includes the added spectacle of lights and music to accompany your ride. For those craving more adventure than a double-black can offer, there are said to be around 4,000 hectares of off-peak slope.
to Las Leñas is Los Molles ski Tranquil and low key, it has the attraction of thermal baths to wind after a hard day on the slopes.
The most famous resort in Bariloche is Cerro Catedral which is one of the largest and oldest ski areas in South America. With 38 lifts, the different routes on this mountain are endless including a run with a vertical drop of 3,000 feet. Activities here are dominated by ski and snowboarding, but you can also try out Nordic skiing in the forests and there is a terrain park too. The main base for this resort is Villa Catedral at the base of the mountain which has rental shops as well as all your necessary conveniences. www.catedralpatagonia.com In all the mentioned resorts watch out for different events throughout the season such as provincial championships, obstacle races and torchlight nighttime parades. 17
Moving Statues Charlie O’Malley explores the great explorer, Columbus.
Most Buenos Aires guide books will point you towards a statue of the famous seafarer Columbus on Parque Colon, behind the presidential Pink House. Go there today however and you’ll find an empty plinth. The federal government decided to move the 100-year old monument and replace it with a Bolivian indigenous leader, the little known Juana Azurduy de Padilla. The move caused a storm of controversy with many citizens up in arms, a petition undertaken and a social media campaign started to keep it there. A court injunction eventually prevented its intended move to the seaside city of Mar de Plata and BA city mayor Mauricio Macri declared the statue would not leave his district, opening up another front in City Hall’s already abrasive relationship with the national government. While the dispute continues, the 40-tonne statue remains wrapped up and sadly prostrate, stuck in storage and in a legal and political limbo. “His little fleet wandered into the labyrinth waters of the Caribbean” Nothing seems straight forward when it comes to Christopher Columbus. The discoverer of the Americas did not even get the privilege of having the New World called after him. That went to Amerigo Vespucci in what is probably the most spectacular factual mistake (and typo to boot) ever committed. Columbus’ luck was even tainted when he made landfall on that momentous day in October 1492. Instead of reaching the main lands of North or South America, his little fleet wandered into the labyrinth waters of the Caribbean - one of the most complex archipelagos in the world with 700 islands and numerous inlets, estuaries and watery blind alleys. It is a land system that subsequently prolonged and confounded his desperate search for China over four voyages and also dazzled and perplexed his Spanish sponsors. Columbus endured violent storms, epic hurricanes, deadly doldrums and terrifying tsunamis in his misguided quest for a western passage to India. His descriptions in his journals read like a magical realist crusade through butterfly storms and milk water lagoons. When he finally did make landfall on the main land on his third voyage, entering the Orinoco Delta of Venezuela, what he encountered made him admit for the first time that he had not reached China. Instead, he wrote, he had found the gates to heaven. “He was slowly abandoned by his royal patrons, suffered numerous mutinies and was stripped of all his belongings by the Spanish state” Columbus’ brilliant sailing abilities and almost instinctive talent for navigation was tempered by poor leadership skills and a vain obsession with titles, honours, property and wealth. Over the four voyages he made to the Americas, he was slowly abandoned by his royal patrons, suffered numerous mutinies and was stripped of all his belongings by the Spanish
state. On his fourth voyage he ended up shipwrecked for over a year on a desert island with only his sons and a handful of loyal crew to support him. Rescue was denied by a colonial administration that had come to look upon him as a liability. Even his death is clouded in controversy and indignity. Whilst he did not die in utter poverty as legend claims, he passed away in isolation, with
few allies in the north western Spanish city of Valladolid. Initially buried in Seville, his remains were moved to a cathedral in Hispania (modern day Dominican Republic) only to be disturbed 200 years later and moved to Cuba. In 1899 his lead casket was moved to Seville Cathedral but there is however a strong suspicion that the wrong remains were re-interred and both the Dominican Republic and Spain now claim to hold his true tomb. It seems his corpse is in the same limbo as that BA statue. ** Source material: Colombus - The Four Voyages, by Laurence Bergreen
The First Globetrotter
It is interesting to note that over 500 years ago when Columbus first waded ashore on a Bahamas beach, tomatoes were unknown in Italy, Ireland had no potatoes and the Belgians had yet to develop a taste for chocolate. His landing connected two halves of the World that had been split by continental drift some 300 million years before. This epic separation of two habitats was at once connected by that first scramble onto a Caribbean shore and Columbus disovered a whole new world of flora and fauna what would inspire awe and incredulity in many a traveller for centuries to come. The Great Columban Exchange, as it is now known, worked both ways. The Americas did not have cattle, sheep or goats, in fact very little in the way of domesticated animals. The horse transformed the Indian from sedentary farmer into a fierce and agile hunter. Rice appeared on the Central American menu and countries such as El Salvador became synonomous with coffee and Ecuador with bananas. The legacy of Columbus is much besmirched for the wanton human destruction it unleashed but the true consequence of his stumble onto American soil was to unite the planet.
The List 2013 Every year we pull together some of our favourite recommendations for Mendozaso you know where to go when you are new in town. By Amanda Barnes · Photos by Timarie Chan and Emily Seitz
It can be a tough life for a vegetarian in Argentina. Only a couple years ago if you said you were a vegetarian people would offer you chicken or ham instead. Nowadays though you can pick up veggie bites in a lot of takeaway/pay per kilo places in the city open weekday lunchtimes, or you can visit one of the most established herbivore haunts in Mendoza, Govinda, open from 7am till midnight everyday (from 9am Sundays). With a great garden patio, hippy décor and unusual veggie dishes including curried everything and salads coming out your ears. Grab a ginger tea and feel a bit Zen for a while. Govinda, San Martin 948, Godoy Cruz
Pulsing to a different beat
Aristides still remains the busiest night spot in town, but last year a new resto-bar took the crown as the coolest in town. El Mercadito is run by three friends and it lets the good times roll with healthy meals - including big salads, which are a rarity here - antioxidant juices, decent brekkie, fresh cocktails and a top music mix. Spend an evening here and you’ll hear a few beats from across the pond and leave with a light stomach and a few stars brightening up your vision. El Mercadito, Aristides 521
I do like a bit of art with my wine!
This home restaurant by art merchant Gonzalo Cuervo is one of the best digs in town for good wine, good company and great art. Whether you want to settle in for tapas or a five course dinner with paired wine, Gonzalo will welcome you into his home and introduce you to Argentina, its culture and its stunning world of modern art. A very friendly experience indeed. Ituzaingo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 15 666 5778
Where the magic happens
Actually just before the magic happens, or maybe as a treat after. Either way, Anna Bistro and its stunning fairy lit garden is still the sexiest spot for a date. Some seriously boozy cocktails, French speaking waiters and indulgent desserts are sure to do most of the work for you. All you need to remember is your cheque book and the way to the boudoir. Anna Bistro, Juan B Justo 161
Rastas and rum
There’s one spot that still gets its fair share of diversity. Mendoza’s become pretty homogenous in the past years with many bars offering the same David Guetta mix and mini-skirted, long haired brunettes gracing every dance floor. But there’s one place that sticks to its own style: psychedelic reggae and rastas. Only open in the Summer, Gira 22
ITUZAINGO Mundo is on a completely different orbit. Cross the bridge from mountain getaway Cachueta (1hr from the city) and enter into a world of dirty long hair, knee pumping dance moves and a football field of plastic fernet cups - all aptly lit with coloured fairy lights. Gira Mundo, Cacheuta
New Year’s Day this year was tainted by a day of mourning for Mendoza as the city’s infamous and best lomito bar was burnt to the ground in a fire. After just over a month, Barloa reopened to the relief of everyone who understands the importance of a decent steak sandwich. Nice to know the owners haven’t changed their style though, Maradona has been dusted off and is back on the wall alongside Mother Mary again. Barloa, San Martin 300 corner of Morales, Las Heras
The ultimate Argentine combo: Pizza Lomo
Everyone knows Argentina is all about pizza and parilla but have you tried Argentina’s ultimate fusion food? The pizza lomo. Yes, you heard right, a pizza and lomo (steak), in fact three pizzas with two lomos sandwiched between. Definitely indulgent - one is enough for 10 people - and ultimately Argentine.
A Spa Darling?
Sometimes you just need to shut yourself up, get naked and wash away all your thoughts. Entre Cielos is the place to do it. The first hammam in South America, this is a seriously luxury version of what a real Turkish hammam is - the temperature is right, but you get to do the entire circuit in private (or with your friend/s). Sweat, scrub and wash all your stress away. Finish off with an olive oil foam massage for the ultimate relax. www.entrecielos.com. Entre Cielos, Guardia Vieja 1998, Vistalba
Virtual wine travel A one-stop shop to impress
There aren’t many places that can offer you 5 star dining, a luxurious spa, a colourful casino, a nightclub, an art gallery and a bed… apart from a hotel. Mendoza’s premier hotel, The Park Hyatt, is the one-stop-shop for impressing someone special in your life. A gleaming white heritage building on Plaza Independencia, this is a real attraction for the city and you can bet that you won’t be disappointed by the grub either. Check out Bistro M for some seriously flavourful European style dishes including their new Autumn/Winter menu of seafood stew, calamari in salsa pomodoro, black cod on a truffle mash and delectable desserts that will stick (to your hips) and in your memory for a couple days. The wine list is also surely the longest in the city. Or try the man-pleasing Grill Q with the biggest empanadas in town, big juicy steaks and fine parilla dining that will make all carnivores salivate. Park Hyatt (Bistro M and Grill Q), Chile 1124
Maybe you don’t have the time to travel the country’s diverse wine regions, or maybe you just don’t have the impetus. Either way - you can see hundreds of wines from around Argentina from the comfort of one armchair at The Vines of Mendoza. With boutique wineries as well as big players you can try wines by the glass, bottle or in themed wine flights to get to know your way around this stunning wine producing country without moving from the city center. You can even learn how to make your own blend of wine in their special blending lab where a sommelier will take you through the steps while enjoying plenty to glug on throughout the experience. The Vines of Mendoza, Belgrano 1194
THE VINES OF MENDOZA
Cooking like a true Campesino!
If you want to take away some serious kitchen skills from your stay in Argentina then Ceibo restaurant by Plaza Italia can help you out. Book yourself into their afternoon cooking clinics where you’ll learn all the staples of true Argentine cuisine in a few hours of fun cooking, eating and of course drinking plenty of the local juice. Run by a local chef and sommelier duo, you won’t just learn the art of asado, clay ovens, ‘al disco’ and empanada making but it’s also a cultural class in argentina learn how local people really eat, drink and think and finish off the day tasting some of Argentine tobacco with fun cocktails. The restaurant also offers some of the tastiest empanadas in town and a wine cellar to die for. Ceibo, 25 de Mayo 871 24
Andean stone and local desert wood recreate the simplicity of Mendoza's natural surroundings with stylish and modern comforts. Guests realise they are in the land of wine as soon as they arrive. A unique glass ďŹ‚oor reveals an underground wine cellar made from stone. A perfect place to be seduced by Mendoza's best wines. Book your table via this code and get a Free glass of Wine!
15% OFF *On your dinner when arriving before 7.45pm (On food. Not Combinable with other promotions).
Gourmet Regional Cuisine in a Unique Atmosphere Dinner Service, daily from 7:30 pm on. Booking is required.
www.laresdechacras.com Larrea 1266 Chacras de Coria | Mendoza Argentina | tel/fax: 54 261 4961061 email@example.com
Que chivito rico!
Chivo (or kid goat) is one of the delicacies in Argentina that you can’t miss out on while you are here. Succulent, tasty and fantastically gaucho - Florentino is one of our favourite joints for serving up this yummy little goat. Stacked up on a round of soft, seasoned polenta you really can’t go wrong at any time of year with this. Also make sure to try some of the creative salads and yummy homemade breads at this arty restaurant right in front of Plaza Italia - a real gem in Mendoza. Florentino, Montevideo 675
Heaven’s Kitchen Just like Mum cooked it
That’s if your Mum was Argentine. This intimate restaurant is all about food cooked as if you were at home. Hearty empanadas, sizzling asado and warming Argentine classics are also served alongside big open sandwiches and a good wine list ready to make your cheeks flush. Try some Argentine favorites in the kitchen and make yourself feel at home. La Patrona, 9 de Julio 656
A taste of Asia in Argentina
Still reigning as the top Trip Advisor attraction in Chacras, you know this is good. In this luxury, boutique hotel in leafy Chacras 15 mins outside of the city centre, chef Cristina Brino cooks up a storm with guests a you learn some quintessential Argentine dishes: empanadas, steak with chimichurri and barbequed fruit while drinking some of Adelgisa’s top notch organic wine. A relaxed, luxury approach to traditional Argentine cooking, using a clay oven and an open fire. Get stuck in and chop, knead and BBQ, or simply sit back with a glass of wine and let Cristina do most of the cooking for you - it’s up to you. Finca Adalgisa, Pueyrredon 2222
It was with a fair bit of buzz that South Korean chef ‘Chef Mun’ arrived in Mendoza last year. For all of us foreigners craving a little bit of spice in our lives, Chef Mun has managed to bring that flair here. His winery style five-course lunches offered at the new Bodega Casarena in Lujan offer not only great sushi and seriously good soups, but some adventurous pairings that will keep your palate engaged. Pinot Noir and Tuna sushi and Malbec with wasabi steak just to name a couple. Come ready for a slice of Asia with the bonus of Argentine wine. Chef Mun, Bodega Casarena, Brandsen 505, Lujan de Cuyo
Good Marketing Second hand chic: Chacras Plaza Market
Gaucho delight: Manzano Historico
Everyone loves a good rummage through trinkets and knickknacks. Sunday morning is a scavengers delight at Plaza Chacras for their antiques and quirky gifts. Whether you need a silver spoon, an old phone or some of grandma’s clip-on earrings - it’s all there, and usually accompanied by a glorious sunny morning.
Haven’t had your fill of Argentine cowboys yet? Head down to the Manzano Historico in Uco Valley on a weekend and you are sure to spot a fair few. Packed with locals and wafting with smoke from asados on every corner, this is the real deal. Buckle up, jump on the back of a horse and throw on your poncho as you ride about town with the real men of Argentina - the gaucho.
Bolivian bargains: Ugarteche Market
Classy cowboys: La Alejandra
If your market tastes are more about bargain hunting, then the Bolivian market in Ugarteche on a Sunday morning will be to your heart’s delight. Ever wondered how people survive soaring inflation and stiff prices? They shop here. Whether it is second hand or fallen off of the back of a truck, you probably aren’t going to mind as the price is right. Try one of the spicy soups while you are here too.
With a gorgeous estancia in the Uco Valley, you can giddy up and ride horses in some of Mendoza’s beauty spots and then stay the night in cosy boutique accommodation at Estancia la Alejandra where you’ll find a warm homely feel. www.estancialaalejandra.com.ar
In search of a proper pub?
Sometimes you just want to sit back at a real pub, chat to some locals and get a decent plate of grub - Mendoza’s longest serving Irish pub is the place to do it. Believe Irish Pub is run by expat Kelly and her Argentine husband Gonzalo who know that a good pub atmosphere requires friendly faces, a decent pint and big plates of food to soak up the booze. The place can get pretty packed at the weekends and is a favourite for foreigners and locals throughout the week. Believe Irish Pub, Colon y España 241.
All things sweet BRILLAT SAVARIN 26
If you want to get your mitts on something naughty but nice head up to Brillat Savarin, one of the city’s top patisseries. Run by French chefs they know how to make a perfect croissant and their multi coloured collection of macaroons isn’t bad either. They also create some delicious breads and yummy chocolates. Brillat Savarin, Juan B Justo 135.
Rugby rolls into town By Amanda Barnes
It wasn’t so long ago that the only ball shape in Argentina was that of a football and an empanada. But since last year, the country has indeed gone a little bit rugby crazy - at least a couple weeks of the year. As the Rugby Championship rolls back into town again, this is your chance to stand by Argentina for actually being quite good at rugby. The game arrived here in the late 19th century from some Englishmen working in Argentina and the sport has slowly but surely gained fans across the country and especially in Buenos Aires, Rosario and Mendoza.
So it was these three regions that were picked to host the first ever Rugby Championship with four nations, instead of three. Facing the southern hemisphere titans of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, Argentina is certainly in good company on the pitch but last year they managed to hold their own as the newbies in the tournament, even if the score board doesn’t fully reflect that (Argentina was the only team not to win a match last year, but they did draw with South Africa when playing in Mendoza). “The draw last year was a huge result,” says Mendoza rugby coach James Dossor. “It’s the first time they haven’t been beaten by South Africa. This year they’ll be expecting to win one game at least.” If you’ve ever been to a football match (or heard about the power of the football mafia) you’ll know how crazy the country gets over football so it is perhaps surprising that Argentina has developed such a fine knack for this ‘gentleman’s sport’. Gentlemanly as it may be on the rugby field, do not be mistaken: off pitch it still remains
Games in Argentina: 25 August: Argentina vs South Africa. Mendoza
29 September: Argentina vs New Zealand. La Plata
6 October: Argentina vs Australia. Rosario
Argentine. Fans shout expletives, stamp their feet and fists in chants and throw toilet roll almost as much as they do in a football match… much to the distraction of the bewildered foreign players who have been trained to believe that a free kick is taken in silence. Not here. The ‘onda’ of the game is all good fun though and you shouldn’t miss out on your chance to catch the games in Mendoza, La Plata (Buenos Aires) or Rosario this Winter.
the winery guide LUJAN DE CUYO Terrazas de los Andes The fine wine sister of Chandon Argentina is a beautifully restored bodega with wellappointed tasting room. Fav. Wine: Cheval de los Andes. (0261) 488 0704/5. Thames and Cochabamba, Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. www.terrazasdelosandes.com Ruca Malen Excellent food, great guiding and first-class wines. The pairings over lunch make for an unforgettable culinary experience. (0261) 4138909 .R.N.7, Km 1059, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.bodegarucamalen.com Chandon The original foreign investor, French-owned Chandon has been making great sparkling wines
in Mendoza since the 1960s. (0261) 490 9968. R.P.15, Km 29, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www. bodegaschandon.com.ar Dominio del Plata Argentina´s most famous female winemaker Susana Balbo is creating some rich and complex wines in the heart of Agrelo. Fav. Wine: Ben Marco. (0261) 498 9200. Cochabamba 7801 Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.dominiodelplata.com.ar Luigi Bosca The Arizu dynasty are the royal family of Argentine wine and their seat of operations is a handsome and elegant 110-year old winery. Classical architecture, ancient atmospheric cellars and rich wines such as the Finca Las Nobles range make for a fascinating visit. (0261) 498 1974. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond, Luján de Cuyo. www.luigibosca.com.ar
in Focus: Mundo Rolland
Lagarde Owner of the oldest white wine in South America. Try the hand-crafted sparkling wine made from 100 year old vines.(0261) 498 0011 Ext. 27. San Martin 1745, Mayor Drummond. Luján de Cuyo. www.lagarde.com.ar Renacer This Chilean-owned winery creates the label Punto Final. Small, modern operation with tour that includes a hands-on lesson in blending. Brandsen 1863, Lujan de Cuyo. 261-524-4416 or 261-524-4417. www. bodegarenacer.com.ar Kaiken This rustic 80 year-old winery houses a new venture by the prestigious Chilean winery Montes. Big and powerful wines, destined for fame. (0261) 524 3160. Roque Saenz Peña 5516, Las Compuertas, Luján de Cuyo. www. kaikenwines.com Catena Zapata Showcase winery designed like a Mayan temple overlooking vineyards and the Andes Mountains. Rich, complex wines.(0261) 413 1100. Cobos s/n, Luján de Cuyo. www.catenawines.com Melipal Great Malbec and gourmet lunches make Melipal one of the most exclusive wineries to visit. (0261) 524 8040.R.N.7, 1056km, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.bodegamelipal.com.ar
There are some names in the industry that are hard to ignore. Michel Rolland is one of them. So when he came to town in late July for a special wine tasting, there was quite a bit of buzz about his arrival. The tasting was led by his colleague and partner in EnoRolland - a wine consultancy that works with producers across the country - Gabriela Celeste. “Gabriela has done a great job in Mendoza,” praised Rolland of Celeste for leading the firm since its start 10 years ago. “In some cases there wasn’t an option for projects that weren’t big ones,” he explained about the gap in the market that EnoRolland spotted. “EnoRolland is a different work - focusing on more family sized organisations too.” With a team of two international consultants (Rolland being one of them), two Argentine winemakers and two Argentine agronomists (Celeste is an agronomist), the technical 28
team focus on personalised professional consultation from lab work and vineyard analysis to design and bottling. “We work with our own staff and also with the resources in each place: the vineyards, the people and the wine technology,” says Celeste. “We try to find what the client wants and to bring it to its best.” That evening was a chance to see and taste many of these varied wine projects that the company has been consulting to ranging from boutique producers like Carinae in Maipo run by two French winelovers Bridgitte and Philippe; organic producers such as Solandes in San Rafael; and tiny producers like Narbona from Uruguay; to larger well known wineries such as Andeluna and Sophenia out in the Uco Valley. With 19 different producers on display, one thing was certain: even within the world of EnoRolland, there is a spectrum of flavours and styles to discover. www.enorolland.com.ar
Decero Attractive, modern facility with spectacular views of the mountains from the cozy tasting room. (0261) 524 4748. Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.decero.com Clos de Chacras Charming boutique operation with nice history. A five minute walk from Chacras plaza. Fav. Wine: Gran Estirpe. (0261) 496 1285/155 792706. Monte Libano s/n, Luján de Cuyo. www. closdechacras.com.ar Carmelo Patti Mendoza’s most famous garagista. Carmelo Patti himself is often there to show you around (in Spanish). Fav. Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon from the barrel. (0261) 498 1379. San Martin 2614, Luján de Cuyo. Vistalba Tasting room where one entire wall is a subterranean cross section of the actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks. Fab restaurant.
REFERENCES Restaurant Lodging Driving time from Mendoza City Art Gallery
Fav Wine: Petit Verdot. (0261) 498 9400. Roque Saenz Peña 3135, Vistalba. www. carlospulentawines.com Belasco de Baquedano Gleaming modern facility with fascinating aroma room and restaurant with Andean view. (0261) 524 7864. Cobos 8260, Lujan de Cuyo. www. belascomalbec.com Piattelli A lovely family owned winery done in a Tuscan style. Enjoy lunch on a deck beside a pond. Fav. Wine: Oaked Torrontes. (0261) 479 0123. Cobos 13710, Lujan de Cuyo. www. piattellivineyards.com Achaval Ferrer Modern boutique close to Mendoza riverbed. Big concentrated wines. (0261) 488 1131. Cobos 2601, Perdriel, Lujan de Cuyo. www.achavalferrer.com Alta Vista Masterful mix of modern and traditional. Tasting includes distinctive Torrontes or single vineyard Malbecs. (0261) 496 4684. Álzaga 3972, Chacras de Coria, Lujan de Cuyo. www. altavistawines.com Mendel An old style winery ran by one of Argentina’s most famous winemaker dynasties the De La Motta family. (0261) 524 1621. Terrada 1863, Mayor Drummond, Lujan de Cuyo. www. mendel.com.ar Bonfanti A lovely winery in a pastoral setting. Up close and personal tours with the owners themselves and a tasting room set amidst the vines. (0261) 488 0595. Terrada 2024, Lujan de Cuyo. Tapiz Great wine lodge Club Tapiz, high-end restaurant Terruño and an instructive wine tour including barrel and bottle tasting. (0261) 490 0202. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 32. Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.tapiz.com Norton Old-style cellars contrast with a high-tech production line. Tank and barrel tastings,and jug fillings on Thursdays are popular with the locals. (0261) 490 9700. R.P.15, Km 23.5. Perdriel. Luján de Cuyo. www.norton.com.ar
LOCATIONS REFERENCES Luján de Cuyo
Valle de Uco
Benegas Lynch Rich history and richer wines. Lovely old bodega with lots of character. Fav. Wine: Cabernet Franc. (0261) 496 0794. Ruta 60. Cruz de Piedra. www.bodegabenegas.com Dolium A completely underground winery with innovative design and top notch Malbecs. (0261) 490 0190. R.P.15, Km 30 s/n, Agrelo. www.dolium.com Caelum Modern, medium size winery on the main road to Chile just before the mountains and has a nice family feel to it. Fav. Wine: Rosado. (0261) 156 439564. R.N.7 km 1060, Agrelo. www. bodegacaelum.com.ar Pulenta Estate Cool minimalist design and rich complex wines make this a winery with finesse and style. Fav. Wine: Cabernet Franc. (0261) 155 076426. Ruta 86, Km 6.5. Lujan de Cuyo. www. pulentaestate.com 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. (0261) 479 0130. R.N. 7, Lujan de Cuyo. www.vinacobos.com Dante Robino Founded in 1920, an atmospheric old-style winery with a modernist, light-filled tasting room with excellent view of mountains and vines. (0261) 488 7229 Ext. #2. Callejón Maldonado 240, Perdriel. www.bodegadanterobino.com Septima A beautifully designed winery with clear views of the mountains and a large terrace used for sunset wine events after 6.30pm on Thursdays. Owned by the Spanish experts in sparkling wine, Codorniu, they make fab sparkling wine under label Maria. (261) 498 9550, Ruta 7, 6.5km, Lujan de Cuyo. www.bodegaseptima.com Nieto Senetiner Located in a beautiful old winery in Chacras, Senetiner was founded in 1888 and makes a great range of wines and sparkling wines and offers horseback riding in the vineyards and asado style lunches. (261) 498 0315, Guardia Vieja S/N, Vistalba, Lujan de Cuyo. www. nietosenetiner.com.ar
Navarro Correas The closest winery to Mendoza city, easily accessible Navarro Correas is a modern winery with great sparkling wines and fun tasting options. (0261) 4597916. San Francisco del Monte 1555, Godoy Cruz. www.ncorreas.com
VALLE DE UCO O. Fournier Most architecturally innovative winery with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent lunches in the modernist visitor center. (02622) 451 088. Los Indios s/n, La Consulta, San Carlos. www. ofournier.com Altus A red barn-like winery which faces a lovely adobe-style restaurant doing excellent lunches. (02622) 155 080261. Las Vencedoras, Tupungato.www.altusdetupungato.com.ar Salentein Designed like a temple to wine, this ultraconcept winery includes a modern art gallery, lodge, and chapel set high in the Andean valley. (02622) 429 500.R.P 89 s/n, Tunuyan. www. killkasalentein.com Finca La Celia One of the valley’s oldest wineries. They conduct excellent tours and tastings.(02622) 451 010. Av. de Circunvalacion s/n, Eugenio Bustos, San Carlos. www.fincalacelia.com.ar La Azul Simple, small production winery with not so simple Malbecs and a small traditional restaurant. (02622) 423 593.R.P 89 s/n. Agua Amarga, Tupungato. www.bodegalaazul.com Clos de los 7 In the heart of gorgeous Vista Flores, you can visit premium French owned wineries Monteviejo, Rolland, Diamandes and Cuvelier de los andes in one visit for tastings, horseriding, art and lunch. (0261) 156 687680. www.clos7.com.ar Benvenuto de la Serna Charming, family-run operation making a very decent Sangiovese under the Mil Piedras label.(02622) 420 0782. Carril Los Sauces s/n, VistaFlores, Tunuyan. www. benvenutodelaserna.com 29
the winery guide Winery in Focus: Finca Agostino
Andeluna The old-world style tasting room looks upon dramatic views of vineyards against mountains. (02622) 423 226 Ext 113.R.P. 89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. 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. (0261)155074653 / 154543240. Ruta 94 (s/n), Tunuyán. www.gimenezriili.com 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. (0261) 156 855184. R.P. 86 (Km 30), San Jose, Tupungato. www.atamisque.com
Go past Maipu and keep on driving… Beyond the usual winery circuit you’ll find Finca Agostino, a Spanish style villa spread out among its own very large vineyard estate looking over the entire oasis of Mendoza and the Andes mountains towering in the distance. Bathed in sunlight, a high and twisted archway of vines from the 1950s offer some respite from the sunlight and perfect picnic shade to sit outside the newly built restaurant. Owned by two brothers who grew up in Mendoza but live in Canada, they bought the winery to recapture those childhood memories and make great wine in ode to their grandfather who had brought them to Mendoza from Sicily. And proud their grandfather would surely be with their wellmade wines which all deliver fantastic price points. Try their barrel aged Chardonnay and Viognier blend, as well as their icon blend from Uco Valley and a steal at less than $150 pesos. A beautiful Summerhouse is next to the modern winery where they built their own mini-Plaza Espana as the original version in the city centre is home to many childhood memories. Touristic programmes includes lunches and tastings as well as vineyard bike tours. You can reach the winery by public transport on the the 183 bus from the Bus Station or by private transport. www.fincaagostino.com
MAIPU Trapiche Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old and new, traditional and industrial, and has the old train tracks leading up to it. (0261) 520 7666. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito, Maipú. www.trapiche.com.ar Tempus Alba A fine modern winery set in the rural lanes of southern Maipu. The rooftop terrace overlooks the vineyard. (0261) 481 3501. Perito Moreno 572, Maipú. www. tempusalba.com Familia Zuccardi A professional, far-sighted operation. Attractive restaurant amidst the vines, famous for its asado-style lunches and generous wine pourings. (0261) 441 0000. R.P. 33, Km 7.5, Maipú. www. familiazuccardi.com Rutini / La Rural Well-stocked museum with invaluable antiques like cowhide wine presses and buckets. Giant oak tanks stand in large, cavernous halls. (0261) 497 2013 Ext.125. Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipú. www.bodegalarural.com.ar
Lopez Popular, old-style winery with two museums on the wine. Restaurant offers gourmet cuisine with a panoramic view. (0261) 497 6554. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez, Maipú. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar Flichman Steeped in history and tradition. Charming, pink-hued, colonial-style bodega, set in the leafy vineyards of southern Maipu. (0261) 497 2039. Munives 800, Barrancas, Maipú. www.flichman.com Familia Di Tommasso Officially the second oldest winery in Mendoza and still run by Argentine hands. Their charming and rustic restaurant looks onto the vineyard, just two steps away. (0261) 524 1829. Urquiza 8136, Russell, Maipú. www.familiaditommaso.com Carinae Small, charming, French-owned winery offering personal tours and well-honed wines. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. (0261) 499 0470. Videla Aranda 2899, Cruz de Piedra, Maipú www.carinaevinos.com Cepas Elegidas Making real ‘vinos de autor’, US born Brennan Firth makes his limited production wines in a small winery in Maipu. Exclusive and ultra high end wines, a visit and tasting is with the winemaker himself. To visit Cepas Elegidas, call Brennan on (0261) 467 1015. Cecchin A family winery using organic and biodynamic principles where you can see the entire process from the beautiful green vineyards to the minimal intervention winery. (261) 497 6707, MA Saez 626, Maipu, www. bodegacecchin.com.ar
SAN MARTIN Familia Antonietti A family winery in San Martin where you can have a tour with the owners, try some of their sparkling wines and stay for a homecooked lunch. (0261) 4390964/155688905. Pizarro s/n esq. Zalazar, Chapanay, San Martín.
USEFUL INFORMATION 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 (171, 172 or 173) from Catamarca and Rioja to Urquiza street (see below) 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 will do your hairdo right. Paso de los Andes 997 (esq. Julio Roca), tel (261) 641 6047