MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nº59 Dec 2012/Jan 2013
Argentine Olive Oil: A Skirted History
Casablanca Valley and Chile’s beaches Guide to Mendoza’s wineries 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
contents NEWS REPUBLIC
Chef Mun’s Pan-Asian Dinner Party .................................................6 No Visa Without Visa.........................................................................6 Dollar Blues ......................................................................................6
Olive Oil in Argentina: A Skirted History...........................................8 The Olive Oil Trail.............................................................................9 Olives and a Little Bit More ............................................................11 Olive Oil Wishlist............................................................................11 One Pitch: Two Games....................................................................14 A Worker’s Paradise.......................................................................16
wine Casablanca Valley and the Beaches of Chile .................................18 The Winery Guide ..........................................................................28 Winery Profile: Cecchin..................................................................28 Winemaker’s Profile: Javier La Forte ...........................................29
Out & About Bars...........................................................................................24 Dining Out.......................................................................................26
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information.........................................................................32 Map of Maipu and Chacras de Coria..........................................32 Map of Mendoza City Center.......................................................34
Issue December 2012 - January 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 Publicidad: Ana Laura Aguilera (155 018 874), 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, Elizabeth Butler, Will Fry, Madeline Blasberg. Cover Illustration: Donough O’Malley, www.pencilrobot.net Contributing photographers: Amanda Barnes, Elizabeth Butler, Maria Laura Gomez & Mariana Gomez Rus. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
By Charlie O’Malley
No visa without Visa
Chef Mun’s Pan-Asian Dinner Party
Had enough of empanadas and steak? How about some authentic sushi prepared by a rising star Korean-American chef. Chef Mun, who ran a top-ranked closed door restaurant in Buenos Aires, recently moved to Mendoza and opened his Asian-Argentine fusion restaurant “Mun” at the impeccably restored winery Casarena Bodega & Viñedos in Lujan de Cuyo. Part restaurant and part dinner party, this unique experience begins with a champagne reception and then a five-course menu of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines, served amidst a room of French oak barrels. Chef Mun introduces each course with stories about his recipes and the influence of his mother and Iron Chef Makoto on his cuisine. The sushi course with Chilean Salmon, Argentine King Crab Hand Rolls and Spicy Tuna on Crispy Rice is outstanding and is paired with a delicious Casarena Reserva 2011 Pinot Noir that Chef Mun carefully blended with the Casarena winemaking team. This is a culinary experience unlike any other in Mendoza. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 549 2616 919 732. By the end of the night, you’ve not only had great food, but also become friends with interesting fellow diners and Chef Mun.
The National Migrations Office recently announced that from June 2013 the entry fee charged to US, Canadian and Australian citizens will be extended to all entry points into Argentina “by sea, river, land and air”. What is known as the Reciprocal Tax (because the corresponding countries charge Argentines the same to enter their countries) must also be paid beforehand, over the internet at www.migraciones.gov.ar and can only be done by credit card - Visa, American Express or Mastercard. Whilst it is up for debate how wise it is to charge tourists to enter a country where they will spend more money and stimulate the economy, this magazine laments the fact that from next year onwards only North Americans and Australians with credit cards will be able to visit Argentina. What will happen to the poor, free spirited backpacker who turns up at the Argentine Bolivian border and discovers he cannot enter because he only has Diners Club?
“Jeez, I wish somebody had told me to bring dollars.” A tourist was heard crying into his beer recently. He was mourning the fact that same beer would have been 30% cheaper if he had known to bring greenbacks he could change on the street for 6 to 1 as opposed to 4.8 to 1 through the cash machine or by credit card. Such foreign bewilderment with the recent exchange restrictions turns to frustration when that same visitor discovers he can only take out $1000 pesos a day from the cash machine and many places now will not take credit card or will charge a surcharge for doing so. Awareness of the black market dollar rate (known as the blue dollar amongst locals) is now the hottest travel tip you can get about Argentina and soon every guide book, travel blog and streetwise backpacker will be saying “bring dollars!” Whilst this is good advice it is hardly an ideal or safe situation that travelers now have to pack wads of cash and wander the streets looking for illegal money changers, whispering though the side of their mouths “Psst …. cambio, cambio”.
In the neighbourhood of Lavalle, one of the most important olive oil-tourism programmes in Mendoza is being carried out by Finca las Marujitas. With 110 hectares of more than 80,000 olive trees planted, including Arbequina, Changlot Real, Arauco, Hojiblanca, Manzanilla IsraelĂ, Manzanilla Real, Coratina, Picual y Maurino.
Olive oil in Argentina: a skirted history By Amanda Barnes
As with all the very best legends, the genesis of olive oil in Argentina is perfectly queer. The tale goes that when the Spanish decided Argentina should no longer have their own olive oil, they rampaged the country tearing out the olive trees in the late 1600s. One crafty native lady in Almogasta, La Rioja, didn’t want to see olive trees disappear from her land and so with the best will in the world, she shoved one up her skirt. Colorful fabric billowing, the Spaniards didn’t notice this olive tree sapling hidden under her delicates and they rode on to terrorize the next village. Thanks to the cunning trickery of this riojana woman the olive tree survived, and all of Argentina’s olive trees are said to have come from this one mother sapling. This particular olive tree is also said to have spawned Argentina’s first and only native species, the Arauco. It is no surprise that the lady wanted to obscure the precious olive tree and keep it growing in her home land considering olive oil’s long and austere past - one filled with passion, trickery and war torn lands. Cultivated since at least 5000BC, olive oil has been one of the most precious and treasured commodities in history. Aside from nutritional,
medicinal and practical uses, it was seen as a symbol of wealth, power and glory. Homer referred to it as ‘liquid gold’ in The Odyssey, which is one of the first mentions of this juice in around 850BC. Ancient Greek athletes would rub it into their skin before fights to remain unscathed and protect them from the sun; while the Spartans would rub it into theirs when working out in order to lure a few wayward eyes. Olive oil was anointed on the heads of kings, martyrs and saints, and it was dripped into tombs of important figures to lubricate their drying bones, including those of Tutankhamen. It was always revered as a luxury product and at one point it was literally worth its own weight in gold as a trading tool. With records of cultivation stretching back 7000 years, olive oil has played a significant role in history and is part of the essential culinary fabric of Europe and the Middle East, where you can still find trees dating back to Biblical times. Production in Argentina began in the mid 1500s as the homesick Spanish immigrants wanted to emulate their own cooking from home, which relied heavily on olive oil. Production grew, the groves blossomed with the country’s bounteous sunshine and it too became part of everyday life for Argentineans. But as with all highly revered things, jealousy festered and the Spanish tore down the trees they themselves had introduced. They wanted to avoid losing their own stake back in Spain in this prestigious industry. Thanks to the native skirt smuggler, olive oil production reignited, continued and was later bolstered by a new influx of European immigrants, who still wanted to cook like at home. After bearing the brunt of a 20 year dip in the 70s due to economy issues and poor quality blending with low cost oils, Argentina now has over 110,000 hectares of olive trees, produces around 100,000 tons of olive oil and is one of the premium producers exporting to around 30 countries worldwide. With increasing prestige around the globe and a growing clutch of awards, Argentina’s reputation as a quality olive oil producer is certainly improving. However another potential olive oil crisis is looming as the country struggles to compete with increasingly lower European prices (due to the economic crisis and overproduction); complex importation laws making foreign machinery expensive to bring in; and trade embargoes with countries who are fed up of Argentina’s own trade embargoes against them. Whether the country will be able to sustain earning gold for their olive oil is a questionable matter, but for now Argentina’s delicious olive oil is certainly liquid gold itself, and all thanks to a sneaky lady and her skirt.
The Olive Oil Trail Elizabeth Butler heads out to the main Olive oil strip in Maipu and visits four of the top producers in the area:
Olivicola Laur stands out for its fantastic informative tour of their facilities and on-site olive oil museum. In the museum they have collected old tools and presses from the first olives pressed in Mendoza, and their friendly guides take you through each step of the history and process. After, they offer a tasting of their products in their well-stocked storefront. One of their standout products includes their Blend de Terroir Olive Oil collection where each line is produced only from olives from one distinctive region in Mendoza.They also are constructing a soon-to-be-finished restaurant/ café on site for visitors to eat and relax in on their beautiful property. Videla Aranda 2850, Cruz de Piedra, 0261- 499 0716, www.laursa.com.ar
Going from one family business to the next, Olivicola Maguay was our next stop only a few blocks down the road. Here the farmland and family business have been around since 1920, and it shows in not only the quality of their product, but also the elegant architecture and antique feel of their estates on site. They offer bilingual tours through their olive trees and production houses where you can learn about the entire life cycle of the olive. Maguay’s flagship product is their collection of brined olives, but their extra virgin olive oils are elegant, refined and worthy of equal recognition. Ozamis Sur 1491 Russel, 0261 497 2632, www.maguay.com.ar
Located right off the main drag of Ozamis in Russel, Maipu, Olivicola Simone is a petite processing site that produces big, bold flavors. Owned by father and son Miguel and Jose Luis Simone, they offer personalized tastings of their products in their tasting room on site, which is also where they sell all of their products since you will not find them on store shelves where you can also buy non-olive products ranging from sun-dried tomatoes to chutneys, nuts, and jams. Ozamis Sur 1553 Russell, 0261- 481 1151, www.olivicolasimone.com
Illustrations by Donough O’Malley www.pencilrobot.net
When you enter Pasrai, you feel like you’ve just stumbled upon a secret garden. Their reception area is full of olive, lemon, peach, cherry, and apricot trees, along with beautiful flower and herb plants that thrive on their sunny patio. On their tour you learn how Pasrai has dedicated themselves to the traditional practices of olive oil making, and how this business has run in the Muravnik family blood for decades (hence the name of their extra virgin olive oil line ‘Quinta Generacion’ or Fifth Generation). From their outstanding flavored olive oils to their deliciously sweet dried fruit and sundried tomatoes, it is unlikely you will leave empty handed after the tasting at the end of the tour. Reservation recommended. Ozamis Sur 2731 Russel, (0261) 154 7076 76, www. pasrai.com.ar
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chefmunkim email@example.com Mendoza
Olives and a little bit more With the boom of the olive oil industry, there are some unique experiences of olive oil offered in Mendoza which can take your experience of liquid gold to another level. Amanda Barnes checks out three of the best.
Posada Verde Oliva
Having played next door as a child, when Julia Moreno saw this beautiful family estate up for sale she and her husband jumped at the chance to live on this quaint farm in the heart of leafy Maipu. Now surrounded by Malbec vines and olive oil trees, Posada Verde Oliva is a boutique hotel that gives guests a relaxing stay in the countryside while getting to learn intimately the beauty of olive oil. Guests can harvest with the family in season, or can taste the olive oil and enjoy its flavors through home cooking at the posada during the rest of the year (along with their gorgeous homemade Malbec); however the most indulgent way to really experience the rich olive oil from the garden is through the olive-therapy! Offered with homemade olive oil beauty products, therapists expertly use them while you rest in the comfort of your room or in the new spa area. A deeply rewarding experience is the therapeutic back massage with their silky olive massage oil while relaxing to the sound of birds in the garden. If you want to take a little bit of spa indulgence home try out their extensive collection of products (we particularly love their Fine Exfoliating Cream and Facial Moisturizer) which are available in the Posada or other retail outlets including Sol y Vino, Terra Viva, the Sheraton and Arena Maipu. Montecaseros 2223, Coquimbito, (0261) 481 3889, www.verdeoliva.com.ar
Posada Verde Oliva
Pan y Oliva, Familia Zuccardi
For a truly gourmet olive oil experience and hands-on harvesting Zuccardi is one of the best places to visit. This family winery has been making olive oil for a decade and continues to win local and international awards as one of the best producers in Argentina. However there is more to the visiting experience than the guided tasting of their oils. You can tour around their compact olive press and if you are visiting during the olive season (April - May) you can see the process in action or take part in harvesting. A day of harvesting starts with coffee before picking your own olives and pressing them to make your bespoke olive oil which is bottled and ready to enjoy over lunch and take home. For those with an appetite, a visit to their Pan y Oliva restaurant is a must. The rustic chic restaurant has one of the best-stocked olive shops (olive food products, spa products and even olive painted art!) and an unparalleled olive-based menu. Their healthy, deli style menu has delightful dishes like beetroot and goatâ€™s cheese pancakes with green olive paste; blue cheese, olive, rocket and Portobello mushroom salad dressed in Arauco olive oil; and also more surprising dishes but equally as delicious like raspberries with olive sorbet; and olive oil and dark chocolate torte. Rounded off with one of Zuccardiâ€™s great dessert wines and a coffee in the attractive garden overlooking the olive groves, makes a perfect olive day out! Zuccardi, Ruta Provincial 33, Km 7.5, Maipu (261) 441 0000, www. familiazuccardi.com.ar 11
Finca las Marujitas
With 110 hectares of over 80,000 olive trees planted, this estate in East Mendoza has a strong emphasis on olive oil making its own award winning and unique Changlot oil. In a visit you can also try their gourmet deli food line including stuffed olives, chutneys and marmalades as well as olive oil infused cosmetics. A rustic posada, restaurant, bar, spa treatments, tea room and shop will keep the adults happy while children can entertain themselves in the castle-sized play area and petting zoo. Calle Pantano s/n, Jocoli Viejo, Lavalle, Mendoza, (0261) 457 3371, www.fincalasmarujitas.com.ar
How olive oil is made By Madeline Blasberg
Pruned and Watered: Olive trees are watered monthly or weekly, and pruned so that no branches grow in the center, allowing every branch lots of light and nutrients. Harvest, April - May: Olives are picked by hand or machine which shakes the branches causing olives to fall. The fruit is processed as soon after the harvest as possible. Clean-up: Twigs, leaves and stems are removed and the olives are washed. Grinding: Olives (pits and all) are ground into a paste, a strange kind of tapenade. This grinding can be done by large stone wheels, or by stainless steel rollers. Pressing: The olive paste is pressed between metal disks, or spun in a centrifuge. The oil separates from the water and the solids, but a few tiny sediment particles remain. Stored: The nearly-pure oil is then stored in large stainless steel containers. Over time, any remaining sediments sink to the bottom, self-filtering and leaving behind a clear oil ready for consumption. Bottled and Labeled and ready! Olive oil is best consumed as soon as made.
FINCA LAS MARUJITAS
Olive Oil Wishlist For this edition’s Wishlist we did a special tasting with olive oil guru Celina Pennisi who has been judging olive oil contests for a decade and teaches courses at Wine Institute in Mendoza (Sarmiento 786, (261) 423 0909). We tried single varietal oils, blends, flavored oils and Laur’s special terroir blend selection. With a wide selection of olive oils in front of us, Celina taught us about the history of olive oil in Argentina and around the world and gave us a demonstration on how to professionally taste, here’s a run down for anyone that wants to try at home: Olive oil should be tasted in a small wide bottomed glass and you should trap the aromas with a lid until ready to taste. Gently swirl the oil and breath in all the aromas then take a small amount in your mouth and oxygenate it a bit by breathing in. As you swallow you should take in the flavors and mouth feel of the oil, and watch out for the spicy kick at the finish! With Christmas shopping firmly in mind, here some of our favorites from the tasting:
Maguay, Manzanilla: This lighter varietal from this family producer has wonderfully light floral aromas which reminded us of fresh chamomile tea and has a lingering and warm mouth feel. www.maguay. com.ar Miguel Simone, Frantoio:
Although a less common varietal in Argentina, Frantoio is popular in Italy. This oil from Maipu has notes of freshly cut grass and a hint of tropical fruit with a spicy kick on the finish. www.olivicolasimone.com
Argentina’s emblematic olive variety, this family winery makes an exceptional olive oil full of personality with a lasting spice which makes it good for pairing with full flavored dishes. Very low acidity with a lot of impact! www.carinaevinos.com
Finca las Marujitas, Changlot: This unique varietal is
actually usually an eating olive, but this olive producer in Lavalle decided to make extra virgin olive oil with it instead and it has turned some heads 12
in the industry and won international awards since. Delicate and fruity. www.fincalasmarujitas.com.ar
Renacer, Arauco: A very vegetal arauco oil taken from the old
olive oil trees on the winery property. This limited edition oil has a smooth entrance and light mouth feel but a spicy finish with arugula flavors. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar
Olivar de Lunta, Arauco blend: Made for this boutique
winery, their blend of Arauco olives produce a fruity extra virgin olive oil with the trademark bitterness gracing a savory, herbal end note. www. mendel.com.ar
Pasrai, Quinta Generacion, Albahaca: Made with
their classic extra virgin olive oil, this producer makes a line of flavored olive oils including garlic, basil, oregano and rosemary. Their basil olive oil would be ideal to drizzle on a homemade pizza a la parilla! www. pasrai.com.ar
Mendoza’s Malvinas Argentinas Stadium is one of the prides of the region. It hosts domestic and international football and since last winter it is now one of the venues of the Southern Hemispehere Rugby Championship. Will Fry compares the difference between a football and rugby match.
The Football Experience
I’m not going to lie, having never seen a live football match in South America I was feeling a tad apprehensive. Luckily though, we had a fantastic guide for the day, Marcelo, to channel us through the chaos, share top footie knowledge and heighten the match day experience. Every football match in Europe I’ve ever been to has more or less followed the same process of: drink beer, get to match, watch match, go home, drink beer. Even though Marcelo greeted us at the Park gates with a can of lager, I could tell from the beginning this was going to be a different experience to home as he handed us a wad of shredded newspaper. After a moment of bemusement we learnt it’s essential to have some shredded paper to throw for when the team enters on their first match of the season. Walking through the park to the stadium the relative tranquillity started to fade as we got closer to the pounding of drums in the distance. These are the infamous `hinchas` (fans) as they begin their intimidating march towards the stadium. There are two important sectors within the masses, one carrying an enormous banner (which we were later to be engulfed in) and the other being the band, essential to lead the crowd in the chants which fill the stadium for the entire ninety minutes. Once confined inside the stadium, there is electricity in the air enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. Shredded newspaper in hand, we greeted the players by launching it in their general direction and the view is blotted out for a moment by the thousands of pieces of paper which fill the air. The match itself was fantastic; the `hinchas’ terrace almost becomes a single organism which swells to follow the tempo of every changing moment of the match. Our guide Marcelo was on hand at all times, when he wasn’t singing louder than most of the people around us, to answer any questions. Then, before you know it, the match is over and your view is completely obscured as the enormous banner comes down. The singing reaches a crescendo, as deafening as any rock concert, before the banner is passed back and vision is restored. The experience of being in the ‘popular’ seats at a football match is an essential Argentine experience. And I can proudly say that now I know at least 20 insults in Spanish. Marcelo is a guide for ‘Futbol en Mendoza’ taking tourists and foreigners
to matches with a local bi-lingual guide, a welcome beer and discount food and beers after the match. (261) 642 8382 or www.facebook.com/ futbolenmendoza
The Rugby Experience
Having been to an international game of rugby before, in a sparsely filled Olympic Stadium in Rome on a day of freezing February snow, my expectation for the Pumas v the Springboks weren’t too high. Much to my surprise they were surpassed by a huge margin. Having previously experienced a football match at the Malvinas Stadium, I didn’t believe that the atmosphere would be able to match what had been such a unique experience, or so I thought. There was a tangible excitement in the air. Mendoza had hosted an international rugby match before but this was something entirely different, Four Nations rugby. After a fairly lacklustre performance in their first game in South Africa, the Pumas were bound to come out fighting in front of a packed stadium of expectant home fans. As the Springboks emerged from the tunnel, accompanied by incandescent yellow and green smoke, they were met by what could only be described as a smattering of polite applause. The noise which greeted the subsequent entrance of the Pumas almost lifted me off my feet. Those who had come to the ground easily matched the decibels of the football fans. From the outset the Pumas displayed the greater discipline and attacking prowess, much to the delight of the crowd. Once again to match the `hinchas` at the football, the masses of rugby aficionados kept the noise levels high and the cheers carried on but contrary to football it was a bit more civilised with no swearing and racist songs. Although the shouts during the penalties seemed a bit uncivilised for Rugby. Even though the Pumas eventually only drew with the Springboks, there was a rapturous standing ovation for the Pumas once the whistle blew for full time, and rightly so. They played beyond expectations, and the atmosphere throughout and after the game was testament to that. If international rugby is like that all the time then I’m definitely going to have to make sure that I go again.
A Worker’s Paradise Amanda Barnes looks at the obvious benefits of living in Argentina: the surprising number of public holidays.
Christmas is, as Andy Williams sang, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ because to the majority of us it means a couple well deserved long weekends. The idea of getting extra time off work, which doesn’t involve precious holiday leave, frankly makes it quite ‘wonderful’, especially for those living in countries with stingy holiday leave entitlements (take out your violin for people living in China and the Phillippines who only get 5 days annual leave!) In Argentina too there is elation at this ‘holiday’ season but with 19 public holidays a year, a day off work is not an unusual occurrence. Since her election in 2007, President Kirchner has added 5 bank holidays to the already bulging list and that now means the country tops the charts for the most public holidays in the world. To add to these you have regional holidays within each province and every profession has their own unique day off during the calendar too: student’s day, teacher’s day, plumber’s day, shop assistant’s day... The list goes on, but here’s a scaled down version of holidays in Argentina for 2013 and how they are celebrated: Christmas: 25th December (& a half day on 24th) : Families gather to spend Christmas Eve drinking and eating huge dinners until midnight when everyone steps outside the house for a barrage of fireworks. While the kids are outside oohing and ahhing, Father Christmas sneaks inside and delivers all the gifts. Manic present unwrapping unfolds and then the young at heart party on in nightclubs until the wee hours of the morning. Christmas Day usually involves a big barbecue.. New Year - 1st January (& a half day on 31st Dec): One week later the same happens again. Celebrations are pretty similar, with the exception of no present giving and some families following their Spanish heritage by eating 12 grapes on the strike of midnight. Partying all night, hangovers and a full-blown asado all follow in due course. Bicentenary of the Constituent Assembly: 31st January: 2012 saw a couple unique bicentenary holidays for political landmarks, and so 2013 also has a special holiday too - this time for the Constituent Assembly Bicentenary. As a new holiday there isn’t really anything planned, probably just a nice summer BBQ with friends. Carnival - February 11th & 12th February: You may have thought that Carnival was just for Brazil but President Kirchner decided to reinstate it into Argentine culture too. Most of the country use it as an excuse to sleep in late but in eastern Argentina (especially in Gualeguaychú) you can see some people shake a few tail feathers! Battle of Salta - 20th February: Another new one for 2013, celebrating one of the independence battles. Some people in Salta might re-enact the battle or dress traditionally for the day, but most will probably just throw a few more ribs on the BBQ.
Remembrance Day for Truth and Justice - 24th March: This is a quieter feriado where people remember the stolen children from the military dictatorship. Good Friday - 29th March: The Easter calendar sees this Friday off work for the Christian festival. Malvinas Day - 2nd April (and 1st April - bonus tourist bridge day!): This day commemorates those that died in the Malvinas war. Because 2nd April falls on a Tuesday, Monday 1st has been declared another public holiday as a ‘touristic bridge’ so that people can use the long weekend for holidays. That makes Easter weekend a… wait for it… five day weekend this year! Got to love Argentina! Worker’s Day -1st May: So obviously no-one works. First Day of National Government - 25th May: You’ll see a road in every city for this day as well as a public holiday. Flag Day - 20th June (and 21st June - bonus tourist bridge day!): Thought we’d seen a ‘tourism bridge’ already? Yep, but this time as Flag Day lands on a Thursday, you can take the Friday off too. Flag Day is spent remembering the death of the flag creator, Manual Belgrano. Everyone likes flags when they result in a four day weekend. Independence Day - 9th July: As if the first national government wasn’t enough, this is the holiday for when they declared independence, six years later. San Martin’s Day-19th August: This day celebrates Argentina’s liberator and all round hero, General San Martin. Although actual San Martin Day is the 17th, because this year that is a Saturday, the holiday has been moved back two days so everyone can get a day off on Monday. After all, there isn’t much point having a day off on the weekend. Lots of gauchos dress up and parade around for this holiday, before having an asado. Dia del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural - 14th October: This is a tricky one, it used to be ‘Race Day’ celebrating Colombus’ arrival in the Americas but obviously this looks a bit racist nowadays. Instead of forgetting the holiday all together, it is now the mouthier ‘Day of respect for cultural diversity’. Again, it is normally on a different date (12th) but being a Saturday when everyone is off anyway, the public holiday is this year on a Monday. Day of National Sovereignty - 25th November: Memory of an 1845 battle against an Anglo-French blockade. It should actually be on Wednesday 20th, but it seems that the government just generally prefer for public holidays to land on a Monday. Otherwise they might need to call a two day ‘tourism bridge’… perhaps someone in charge decided that was a bit too excessive. Virgin Mary’s Day - 8th December: You aren’t supposed to party too hard on this one, but don’t worry - it’s only just over two weeks till Christmas again.
Casas del Bosque
A trip to the other side:
Casablanca and the beaches Summer is always everyone’s favorite time of year, but in Mendoza it can also be one of the quietest. With holiday leave and hot city temperatures, locals literally go running for the hills, or more often than not, over the hills to nearby Chile. If you find yourself making a quick escape for some fresh sea breeze, don’t look past one of the main wine regions Casablanca valley. Amanda Barnes takes us through the ins and outs of Casablanca and some of its wineries, while Madeline Blasberg gives us a quick guide to Mendocineans’ favorite beaches on the other side. Casablanca as a name may conjure up images of Humphrey Bogart in far flung Morocco but although Chile´s own Casablanca has none of the black and white romance, it does hold its own intrigue. Bathed in a cool white fog every morning, Casablanca Valley 100kms west of Santiago is quite unique to drive into. Coming from the smog of Chile’s capital city, green hills emerge and sunlight is ubiquitous until you hit Casablanca. The valley is literally swamped in white fog which rolls in from the Pacific sea 30kms on the West and doesn’t usually clear up until the afternoon. This unusual microclimate along with dangerous frosts, a water shortage and little vegetation at first scared off many Chilean winery owners who usually plant in the sunny flat plains. Visionaries like Pablo Morande took the risk to plant there in the early 1980s believing that the cool mornings would add greater complexity to wines while maintaining good sugar and acidity. When they started producing good wines the rest of the industry took notice and now Casablanca has over 2,500 hectares of vines. It is best known for its cool climate Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. A trip through wine country in Casablanca is full of variety from big industrial wineries to small, boutique operations. As you drive through the valley there are a handful of wineries on the main Route 68 (all very well signed) including Indomita, a large white Hollywood style castle on top of a hill overlooking the valley. This is a big producer in the area and a visit to the winery shows you the large production scale. Tours start on a platform overlooking the vineyard below learning about the vines and unique microclimate of Casablanca, carry on through the winery and finish with a tasting on the blindingly white patio. An attached restaurant specializing in Chilean delicacies is another attraction for tourists. (www.indomita.cl, Ruta 68, km 64) Another winery that is popular with tourists is El Cuadro further into the countryside up winding lanes through steep hillsides. Even though there isn’t actually a winery on the property yet, this vineyard draws in an impressive number of visitors and rightly so with their
well honed tour and professional staff. You could easily spend an entire day here and there is plenty to keep the entire family happy with varied activities. A full day visit starts out with a tour through the cava with its enormous barrels and homage to Bacchus then through the incredible wine museum which is decked out with old machinery and life size models demonstrating how wine was made in years gone past. Next you move out to the vineyards in a horse drawn carriage for a very informative tour through the vines and a walk through a specially planted vine garden where you can see, learn about and taste (in growing season) 26 different varietals. The wine tasting is accompanied by chocolate, cheese and fruits and to top it all off you end with a rodeo show learning about the traditions of Chile and watching gauchos run with cattle on horses. That’s not even mentioning the peacocks, royal carriage from Versailles, chapel, restaurant and fantastic Sauvignon Blanc Sour! At times it can be a little cheesy, but El Cuadro does without a doubt offer one of the best oenotourism experiences in Casablanca. (www.elcuadro.cl, Camino La Vinilla km 14) Smaller wineries shouldn’t be overlooked either and they offer some of the best wine in the region. Casas del Bosque ought to be on your list for its beautiful wines and picturesque setting. A state-ofthe-art winery set on sloping hillsides, Casas del Bosque was built in 2000 and is one of the leading producers in the region with many international accolades behind it. A tour of the winery reveals its modern approach to precision winemaking and there is an attractive restaurant attached where you can enjoy the great wines with organic and locally sourced, contemporary Chilean cuisine. Their part barrel fermented Pequeñas Producciones Sauvignon Blanc is outstanding and the Late Harvest Reisling has just scooped a Decanter International Trophy. (www.casasdelbosque.cl, Hijuela 2, Ex-Fundo Santa Rosa) Two other stand out wineries in Casablanca are Emiliana and Matetic which both produce biodynamic and organic wines. Matetic is set on a beautiful rolling estate farmland with vines as far as the eye
can see. The new winery is built into the side of a hill in order to naturally control the temperature and the glistening modern facility has a stunning barrel room with atmospheric natural light illuminating the rounded cava. Tours include an explanation of what biodynamic means and you finish with a tasting of their impeccable wines. (www. mateticvineyards.cl, Fundo El Rosario, Lagnunillas) A visit to Emiliana is actually a visit to the vineyard (the winery is in Colchagua) but the vine management is undoubtedly the most interesting part of any visit to a biodynamic producer. A pastoral setting, the small visitors’ centre is well equipped for tasting and picnics in the garden. Tours begin with a walk around the vines learning how winemaking really begins in the vineyard and guides teach you about the principles of biodynamics as different farm animals wander around the property. Interestingly you can visit a small underground chamber where they make special preparations for the vines such as chamomile, flower extracts and quartz. Social Responsibility is also a big part of Emiliana and a visit includes seeing the local workers’ own vegetable patch where they can grow their own food while working on the vines. The best way to finish with the tasting is to try out their organic cheese and chocolate pairing option where explosive pairings such as chocolate dusted ginger with a Chardonnay and Marsanne blend; and Merken spiced cheese with a Syrah and Carmenere blend give you a memorable experience in flavor pairings. (www.emiliana. cl, Ruta 68, km 60.7) As one of the newest wine regions in Chile, the great infrastructure of the wine route is truly impressive. Wineries are easily accessible by car with many open at the weekends, almost all offer tours in English.
Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
With nearly 6,500 km of coastline, Chile offers a veritable buffet of beaches for those seeking to dip their toes in the cool waters of the Pacific. With such a large selection, the question of where to go suddenly becomes a game of matchmaking… Madeline Blasberg looks at the Mendocineans favorite spots to get their kit off.
Viña del Mar
Arguably Chile’s premier beach resort, Viña is a hotspot for tourists with cash. Though the icy water makes for a teeth-chattering swim, it also allows for a coastline brimming with delicious seafood restaurants and a good amount of shoreline shopping. Beach bag essential: Enough pesos to shop the boardwalk and come away with a Chilean treasure.
This 1.3 Km stretch of beach resort coast line can scarcely accommodate the evenly-tanned prepsters that perch in its sands. If ever a beach could be ‘hip,’ Renaca would be it. Though the waves are a bit too much to handle 20
for actual swimming, beachgoers take quick dips in the chilly water before continuing their rotisserie sun-tanning regimen. Beach bag essential: A shnazy pair of rip-off Raybans. Don’t have any? Lucky for you, every stall along the boardwalk will be happy to sell you a set - for gringo prices, unless your Spanish accent is up to par.
The Ying to Viña’s yang, Valpo - Chile’s primary sea port - offers a colorful, historical, charismatic alternative to the sometimes tiresome pace of the beach resort towns. The coastline that inspired Neruda and the rolling hills crowded with brightly painted houses make the setting idyllic albeit a little dilapidated. Out
Mendoza Santiago Bariloche
VIÑA DEL MAR
of over 36 beaches, only 5 are ok for a swim: Las Torpederas, Caleta Abarca, Las Salinas, Los Lilenes and Playa Amarilla. However, these beaches have steep drop-offs, something to keep in mind if you’re venturing far from shore. Beach bag essential: Umbrella or a brimmed hat, as shade will be hard to come by.
As the popularity of Viña and Valpo beaches grow, some visitors are breaking away from the herd and heading north to La Serena (conveniently located the other side of a quieter border control at San Juan). Waves and rip currents make conditions dangerous for taking a plunge, however beach bars and loungers suit land lovers. Closer to Coquimbo VALPARAISO
and south of Cuatro Esquinas, you can swim the warmer waters and they are a hotspot for water sports. Beach bag essential: Surf gear.
The coastal resort of Concón, just north of Viña del Mar is a leafy green escape from the urban vibe of Viña. The 10 Km route connecting the two cities not only makes for an interesting bike ride, it also is home to some of the best stetches of beach in all of Chile. The three main beaches in Concón are Playa Negra, Amarilla and Boca. Playa Amarilla, a favorite among families with small children, offers calm waters, fine sand and (mostly) free parking. Beach bag essential: Food and libations, as
there is not an ample selection of restaurants and stores nearby.
Regardless of how earnest their argument, no one comes to Playa Luna for the birdwatching. At least, it seems unlikely. This bird sanctuary is also the only official nudist beach in Chile. Tucked into a secluded nook of coastline just north of Valparaíso, Playa Luna is reachable by hiking the shoreline from the cove of Horcón. Nude, partially nude, or bundled up in a parka, the atmosphere is relaxed and the waves are welcoming. Beach bag essential: Ditch the beach bag and swimming costume, just bring yourself and a strong SPF!
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.
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. 261429-5567.www.believeirishpub.com.ar
This is where everyone ends their night in the city centre. A bar with cheesy music, sticky floors and rammed full of tourists and locals bumping uglies together in the dark - you either love it or hate it, but most of us end up loving it! Aristides Villanueva 557.
A laid back American style burger bar with a good playlist and a patio outside, Cachitas boasts one of the best barmen in the city. Christian from Germany has travelled the globe perfecting the art of cocteleria and here you can sample some fab drinks that will get your night off to a good start. Sarmiento 784. Mon - Sat, 6pm till late.
la casa usher
This bohemian hot spot in Alameda hosts a weekly live music and tango performances. 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. Wednesday nights is 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, blues, rock, folk, live theatre and pretty much anything else. La Casa Usher, 2259 Alameda, (261) 15 304 3602. 8pm till late (performances 11pm), closed on Mondays.
The Vines of Mendoza
As the first and only true tasting room in South America, The Vines of Mendoza offers the broadest selection of premium boutique wines from Argentina. The bar has just opened in a new location on Belgrano and everything is shiny and new. Compare the wine notes with one of their tasting flights or choose a glass from the impressive list of limited production wines. Chatting with their learned bartenders and sipping fabulous flavours makes for a truly enjoyable afternoon. Belgrano 1194, Tel. 261 438-1031. Mon-Sat, 3pm-10pm www.vinesofmendoza.com
dining out mendoza city
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: $130 pesos.
For an intimate, unusual and memorable evening - Ituzaingo is one of the city’s best kept secrets. A ‘closed door’ restaurant located in a historic house in the bohemian quarter, Ituzaingo has been receiving rave reviews from locals, expats and travellers alike who relish in the warm atmosphere, good company, unique art, and good food all accompanied by an eclectic music mix. The maestro in question is Gonzalo Cuervo who likes to welcome in up to 45 people in his attractive loft conversion house or leafy summer garden, and his chef Lucan can delight guests with an eight course menu of Argentine flavours catered to an international palate, or simply relax with a glass of wine and nibble on a picada or empanadas. This is a real place to meet the wines, food, art, music and hospitality of Argentina. Ituzaingo, tel (261) 15 666 5778, firstname.lastname@example.org, 8 course menu of argentine cuisine with 3 glasses of wine and a welcome drink, or you can order sharing plates and wine by the glass.Prices between 140 - 230 pesos per person. Open Tues, Thurs, Fri & Sat from 8.30pm. Reservations essential and call for more info on new private cooking classes and special guided wine tastings.
Patrona Anna Bistro
Florentino is a real delight. An intimate, artistic bistro tucked into a converted house by Plaza Italia provides the perfect nook to try some of Mendocino chef Sebastian Flores’ salubrious and scrumptious dishes. We recommend the indulgent mushrooms with cheese (proper parmesan), thyme and garlic croutons, or the warm salad of squid, chorizo and watercress. There is a nice variety of mains - and it hasn’t taken long for their succulent chivito (baby goat) to become the thing of Mendoza legends: moist, tender and lean on a bed of creamy polenta and roasted garlic. Desserts are just as irresistible as is the extensive Argentine wine list. Florentino has made a very promising start and its beautiful simplicity and good taste is a real charm. Montevideo 675. Tel: (261) 464 9077. Mon - Sat, 12.30pm - 12am (serves early dinner also). Avg meal AR$135 pesos (without wine) 26
This cosy Mendocino restaurant has a casual, rustic charm about it. A colourful hub of activity on a quiet street, Patrona attracts a crowd full of locals every night of the week who come for the honest, traditional Argentine food and friendly and
warm atmosphere. Classic dishes like the hearty empanadas and sizzling asado are worthy and popular fare but the real star here is Patrona’s warm, open sandwiches We recommend the artichoke hearts and goats cheese; roasted vegetables with white wine and honey; or the more traditional pick of rich glands cooked in lemon. A decent wine list and some satisfying desserts complete the gastronomy experience but the key to Patrona is the cosy way that they really make you feel at home. Mi casa es Patrona casa! 9 de Julio 656. Tel: (261) 4291057. Mon to Sat: 12.30pm - 3.30pm and 8.30pm - close. Avg. meal cost: $100/ (including starter, main dish, dessert+a glass of wine)
With an attractive fairy lit patio and terrace outside, this is the perfect spot for Summer. Opened recently by three friends, El Mercadito is offering something a little bit different to Mendoza. With a cool vibe, relaxed music and attractive waiting staff, this is quickly becoming a favorite hot spot for a coffee, bite to eat or evening cocktails. Opening in the morning for healthy breakfasts and antioxidant juices, El Mercadito stays open throughout the siesta with its light menu of sandwiches, big salads and some Argentine classic meals. Chow down to big healthy salads like the ‘Langoustine’ with huge juicy prawns, fresh avocado and green leaves or tuck into one of their big toasted sandwiches like smoked salmon and cream cheese, or jamon crudo and arugula served with chunky chips and
homemade BBQ sauce. As the sun goes down make sure to try out one of their yummy strawberry mojitos! El Mercadito, Aristides Villanueva 521, (261) 4638847. Avg. meal price: $80.
As the first Italian restaurant in Mendoza, La Marchigiana has plenty of history and traditional recipes to whet any nonna’s appetite. Maria Teresa Corradini de Barbera moved to Argentina with her parents as a teenage from war torn La Marche, Italy, in 1948 in the search for peace. They didn’t find peace, but they did find the Argentines had a penchant for Italian food. The family restaurant started off with only six Italian dishes but has grown into a popular local fixture with dozens of hearty pasta dishes alongside other typical Argentine fare. Check out the Brad Pitt photo for celeb credentials. Patricias Mendocinas 1550. (261) 423 0751. Avg. meal $100
as ‘flirting’, ‘last sensation’ and ‘wet, wet, wet’. The good taste and character showing through are those of the three Farro sisters and their brother. The creative mind in the kitchen is middle sister Belen who creates fresh and innovative dishes with plenty of meat, fish and veg options. Lots of different salads and starters, creative ciabattas such as blue cheese and rainbow trout, pasta dishes including artichoke lasagna and their signature dish of sticky BBQ ribs, all sit on the menus in this attractive house in the 5ta. Save room for their refreshing sage crème brulee or oozing Chocolate volcano to savour Farrah’s ‘last sensation’. Tues - Sun from 8pm, open for an Lunch Special Menu with two courses and coffee for $45. Paso de los Andes 1006, tel (261) 423 9981. Avg. meal: $90
Located in the elegant Park Hyatt, Grill Q serves up traditional regional cuisine at a five star level. Sit back in the chic parilla style restaurant amongst the cowhides and local artwork, pick from one of the many Mendocinean wines, make your order and watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen. They are famous for their grilled meats and gigantic empanadas, and serve hearty Argentine classics such as ‘locro’ - a stew which hails back to the early independence days. Save room for the stunning desserts. The Hyatt’s other restaurant, Bistro M, offers a more gourmet evening menu and the most exuberant ‘lunch menu’ in town. With a gorgeous buffet spread of starters like thai squid salad, chicken ceasar with macadamia nuts and mezze style tapas, you’ll need to bring your stretchy waistbands to fit in the hearty and flavourful main options and the sumptuous dessert buffet on top. Put aside an hour or two for this tempting lunch. Chile 1124. (261) 441 1225. Avg. meal Grill Q $180 pesos. Bistro M Executive Menu $170 with starter buffet, main course, dessert buffet and glass of wine
Farrah is the type of restaurant that shines in personality, from the funky and colourful décor and eclectic music, to the unique wine list and menu that has dishes such
to remember. Open Fridays and Saturdays to a maximum of 12 people, the evening starts with sparkling wine while watching a ‘petit cirque’ trapeze act, tango or live music after which you can take your time over a three course meal. Dishes – such as caramelized pears on soft brioche with creamy brie and salty pancetta - are simple and appetizing using local produce and playing with flavor combinations for an interesting wine pairing experience. Open Fri & Sat night or for large reservations. Price $210 , Italia 6016, Chacras, (261) 496 1877.
Tucked away among the sprawling Maipu vineyards lies Club Tapiz Resort and its lovely restaurant Terruño. This handsome eatery boasts an elegant interior, excellent service and a wine list that is sure to please even the most finicky of wine snobs. Their chef compiles a tantalising menu that includes top notch lomo steaks, a rotating range of salads and a savory ginger/honey chicken dish that is second to none. If you like what you see and taste, book a room in one of their seven Renaissance-style villas. Don’t forget to call ahead for dinner reservations! Ruta 60 s/n 5517 Maipú. AR$ 190. Tel: (261) 496 0131. tapiz.com. Lunch, everyday, 12pm - 3pm. Dinner, Sun - Thurs, 8pm-11pm, Fri & Sat until 12am. Avg. meal cost: $180 pesos.
Casa de Campo
outside city center Casa Margot
Tucked away in the secluded house of late-artist Eliana Molinelli, Casa Margot is a real gem. A stunning world of recycled architecture, striking sculptures and intimate nooks and crannies, this boho chic, tango-inspired restaurant is an experience
This charming restaurant is a real Mendocinean institution - for nine years they have been serving up traditional dishes like suckling pig and braised rabbit from ‘Grandma’s recipes’ and are a favourite on the Maipu dining circuit for lunch. Two months ago the same family and friend team behind the original Casa de Campo opened a new parilla style restaurant 100m down the road to compliment the lunch restaurant, by offering some of the same homemade classics alongside grilled meats and vegetables in the evenings. Succulent cuts of meat, a fantastic wine list, live music and shows on Thursdays and a large garden for all the family make this a personal and truly Argentine experience. Restaurant Urquiza 1516 (lunch) & Parilla Urquiza 1702 (dinner and Sunday lunch), Coquimbito, Maipu. Lunch everyday at the restaurant from 12pm to 6pm, Dinner at the Parilla Wed - Sat from 9pm and Sunday lunch. (261) 481 1605. 27
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
Winery in Focus: CECCHIN
This organic family winery is a little gem in Maipu. The Cecchin family came from Italy over a century ago and started making wine in 1959. Alberto Cecchin now carries on the family tradition and follows biodynamic and organic principles in the beautiful vineyard and the small winery. A visit starts by walking through the vine rows outside where you learn the winery’s great respect for the vines and natural biodiversity of the land, and then continue through to the winery finishing for a tasting of whichever wines you want. There is also a restaurant serving fresh local produce and in the Summer you can eat outside beside the vines. Bodega Familia Cecchin, Manuel A. Saenz 626, Maipu, (0261) 497 6707. 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 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 28
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 Old, family owned operation with lots of heritage, handsome cellars and a tasting room.(0261) 498 1974. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond, Luján de Cuyo. www.luigibosca.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.
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
Vistalba Tasting room where one entire wall is a subterranean cross section of the actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks. Fab restaurant. Fav Wine: Petit Verdot. (0261) 498 9400. Roque Saenz Peña 3135, Vistalba. www. carlospulentawines.com
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 261524-4417. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar
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
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
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. Calle Cobos 13710, Lujan de Cuyo. www. piattellivineyards.com Achaval Ferrer Modern boutique close to Mendoza riverbed. Big concentrated wines. (0261) 488 1131.Calle Cobos 2601, Perdriel, Lujan de Cuyo. www. achaval-ferrer.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
Luján de Cuyo
Valle de Uco
Driving time from Mendoza City
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. 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 6.5Lujan 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.
We sit down with Javier La Forte from Pulenta Estate, to find out what wine floats his boat at Christmas and where he wants to spend his holidays this Summer. How did you fall in love with wine? And what has been your greatest influence in winemaking? My father is an agro-engineer and my grandfather worked in the vineyard, through them I heard about wines and vines since I was a child. I think in the influence of styles and terroirs, all of my experiences in other places of the world have been different but I like the concept of blending from France. Obviously here you understand the single varietal kind of wines and the strength of the fruit but it’s mixed with the art of blending from the Old World. Is good wine made in the vineyard or winery? I think that both are incredibly important. You can have very good grapes but if you don’t have good things in your winery good knowledge, technology and people you can’t make good wine. We are all head over heels with your Cabernet Franc which Pulenta has spearheaded for Argentina, what is the most interesting varietal to work with?
They are all complicated! I like all the varietals but three principally. I’m in love with Cabernet Franc but it’s incredibly difficult to make, in the vineyard, in the winery… When something is difficult but you have something good at the end, it is worth it! We have five Malbecs, so we use Malbec in lots of different ways and that makes it one of my favorite varietals. I love Merlot because it’s an incredible tool for blending and I like it a lot as a varietal and the Merlot here is incredibly complex. What is your favorite wine to drink over the festive season? I always like to taste young wines, but during the summer I prefer a fresh rose or Sauvignon Blanc. In the rest of the year I prefer reds for parties. Where would you most like to spend your Summer holidays? At my house. It’s because it’s where I like to cook… I like to make fish on the BBQ cooked in foil with butter and lemon. Everyone says fish is good with white, but I like fish with reds. I like our [Pulenta Estate] Pinot Noir for that.
VALLE DE UCO 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
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 29
the winery guide
LOCATIONS REFERENCES Mendoza City Neuquén City
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. Zelazar Chapanay, San Martín.
Neuquén Bodega del Fin del Mundo This large industrial winery is Patagonia’s biggest producer and has an impressive range of varietals. (0299) 4855004, RP No 8km, 9 San Patricio del Chañar. Bodega Familia Schroeder A large winery with a good restaurant that produces lots of sparkling wine and Pinot Noir and has dinosaur fossils in the cava. (0299) 4899600, RP No 7, Calle 7 Northe, San Patricio del Chañar. Bodega NQN An attractive boutique production of unique wines with a handsome rustic restaurant and a small posada. (0299) 4897500, RP No 7 Calle 15, San Patricio del Chañar.
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. Familia Schroeder
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 (see below) to Urquiza street where you’ll find several bike rental companies. Some are notorious for dodgy bikes. Check and double check you get a good mount as a puncture can cause a mini nightmare. Head south, as north of Maipu is urban and not pretty. Recommended wineries: Rutini, Tempus Alba, Di Tommasso and certainly Carinae. When returning have a late lunch at the excellent Casa de Campo. Nightclubs In most nightclubs you have to queue twice for a drink which can get slightly exasperating as the night wears on. It is wise to buy several drink tickets at once for an easy, unimpeded flow of alcohol. Bathrooms are usually ill equiped so bring your own toilet paper. Many nightclubs are 200 light years away in Chacras which can cause problems getting home. Clubs rarely get going before 2am. Taxi Services Taxi Godoy Cruz Tel: 427-0055 - Radiomóvil Guaymallén Tel: 445-5855 - Mendocar Paraná 250 Tel: 423-6666 - La Veloz del Este Alem 439 Teléfono: 423-9090. Mendoza Expats Club An organization which enables Expatriates to meet each other. www.mendozaexpats.org. Hair Dresser English speaking and eccentric hairdresser Haisley from Delite will do your hairdo right. Arístides Villanueva 444. (261) 429-9124 Leocut: Mendoza plaza shopping, (0261) 4490239
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