MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nยบ58 OCT / NOV 2012
A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE DESERT TACKLING THE TERROIR OF MENDOZA WINERY GUIDE TO MENDOZA
w w w. w i n e - r e p u b l i c . c o m
Electricity, water and roads infrastructure in place
Exclusive residential lots in the vineyard, at the foot of the Andes, in Valle de Uco, Mendoza.
Seller finance Property management Concierge services Financial and relocation advisory services Premium wines for owners Wine cellar Tennis courts and swimming pool Clubhouse opening November 2012
â€œWhere lifestyle and terroir come togetherâ€? Sommelier Andres Rosberg
Miguel Giordano firstname.lastname@example.org www.lamoradadelosandes.com +54 261 (15) 201 8824
CONTENTS NEWS REPUBLIC
Best of... Wine Capital Awards.......................................................22
Santa Julia Open Day........................................................................6
The Winery Guide ..........................................................................28
MEETING MENDOZA A Natural History of the Desert......................................................8 Queen of the Desert: Lavalle..........................................................14 Focus on Chacras...........................................................................20
OUT & ABOUT Bars & Events ................................................................................24 Dining Out.......................................................................................26
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information.........................................................................32 Map of Maipu and Chacras de Coria..........................................32 Map of Mendoza City Center.......................................................34
Issue October - November 2012 | ISSN 1853-9610 10,000 Copies Published by Seven Colors S.A. Address: Espejo 266, Planta baja. Departamento 3. Mendoza, Argentina Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613 E-mail: email@example.com Editor: Amanda Barnes Editorial Director: Charlie O’Malley Publicidad: Ana Laura Aguilera (155 018 874), Mariana Gómez Rus firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Design: Design | Lab · María Laura Gómez · firstname.lastname@example.org Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION Contributing Authors: Amanda Barnes, Charlie O’Malley, Elizabeth Butler, Will Fry. Cover Illustration: Donough O’Malley, www.pencilrobot.net Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
BY CHARLIE O’MALLEY
It was going to happen eventually. After almost 10 years writing about, visiting and tasting at Mendoza´s gorgeous wineries, Wine Republic has started doing tours. The idea is we get people out to some of Mendoza´s finest and most beautiful wineries in Lujan de Cuyo without breaking the bank. Our special half day wine tour picks you up at your hotel at 1.30pm and takes you right out amidst the vineyards to taste highly regarded wines in a fun and casual atmosphere and in the company of a guide who knows what they are talking about. The tour even includes a special blending session where you create your own wine. All for 90 bucks, which includes everything. Our groups are no larger than 10 and the tour is entirely in English. For more information contact email@example.com / Tel. 4255613 or drop by our booking agent Trout & Wine Tours, Espejo 266.
SANTA JULIA OPEN DAY
October is a superb time to be in Argentina, not least because Mendoza’s vineyards burst to life and the summer is suddenly upon us. Octoberfest is also suddenly upon us and I don´t mean a long trip to Munich. Argentina has its very own mini Munich, in a town of German immigrants called Villa Belgrano in Cordoba. The second weekend of October this town is thronged with thirsty beer lovers eager to try the vast selection of artisanal beers on offer from its many microbreweries. Argentina has not escaped the current craze for craft beers and some excellent examples are being made the length of the country from Bariloche to La Plata. Mendoza has jumped on the wagon too (or should that be jumped off the wagon?) as it hosts an annual Beer Festival in Godoy Cruz the first week of December. Barley pop from all around the country is available to try in what becomes a four-day street party with live music and jolly revelers.
Its wines are recognized all around the World and sell from shelves as diverse as Dubai and Singapore. Yet Familia Zuccardi is one of those rare Argentine wineries that is equally famous at home and is not just focused on exporting. This strategy is most apparent in its annual Open Day that is phenomenally popular with locals. On November 17th, the winery allows anybody with 100 pesos to enter the winery and taste from a grand variety of Santa Julia wines and a couple of other labels from the winery. It’s a big event on the local calendar and not to be missed if you happen to be in Mendoza, not least because you will try some great Malbec but also some strange exotic grapes you don’t usually find here as Zuccardi is also a pioneer in micro-vinification and experimenting. The winery also offers excellent informative visits and has two top notch restaurants, one specializing in asado and the other in olive oil. The winery is located 30 minutes east of Mendoza. www. familiazuccardi.com
Illustrations by Donough O’Malley www.pencilrobot.net
A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE DESERT CHARLIE O’MALLEY USED TO THINK A NATURALIST WAS A GERMAN NUDIST UNTIL HE DISCOVERED THE DESERTS OF CUYO.
Anybody who lingers in Mendoza has their attention naturally drawn south to the vineyards and west to the mountains. Nobody looks east, except when considering Buenos Aires on the very distant horizon, or contemplating the long trip to Cordoba. The vast badlands of the Cuyo region are mostly observed from behind a bus curtain or high above from an airplane window and the general feeling is: “Jeez, there is absolutely nothing out there!” It would seem the Mars Space Rover has a better chance of finding life on the Red Planet than a wayward traveler stumbling through the desert bush of Mendoza´s huge, unholy hinterland. This inquisitive blind spot is manifest in all the foreign articles and guide books ever written about Argentina. There is little discussed about the desert plains of Mendoza, San Luis, San Juan and La Rioja. When the organisers of the Paris Dakar were looking for an alternative route to send 300 French millionaire motorheads ripping through the countryside (and sod the environmental consequences), they chose here, as frankly nobody cares. “I WAS MUCH HAPPIER SWILLING WINE IN LUJAN DE CUYO THAN DIVINING FOR WATER IN LAVALLE” I myself associated deserts with death or at least a very unpleasant afternoon of hotness under the collar. I was much happier swilling wine in Lujan de Cuyo than divining for water in Lavalle. That 8
was until I got married. My wife is from La Rioja - a parched, red stone furnace of blistering heat and hostile cactus, where the only thing that moves at midday is the temperature gauge and the long afternoon siestas are a survival technique, not a habit of leisure. There, the mad dogs have long perished and the Englishman never turned up (he´s swilling wine in Lujan de Cuyo). Marital duties force me to make regular land trips across this arid vastness. It is a six-hour journey through a desert dust bowl where the distant tarmac shimmers in the heat and the occasional farm animal carcass salutes you from the verge with a grotesque, disconcerting hoof in the air. Despite the desolation, it is anything but boring. There´s the constant battle to keep your fuel tank full, stopping at every isolated gas station to ask can you top up (the answer is most often no) or else risk staying at a not-so-salubrious truckers motel in a one-horse town waiting days for the next oil tanker delivery (now where´s that horse?) On the road, very serious policemen stop and ask you for your driving licence, insurance papers and some money to buy a sandwich and coke please. The huge emptiness can be almost pleasurable, not least because your cellphone is now silent and obsolete but also it is just you and an open road (in surprisingly good shape) with nothing to avoid but the occasional stray goat and a battered, antique Renault held together with baling twine and populated by a family of fifteen. The sky is huge, unhindered by mountains or buildings, displaying a glorious starscape.
The occasional thunder and lightning storm gives you the greatest show on Earth with jaw dropping fork lightening a precursor to sudden streams and floods that disappear as quickly as they appeared. “A GIANT GREEN LIZARD DASHES ACROSS THE ROAD” The desert draws you in and is full of surprises. It might be that swirling column of purple dust running across the plain, a dust devil with aspirations of being a tornado intent on overturning your car. A giant, green lizard dashes across the road. The long tail of a red fox slips behind a thorn bush. A flock of flightless birds flee comically. Suddenly your nostrils sting and a not so pleasant odour envelopes the car. “Skunk.” My wife answers before I ask. The silence is both eery and exotic (for a city dweller at least) and the atmosphere mildly threatening with the wing flap of ugly buzzards overhead and the fear of a wild boar hurtling through that sage bush while your pants are down. Plant life is prodigious and far from dreary. That dull cactus bursts into white flower, that anchor plant smells of vanilla. The red flowers of the black hierba bush are a delicacy in the goat kingdom, its seeds fought over by armadillos, hares and field mice. Hardy tufts of grasses known as poa and stipa carpet a parched field, bordered by shrubs such as creosote bushes and cushion plants and one particular stunted tree that gave up millennia ago trying to produce the shriveling leaf and instead sucks life from the sun rays directly onto its bright green bark. The beloved algorrobo and quebracho tree (it literally means axe breaker) have roots some 10 meters deep and produce valuable fruit and shade. “THE DESERT’S ALLURE IS PRECISELY BECAUSE IT IS DESERTED” So is this article a tourist call to arms (or camera) that we should all take an interest in Mendoza’s desert? No it is not. The desert’s allure is precisely because it is deserted. It is no coincidence that Mendoza´s only remaining indigenous people - the Huarpes, eke out an existence in the eastern desert of Mendoza. During the murderous round-up of native Indians in the 19th century, a small group fled there, gambling their lives on a hunch that their pursuers would have no interest in the dry eastern bush. They were right and now in Lavalle you´ll find the last remaining community of Huarpes, surviving precariously like the puma and condor on the outer fringes, in their charcoal colored hovels made from homemade mud brick, hoping that the local disinterest in the desert continues.
TEN HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE CUYO REGION CUESTA DE MIRANDA. Spiraling mountain pass in La Rioja with giant cactus and red stone sculptures. ISCHIGUALASTO. An incredible dinosaur park adored by National Geographic but spurned by tourists because of its six-hour distance from civilization. TALAMPAYA. Think Grand Canyon without the ridiculous all-glass sky view bridge, and tourists of course. SAN ANTONIO. A quaint little village that was the birth place of Facundo 10
Quiroga, a murderous gambler and adored independence hero. VELADERO GOLD MINE. A hidden treasure in the literal sense, this vast San Juan gold mine may be not on any tourists list but it is transforming the once impoverished province and kicking up a lot of dust for environmentalists. SAN JOSE DE JACHAL. A rebellious hamlet of hardy gauchos, this San Juan town has a casserole dish on a plinth in the town plaza with a plaque that reads “Beware politicians!” TELTECA. A 220,000 hectare desert reservation in Lavalle that will not be winning any “Safari of the Year” awards by Condé Nast as it lacks big game but has lots of lizards. VALLE FERTIL. A sinuous mountan road through a lush valley of greenery in an otherwise desolate desert. DIFUNTA CORREA. The most famous woman to ever die of thirst is celebrated through kitsch shrines in this San Juan town that is the Lourdes of Cuyo. LAVALLE. Sand dunes, religious festivals and authentic indigenous desert life are found here.
ANIMAL PROFILES THE CHIMANGO. Never to be featured on the glossy covers of Birdwatcher International (the local saying goes “don´t waste your gunpowder on a chimango”), this ubiquitous bird nevertheless deserves some credit for its sheer survival instincts and adaptability. It can nest in trees or on the ground and thrives in the harsh Cuyo desert on beetles and road kill. Unlike its glamorous cousins the falcon and eagle, it does not hunt and is therefore not coveted by hunters - a clever survivalist ploy. THE ÑANDU. One of the most marvelous birds on the planet (and thus one of the most endangered), the nandu (also known as the American Rhea) is persecuted by an unlikely alliance of shoemakers, leather designers and Brazilian samba dancers. It’s a shame its coveted skin and feathers mean this noble bird is being pushed to the margins. Its fascinating habits include a violent male face off for supremacy over a brooding harem that consequently lays their eggs in a large communal nest where some 15 chicks emerge to follow the dominant male.
THE BLIND ARMADILLO. There are at least eight types of armadillo to be found in Argentina and they are persecuted for both their meat and shells which are used to make a traditional style banjo known as the charango. This little guy, also known as the pichiciego, is the smallest of the armadillos and is remarkable for the speed in which he can bury himself in the ground if he feels threatened and the difficulty in digging him out. This nocturnal creature feeds on ants and worms, has a pink shell and white furry underbelly.
THE ELEGANT CRESTED TINAMOU. Its Greek scientific name literally translates as “nice running escape” which is rather apt when you observe this small ground bird running and nodding maniacally along the road. Part of the flightless bird family, the tinamou can actually get off the ground but not very far. They prefer ground nests under low bushes and the males are model fathers who incubate and raise the chicks who promptly leave the roost upon hatching. It dines on seeds, leaves, fruit and insects. GREY FOX. In the old Indian stories about the fox and the jaguar, the former always comes out worse. History says otherwise as this clever and adaptable animal now virtually rules the desert and is feared by all, not least farmers who fret about their chickens, goats and lambs and thus show a mighty enthusiasm for fox fur. Despite wholesale hunting, the wily fox continues to thrive, content to hide out in ground caves or tree hollows and survive on a diet as varied as birds, reptiles and insects and the occasional fruit.
THE HOG-NOSED SKUNK. This creature has possibly the most dangerous anal glands in the animal kingdom. Cross this guy and you’ll get a blast of a vile liquid equal in small and potency to riot gas that can shock the nostrils from over a mile away. Darwin picked up its scent whilst still on the boat. Once thought to be part of the weasel and badger family, DNA testing prove it is actually related to the red panda. Happiest when digging and rooting for insects, this animal has been on the planet some 34 million years.
Illustrations by Donough O’Malley www.pencilrobot.net 12
LAVALLE: Queen of the Desert MOST PEOPLE FORGET THAT MENDOZA PROVINCE IS A VAST BARREN PLAIN OF SANDY SCRUBLAND, ESPECIALLY IN THE CITY’S LUSH GREEN OASIS. BUT THERE IS ONE PLACE YOU CAN GO WHERE THE ARID CLIMATE IS EMPHATICALLY APPARENT: LAVALLE, A DUSTY, SUN BEATEN HAMLET, ONLY 20 MINUTES AWAY FROM THE CITY. ELIZABETH BUTLER GETS ON HER IMAGINARY CAMEL AND SETS OFF DUE EAST The red, fiery ball of a sun peaked over the horizon as we drove down the highway. It was early and we had not had our mate yet, so it was a quiet, groggy observance. My bag was packed with everything from wool hats to sunscreen. How does one prepare for her first Argentine desert adventure? As the sun rose quickly into the orange glazed sky, the open-plain sunrise made our joke about our ‘day trip to the Sahara of Mendoza’ seem a bit more real. To a native Mendocino, it is general knowledge that Mendoza’s natural landscape is classified as desert. The dry, arid climate does not tell lies but because of the canal irrigation system initiated by the Huarpe Indians and expanded upon by an Italian water wizard called Cipoletti, it’s easy to forget, or in fact even know that Mendoza’s natural landscape is more suited for lizards and armadillos than winemakers and tourists. Does this mean our only hope of experiencing the desert that is Mendoza lies within the capacity of a time machine? Luckily, the answer is absolutely not. Just 20 minutes north of the city in the region of Lavalle, visitors and natives of Mendoza alike can experience the continued tradition of true Mendocino life, where people preserve the customs of the native Huarpe Indians. From Mendoza center, a mere day outing and local bus fare stand between you and an experience of sand dunes and desert folklore. No camel required.
LA ASUNCION Where Clocks Hang in the Sky
The setting of La Asuncion is reminiscent of scenes from an old Western movie - flat, arid, dusty land scattered with variant desert plants and simple, adobe buildings draped with awnings to create refuge from the hot, midday sun. La Capilla Vieja (Old Chapel) is one of the main attractions in La Asuncion. Thousands of people flock to this small village every year during the third week of August to celebrate the Fiesta de la Asuncion and La Virgen del Transito, whose figure rests inside the small, strawand-mud built chapel. The chapel was already constructed when the first settlers arrived in 1882, so its true age remains unknown and adds to the area’s mystical history. If you arrive and the chapel is closed, just ask the next door neighbour for the key. The family have been the ‘guardians’ of the chapel for generations. The importance of community is evident throughout the town, including the relationship to the land and natural surroundings. “People laugh at me when I tell them the time of day without looking 14
at a clock,” explains Angela, the chapel guardian. “Why wear a watch when I can look to the sun or moon in the sky and know exactly what time it is?” For visitors who want to do a bit of rural tourism, La Asuncion offers a variety of activities including wool and leathermaking workshops, cooking classes, and guided horseback rides throughout the historic landscape. Contact the local government for tourism contact details (0261) 494 1011.
RESERVA BOSQUE TELTECA A Botanist’s Disneyland
To the untrained eye, the Telteca Forest Reserve seems to be a randomly selected part of the desert that they’ve fenced off, put up some colorful signs, and named it a national reserve. The desert heat makes people do crazy things, and this may have been one of them. Through a botanist’s eye, however, this desert mirage would look a lot more like Disneyland. The reserve spans 20,400 hectares and contains the most bio-diverse selection of native plants to Mendoza one can find, including the all important algorroba tree. Telteca is a word derived from an aboriginal Huarpe language for ‘ripe fruit’, most likely of the carob tree - the tallest and most protected native desert tree in Mendoza. Elusive puma and guanaco lurk amidst the cactus and thornbush whilst fox and hare hide in the shade. Telteca may not have the flashy allure of a big game safari park, but this botanical theme park is worth it if you want to see a protected, authentic version of the Mendocino desert. Open Mon - Sat.
LOS ALTOS LIMPIOS The Sahara of Mendoza
When I had to change my scarf into a head turban, I knew I had made it to the heart of our desert experience. The sand dunes of Los Altos Limpios satisfy any craving to experience the quintessential ‘Saharalike’ desert setting. Although the dunes may not be as towering as those in northern Africa, the sand is soft and wind-carved, and baked with the radiating heat from the sun. You may have left your camel at home, but if you’re a surf fanatic, be sure to remember your dune board as you can certainly surf down the sandy slopes if you feel so inclined. Also make sure not to overlook the hundreds of animal and bird prints that lay on the dunes, most of the dwellers here only come out at night but there are a multitude of different inhabitants living in the desert plains (check out our article on page 10).
LA GRISELDA QUESO A Tale of two men and 700 goats
Establecimiento La Griselda
Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Argentinean cuisine (wait…there’s something beyond chorizo?) artisan cheese making does exist here, and in good form. Or rather, goat form. La Griselda goat cheese is run by two men who have a passion for quality and take pride in being involved in every part of the cheese making process from start to finish. Their facility is located in the El Retiro district of Lavalle on a 100-hectare pasture, where the goats are free to romp around with each other and eat bale after bale of hay. A visit to the goat farm is a wonderful experience getting to see the entire process, from the mothering goats and their baby kids running around the farm, to the cheese factory with everything happening on one premises from the milk pumping and pasteurizing to maturation and labeling. You can taste the artisanal love in all of their flavors and styles which can be bought in Mendoza in Jumbo, Vea and other supermarkets as well as the Mercado Central in fresh soft cheese or hard cheese form. www.lagriselda.com
Finca Las Marujitas
FINCA LAS MARUJITAS A Diamond in the Rough
The ultimate goal of any desert journey is finding the diamond in the rough. And as you pull into the luxurious world that is Finca Las Marujitas after passing kilometer after kilometer of, well, not much else, you know you’ve found it. The owners of Marujita have created an entire world around their 110-hectare olive orchard that enables visitors to escape outside life, reconnect with nature, and, oh yeah, catch a flick in the underground bar too. They have a small rustic posada, a new restaurant (opening mid November), café and tasting room that includes their Conscience product lines of extra virgin olive oil, chutneys, marmalades, and cosmetics; all made on site and with local ingredients. There’s also an animal farm for the kids to play in while you meditate within the olive branches, where nirvana is finding the inner olive pit of your soul. www.fincalasmarujitas.com
TACKLING TERROIR Photos by Amanda Barnes
EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TERROIR, BUT WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT? AMANDA BARNES TAKES A TERROIR TOUR OF MENDOZA’S TOP MALBEC VINEYARDS WITH ALTOS LAS HORMIGAS’ WINEMAKER LEONARDO ERAZO LYNCH. It’s not very often someone offers to kidnap you. So when agronomist Leonardo suggested he kidnap me for a day knee-deep in mud and rocks to get to the bottom of ‘terroir’, I couldn’t resist. Heading out to the Uco Valley at 5am, much needed mate and a beautiful sunrise lighting up the still snow-peppered mountains helped us to land in the infamous Altamira vineyards. Altamira has gained quite a lot of fame and notoriety for its unique expression of Malbec - silky tannins, dark fruit and hints of violet. Leonardo believes that this special expression is all down to the rocks beneath the surface, which are an ideal match to Malbec. People love to talk about terroir but it had always remained a bit of a mystery to me as to whether a slightly differing amount of rock, clay and sand would make that much difference to a wine - of course I could imagine how
wine made in Chile would have different terroir to that of Argentina, but would there really be that much of a difference between rows of vines? We had to get underground to find out, and so kitted out in boots and dirty jeans (this kidnapping had a strict dress code) we drove up to a row of vines. For the last couple of years Altos Las Hormigas have been getting very serious about the terrains they are working with as part of their Terroir Project and have been digging out soil pits (big holes) in the vineyards they own and buy from - often to the disappointment of the vineyard owner - to take soil profiles and have a look at what the vines are feeding from. If you haven’t seen a soil pit before, it basically looks like a shallow grave. So when Leonardo grabbed a pickaxe and pushed me into a pit, I started to wonder whether I should have told someone about this kidnapping and brought some kind of GPS tracking device. But what agronomist engineers get turned on by is far geekier - it’s all about the rocks. And digging around in the pit, this agro-engineer was very excited. “See the limestone covering the pebbles? This is really unique, you don’t see this in many places of the world,” he elatedly explained.
QUICK GUIDE TO TERROIR What is terroir? Strictly speaking ‘terroir’ is not just the soil the vines grow in. It includes geography, geology, climate and the local wine and culinary culture. CLAY: Clay soil has very little porosity, so the water doesn’t penetrate very easily and root growth can be more difficult. This can give wine much greener characteristics and a lack of depth, however some percentage of clay between pebbles may be very suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon in hotter climates (like in Chile for example). SEDIMENTARY ROCK: These easily broken down rocks can give a lot of structure and power to a wine depending on its origin. So if you grow Pinot Noir on calcareous sedimentary rock for example it would take on more dark fruit, spice characteristics and complexity. SAND: Sand is easy for the vines to grow in, so they don’t struggle and tend to produce much lighter, fruitier wines with abundant growth. This is more suitable for high yield wines. ** Disclaimer: These are all general rules, there are always differences and exceptions. Winemaking is not an exact art, especially in the vineyard. 18
WINE TERROIR ADVENTURE Ever wondered how wine terroir varies around the world? One man has set off to find out, in the Americas at least. Travelling from Santiago to New York on his motorbike Christian Munoz, a Chilean commercial engineer and wine lover, is traversing across 25 terroirs (including lesser known wine regions in Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, as well famous wine regions like Chile, Argentina and the US) over three months making a documentary on the different terroirs, wines, natural wonders (including Iguazu, the Salar de Uyuni and Galapagos Islands) and people that he meets along the way. Christian worked in exporting Chilean wines for years and became disillusioned with how the market and consumer was becoming more and more focused on prices and sales rather than the place and context that the wine came from. “Terroir is a broad concept that isn’t understood by consumers,” he told Wine Republic. “We want to have a documentary that will target consumers so they can
The reason why Altamira has rocks different to the rest is that this ancient riverbed has mostly sand and silt, weathered granite and pebbles covered in limestone - a mix which he believes is perfect for Malbec. The old age of the soil helps make the wine more complex, the broken granite is great for drainage, and the limestone traps water around the rocks and gives the wine unique characteristics which are especially prevalent in cooler climates (like Altamira) and gives a particular shalky tannin structure to the wine (much needed for softer, fruitier wines like Malbec and Chardonnay). Basically the soil is all about the water and oxygen available to the vines, how much it struggles and the different materials the roots grow through. This all sounds wonderful on paper, but is the proof in the pudding? Leonardo brought out a couple samples from those exact vineyards and moving through different pits (some just a couple rows away, others in neighboring Vista Flores) you could taste the different effect of the land composition on the wine. Aside from feeling rather poetic spitting wine back onto the roots that it came from, there was a marked variation in the wines. It was a subtle difference and the aroma profiles didn’t alter too much, but the true effect of the terroir was profoundly noticeable in the texture and length of the wine. The key to Altamira’s beautiful expression are the long, silky tannins, which while they give Malbec a bit of backbone and added tannin, they still keep it elegant and not too aggressive. After touring around different terroirs and with teeth now as black as charcoal, Leonardo returned me to my home and the kidnap was sadly over. However the dirt in my trainers still remains, and so does some of the knowledge of the effect of terroir. As Uco Valley grows in reputation and fame, the future of the valley is most likely in the different expressions of different vineyards. To understand what makes the difference between Altamira and Vistaflores or La Consulta and San Carlos, you need to dig a bit beneath the surface. To learn more about Altos Las Hormigas Terroir Project visit www. altoslashormigas.com Make sure to try their different Malbecs including the new Vista Flores Single Vineyard.
see that wines aren’t an intimidating thing. They are another food item you can have fun with”. Follow Christian on his journey at www.wineterroiradventure.com
can take a look at the different layers and make-up of the soil to understand a bit deeper what’s happening beneath the surface. www. carlospulentawines.com Alta Vista: This French-owned winery actually own the trademark ‘Single Vineyard’ in Argentina, this is how serious they are about terroir. Although they freely let others in the wine industry use the term ‘Single Vineyard’ for their wines, Alta Vista still remains one of the best examples of a winery producing unique wines from different vineyards. At the winery you can try their single vineyard Malbec from the Alizarine, Serenade and Temis vineyards. They also have a terroir selection which is a blend of the vineyards. www.altavistawines.com
Terroir Experiences in Mendoza
Apart from bribing an agronomist to take you out to the vineyards, there are other ways to get your terroir kicks in Mendoza: Vistalba: Carlos Pulenta’s winery has a stunning tasting room with an entire cross-section of the soil exposed. While trying wines you 19
FOCUS ON CHACRAS
CHACRAS VILLAGE HAS EXPLODED OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. TWENTY MINUTES SOUTH OF THE CITY, THIS USED TO BE A SMALL VILLAGE BUT NOW CHACRAS IS HOME TO OVER 7000 PEOPLE AND HAS SOME OF THE BEST HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATION IN MENDOZA. AMANDA BARNES FINDS OUT WHAT TO DO THERE DURING THE DAY AND EVENING.
TO VISIT Casa Margot: If you have a taste for something a little bit out of ordinary, Casa Margot is idyllic. This restaurant, sparkling wine bar Plaza de Chacras: The heart of Chacras is around the small the and micro-hotel is a real find. The cherished house of the late-artist plaza in the centre of the town. With a pretty white church on one side and outdoor bars and restaurants all around, this is the real hub of Chacras and you can easily idle away a few hours drinking coffee or just people watching from a plaza bench. On Sundays there is an antiques market on the plaza and later into the evening the plaza starts to take on a bit more romance as it fills up for an outdoor milonga (tango).
Casa Fader: This gorgeous home/art museum houses some of
the attractive murials and artwork of the late French artist Fernando Fader. The house is filled with his Post-Impressionist paintings and also boasts a rotating exhibition of other fine arts from Argentina and an attractive sculpture garden. Open Tues-Fri 8- 9hrs, Sat & Sun 15 -20hrs, San Martin 3651. www.casafader.com.ar
Clos de Chacras:
One of the most accessible wineries in Mendoza, Clos de Chacras is a few blocks from the Plaza and offers an insight into historical winemaking in the region. Chacras used to be a village full of vineyards and agricultural activities and on visiting this boutique winery you can start to imagine what it was like before. A charming pink building, this quaint family bodega makes busty red wines and has a restaurant by the fishpond. Mon-Sat, Monte Libano 1025, www.closdechacras.com
Eliana Molinelli, it exudes personality, creativity and style. Constructed with recycled furniture from the local dump, this unique building has a vaulted ceiling and lots of intimate nooks to explore. During the afternoons, the old workshop has been converted into a sparkling wine tasting room where you can quaff bubbles from around Argentina and at the weekend, the restaurant is open for intimate dinners (max 12 people) where guests are welcomed in with a show of trapeze or live music, and then can nestle down for the evening with a three course wine paired dinner. Casa Margot, Italia 6016, (261) 496 1877.
Hand of God Tasting Room: Just off the Plaza this new
restaurant and wine tasting bar has a dark and inspired décor filled with artwork by local painter Gonzalo Anton, quirky furniture and mood lighting. Take a table inside or on the sunny patio where Hand of God and Archaval Ferrer wines are offered in guided wine flights or by the bottle or glass. The menu is a mixture of tapas style starters, tasty flatbreads, or main courses such as succulent Chicken breast stuffed with artichoke hearts in a cheese and mustard sauce. The real delight though are the desserts-perfect presentation and playful concepts like red fruit hair (jelly), strawberry paper and a chocolate volcano bring a big smile to your face especially after a few glasses of wine! Open Tues-Sun, Italia 5572, Local 2, Chacras. (261) 457 3055.
WINE AND DINE TO STAY El Paso Tapas & Wine: If you want to mix a bit of art, wine Lares de Chacras: If you can’t quite pull yourself away from and tapas, this intimate little wine tasting room, tapas bar and gallery is the perfect spot for a friendly bite. Less than a block from the plaza, Fernanda - an art enthusiast and homemade chef - whips up a couple simple but flavourful tapas dishes while you can try Dolium wines by the glass or bottle (make sure you check out their white blend and late harvest Malbec). Montadito style tapas (on mini toasts) toppings include marinated mushrooms; anchovy and red pepper; and Jamon Serrano. Vinos y Tapas Al Paso, Aguinaga 1337, Local 3, Chacras. Open TuesSun, (0261) 507 3786.
Nadia OF: This restaurant has been voted one of the best in
Argentina more than once and with good reason… Spanish chef Nadia Heron is a genius in the kitchen making creative, colorful and salubrious dishes using local produce and maximizing the use of Mendoza’s bountiful vegetables and fruit. You can either BYO or have your dishes paired with O Fournier wines. A romantic, intimate restaurant perfect for gourmet foodies. Italia 6055, Chacras (261) 496 1731. www.nadiaof.com
Chacras, try out this luxury boutique hotel for a private getaway. Rustic furnishings, a cosy fireplace, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, courtesy bikes and a traditional Argentine restaurant give guests plenty to do and a bit of five star luxury in the middle of Chacras. Larrea 1266, Chacras, (261) 496 5167 www.laresdechacras.com
Finca Adalgisa: This manor house has 11 guest rooms, a
vineyard, small winery and beautiful gardens with an outdoor pool. Make sure to pass an evening or two wine tasting in their attractive restaurant and book yourself into a cooking class with their chef to learn the essentials of Argentine cooking. Pueyrredon 2222, Chacras, (261) 496 0713. www.fincaadelgisa.com.ar
Aires Andinos: Chacras is always a few degrees cooler than Mendoza
city, making it ideal to sit in the garden and lounge by the pool and with two pools and a large garden, this boutique posada is an ideal retreat. Well appointed rooms, wifi and a BBQ area help to make your stay comfortable. Longone 2710, Chacras, (261) 496 2751. www.airesandinos.com 21
THE BEST OF WINE TOURISM 2013
AT THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER IN THE HYATT HOTEL THERE WAS A RATHER GLAM GATHERING OF SOME OF MENDOZA’S TOURISM MOGULS FOR AN AWARDS EVENING FOR THE BEST OF WINE TOURISM 2013. AS THE EIGHTH WINE CAPITAL IN THE WORLD, WINE TOURISM IN MENDOZA IS A GROWING SCENE. AMANDA BARNES TAKES A LOOK AT SOME OF THE CATEGORY WINNERS.
ARCHITECTURE, PARKS AND GARDENS
GOLD - ATAMISQUE LODGE: This stony roofed winery in the middle of the Uco Valley is turning into quite a complete resort. With a winery, restaurant, golf course, trout farm, fruit farm and now 6 lodges. Also designed by Bormida & Yanzon, the luxury lodges have Jacuzzis, a terrace and a fireplace. Not bad for nestling into the beauty of Uco. www.atamisque.com SILVER: ENTRE CIELOS; BRONZE: CASA ANTUCURA
GOLD - PULENTA ESTATE: Designed by the well known architects Bormida & Yanzon, this winery on the edge of Lujan is pure minimalist beauty with a simplistic design made of concrete and rocks that makes the most of the mountain and vineyard view, while blending in with the environment and maximising its functional gravity flow system. The gardens spread out into the vineyards and a hospitality lodge, El Rancho, is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine in the shelter of the building with gorgeous Andean views. SILVER - BODEGA LOS TONELES; BRONZE- FINCA LA JACINTA/ FINCA DECERO
RESTAURANT GOLD - CASA DEL VISITANTE, FAMILIA ZUCCARDI: Located in the middle of one of its vineyards, Zuccardi’s intimate restaurant is a lovely little gem in the East of Mendoza. The restaurant menu has two options – either a gourmet five course paired wine lunch, or an all-youcan-eat asado style meal with lovely homemade empanadas, bread, BBQ-ed veg, desserts and limitless Santa Julia wines. A great way to let the belt loops loosen and indulge in good Argentine cuisine. www. familiazuccardi.com SILVER: OLIVAS, HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL; BRONZE: BODEGAS LOPEZ
SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES GOLD - MUNDO SALENTEIN: Not only is it a beautiful winery on the outside but this award suggests Salentein is just as beautiful on the inside with environmentally and socially sustainable practices. Environmentally they try to manage the vineyard and winery in the most sustainable way, use recycled water, have solar panels and El Portillo was Argentina’s first carbon neutral wine. Socially they have two schools within the farm for which they provide donations, equipment and food; and have a Tuesday choir with free tuition and breakfast for children in the rural schools nearby.
INNOVATIVE EXPERIENCE GOLD - ENTRE CIELOS: Entre Cielos is South America’s first proper hammam and the experience certainly is a unique spa time to indulge, relax and feel at one with your body and the beautiful Mendocinean surroundings. Working your way through different chambers at different temperatures, the therapeutic hammam circuit takes about an hour and can be complimented by olive oil foam massages or an indulgent dinner in one of their gorgeous restaurants. www.entrecielos.com SILVER: BODEGAS FAMILIA ZUCCARDI; BRONZE: VINO DE MAIPU CIRCUIT
SERVICES RELATED TO WINE TOURISM GOLD - MENDOZA HOLIDAYS: Offering a range of different wine tours in Mendoza, this tour operator can give tourists a malbec experience day, food tours, outdoor activities like rafting and horse riding, golf tours, spa days and can help you get those all important Vendimia tickets. www.mendozaholidays.com SILVER: MDZ WINE TOURS; BRONZE: MENDOZA VIAJES
ART AND CULTURE
GOLD - EL CAMINO DEL VINO, FRONTERA FILMS: This quirky hour long film is all about a sommelier rediscovering his palate as he travels Mendoza’s beautiful wine country and meets the true people in wine and some familiar faces along the way. Six wineries star in the film and you’ll recognise lots of Mendoza landmarks. SILVER: FUNDACION ROSAS PARA LA CULTURA; BRONZE: LA CASA DEL CONTRATISTA
GOLD - CLOS DE CHACRAS: This gorgeous little boutique winery offers a great tour and personal experience as you work your way around its traditional bodega which still uses a lot of traditional techniques. Guides are friendly and offer tours in English too and you can finish your visit tasting their busty red wines by the small fishpond or inside their restaurant. www.closdechacras.com SILVER: BODEGA LOS TONELES; BRONZE: PULENTA ESTATE
BARS & EVENTS 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
One of the busiest bars on Aristides, this is one of the ‘it’ places to be. Take your pew on the street where everyone hangs out to be seen, or pop into the back room for a boogie or the garden to chill out in with a cool Mojito. Aristides Villanueva 245.
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.
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.
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
UPCOMING EVENTS Every Thursday: Sunset Evenings at Septima Winery:
After a tour of the winery, enjoy a reception of fizz and nibbles as you lounge around on the terrace of Septima winery with a gorgeous Andean view and live music or DJs. Septima Winery, Ruta Nacional, Lujan. 6.30pm - 9.30pm, www.bodegaseptima.com, 0261 4989550.
Oktoberfest: Last weekend October: The whole country
gears up for different events surrounding beer drinking. The biggest event of all takes place in Cordoba where beer drinkers from all over Argentina gather to drink, be merry and behave a bit badly. In Mendoza you can check out different Oktoberfest themed nights at Believe Irish Pub on Colon, or a slightly classier version with a special German beer dinner at The Park Hyatt on Saturday 27th.
Wines and Polo: 7 - 10 November: At the Club de Campo
Mendoza in Guaymallen, a four day polo and wine event is a nice opportunity to get down with a unique part of Argentine sporting culture as well as enjoying wine and live music in the sunshine. Saturday and Sunday are the best days to go with live art happening too. www.winespolo.com
Santa Julia Annual Tasting: 17 November, 10am - 6pm: This is one of the most fun wine tastings of the year - crowds
of locals turn up at Zuccardi’s Santa Julia winery in Maipu to taste their way through unlimited pourings of all the Santa Julia lines as well as some of their experimental wines. Live music, a bit of dancing and good ‘onda’ always guaranteed on this full day wine event. www.santajulia. com.ar for tickets and info.
Football in Mendoza: Match days
Do you want to get a real flavour for Argentine football culture? The only way to get to see football’s true colours here are by sitting with the real ‘hinchas’ (fans) in the poplar seats. But with beating drums, fireworks, flying insults and toilet paper being flung from all angles, you need a good guide if you are a newbie. ‘Futbol en Mendoza’ takes 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 For more events in Mendoza visit www.wine-republic.com/events 24
DINING OUT MENDOZA CITY ANNA BISTRO
For a romantic evening outdoors Anna Bistro is unsurpassable. Carved wood tables adorned with candles are nestled between exotic flowering plants and hanging vines. Couple this with soft lighting and tranquil jazz, and any mundane evening is transformed into a memorable event. Gazing at their menu of delectable dishes, from ceviche and cesto de portobello (pastry piled with mushrooms and walnuts), to melt-in-your-mouth salmon al limon and trout, produces an unavoidable bout of indecisiveness. The Anna Bistro staff swear by the T-Bone steak and local Malbec combo. End the feast with a Blackberry Cheesecake and glass of bubbly on the sunken sofas for a quick trip to nirvana. Av. Juan B. Justo 161 Tel: (261) 425 1818. Everyday 12pm 1am. Avg. meal cost: $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.
GRILL Q 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 $150 pesos (without wine) 26
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 $130 pesos. Bistro M Executive Menu $130 with starter buffet, main course, dessert buffet and glass of wine
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: $95/(including starter, main dish, dessert+a glass of wine)
Farrah is the type of restaurant that shines in personality, from the funky and colourful décor and eclectic music, to the unique wine list and menu that has dishes such as ‘flirting’, ‘last sensation’ and ‘wet, wet, wet’. The good taste and character showing through are those of the three Farro sisters and their brother. The creative mind in the kitchen is middle sister Belen who creates fresh and innovative dishes with plenty of meat, fish and veg options. Lots of different salads and starters, creative ciabattas such as blue cheese and rainbow trout, pasta dishes including artichoke lasagna and their signature dish of sticky BBQ ribs, all sit on the menus in this attractive house in the 5ta. Save room for their refreshing sage crème brulee or oozing Chocolate volcano to savour Farrah’s ‘last sensation’. Tues - Sun from 8pm, open for an Lunch Special Menu with two courses and coffee for $45. Paso de los Andes 1006, tel (261) 423 9981. Avg. meal: $90
This brand new patisserie is the first and probably only in Mendoza that makes true French delicacies. With a chef taken from the homeland, here you can find real chocolate eclairs (as well as a dulce de leche Argentine version), perfect pastries and individual gateauxs. Keep your belt loops firmly untied and indulge in a sweet-toothed moment. Brillat Savarin, open everyday for take aways. Juan B Justo 135.
Named after the infamously out-of-touch queen in France, Maria Antonieta combines elegance and of course a little decadence, although the decorum is decidedly fresh and modern. White tiles line the walls, and generous bowls of fresh fruit and veg garnish the tables and counters. Perhaps more akin to the tastes and desires of a modern day Antoinette than an eighteenth century one, owner Vanina Chimeno admits to having some similarities with the historical figure, namely her passion for “cakes and sweets, anything gourmet” and “nice dresses and fancy shoes!” This is also a great place for a brunch and coffee with real coffee mugs and scones with homemade jams. The dinner and lunch menu has simple but well made fayre using fresh ingredients and delivering on flavour - check out the Kobi Beef or Pumpkin soufflé with Goat’s Cheese for something a bit different. Maria Antonieta, Belgrano 1069, tel: (261) 420 4322. Closed Sunday evenings. Avg. meal price: $200 pesos.
OUTSIDE CITY CENTER NADIA OF
Winery lunches are one of the best things about Mendoza, but there is rarely an opportunity to enjoy a six course gourmet tasting menu near the city in the evening - until Nadia. Nadia OF is the beautiful brainchild of Nadia Heron, head chef at O Fournier winery.Open every night and tucked away in tranquil Chacras, 20 mins from the centre, the restaurant has a gorgeous courtyard, evocative art and a relaxed vibe.Originally a biochemist, Nadia started cooking for passion rather than trade and it certainly shows through her creative and colourful culinary flair. With divine appetisers such as sweet and salty melon gazpacho with crispy ham; and a remake of moist Spanish omelette wrapped in tender red pepper with a drizzle of parsley oil - the weekly changing menu aims to play with appearance, aromas, flavours and textures with a focus on seasonal ingredients. Most courses innovate vegetarian dishes but you can also tuck into one of Mendoza’s biggest, juiciest steaks with mojo rojo (red sauce). You can BYO here or pair courses with O Fournier wines. Open daily from 8.30pm, Italia 6055, Chacras de Coria. Tel: (261) 496 1731. Avg. meal: $125 without wine.
their seven Renaissance-style villas. Don’t forget to call ahead for dinner reservations! Ruta 60 s/n 5517 Maipú. Tel: (261) 496 0131. tapiz.com. Lunch, everyday, 12pm - 3pm. Dinner, Sun - Thurs, 8pm-11pm, Fri & Sat until 12am. Avg. meal cost: $180 pesos.
CASA DE CAMPO
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 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.
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. Casa de Campo
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 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: RENACER
One of the rare opportunities to try a wine that is not Argentine in Argentina, Renacer has a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc which should definitely make it onto your top Summer white wine wishlist. A visit to the winery shows the state-of-the-art technology and attractive stone walled structure as well as offering unique tours including a blending session. This Chilean-owned winery makes one of the best known Malbecs, Punto Final, and also a great Amarone-style wine with sundried grapes. Brandsen 1863, Lujan de Cuyo. 261-524-4416 or 261-524-4417. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar 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.
Brennan Firth started making his own wine, Cepas Elegidas, at the age of 25. His premium wine is being launched this year into the Argentine and international market www.cepaselegidas.com.ar How did you fall in love with wine? I feel in love with wine thanks to my dad! All my life he has owned and operated dozens of restaurants which allowed him to access to hand-select wines worldwide. Every night he’d have a couple glasses of red wine, never a white! He would let me and my brother smell the glass and ask us what we perceived...a big task for all of my 6 years of existence! When my mom would go into the kitchen, I’d sneak in a small sip that my dad would offer me and pass the glass back. I didn’t LOVE the taste but it was interesting to try. The aromas on the other hand had me asking questions and offering thoughts non stop. After another 10 years of this my parents had enough and decided we could move on to the next step, traveling to Italy and visiting among the most well recognized wine regions and producers. After almost 3 months of my ‘Escursione di Italia’ we had visited dozens of winery’s, such as Gaja and Prunotto, a couple of Italy’s top producers.
Starting your own winery at age 25 is a pretty bold move, how much of winemaking do you think is intuition or calculated measures? If you have intuition but don’t have some concrete knowledge and understanding of vineyards, the chemistry of wine and its natural organic makeup, you won’t get far in this business. As you go making your ‘calculated measures’ you also go learning from your mistakes, and later calculate other measures for future decision making. What do you need to make the perfect wine? The perfect wine is simple…buy the best fruit, process the fruit and make the wine using only the best techniques and practices and store the wine in the best barrel, later bottle and you’re all done! To visit Cepas Elegidas, call Brennan on 02614671015.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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