MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nยบ41 DEC 2009 / JAN 2010
ART IN THE PARK ART AND CULTURE IN PLAZA INDEPENDENCIA w w w. w i n e - r e p u b l i c. c o m 1
CONTENTS NEWS REPUBLIC
Argentina and Chile Celebrate 1984 Peace Treaty...................... 6
The Colors of Plaza Independencia: Amanda May spills all about
Celebrities Escape Death in Mendoza......................................... 6
the underground art scene in Mendoza’s main square........................23
Ancient Human Remains Found on Mendoza River.................... 6 Here Comes The Sun.................................................................... 6
RESTAURANTS & BARS Restaurant Guide: Where to eat in Mendoza..............................28
Bar Guide: Pubs, Clubs, Discos, Bars & Happy Hours .......................30
Champagne Super Nova: Hotel Casa Margot and their bubbly ........... 8 Winery Guide: The best wineries to visit in Mendoza..........................10 Wish List: Wines worth a letter to Santa......................................... 14
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information: Airports, Buses, Hospitals, Money Exchange, Wine Shipping, Crime, Tours, Bikes and Nightclubs ............................32
Map of Maipu Wine Area ........................................................32
Inner Latina: J. C. Sullivan goes in search of herself ..........................17
Map of Mendoza City Center ......................................................34
Walk on the Wild Side: A guide to Argentine wildlife …….................. 18
Map of Chacras de Coria Wine Area .....................................34
CREDITS Issue December 2009 - January 2010 10,000 Copies Published by Seven Colors S.A.
Espejo 266, Mendoza, Argentina
Design: Beattub, www.beattub.com.ar
Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613
Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION
Contributing Authors: Charlie O’Malley, Julia Allen, Amanda May, Charlie Foley,
Editor: Charlie O’Malley
J.C. Sullivan, Michael Walz, Eric Osborne
Assistant Editor: Julia Allen
Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
Advertising: Ana Laura Aguilera
news republic Argentina and Chile Celebrate 1984 Peace Treaty
Ancient Human Remains Found on Mendoza River
Argentine and Chilean presidents Cristiina Kirchner and Michelle
When local residents encountered a host of human remains along the Mendoza River in south-east Maipú they feared the worst, and they immediately reported the findings to local authorities. After further investigation, however, it became evident that if there had been foul play, the perpetrators had long since escaped justice. In fact, according to initial estimations, the bones are 500 to 1000 years old and are part of one of the region’s oldest known indigenous cemeteries. Further study is currently being undertaken, and there is no word yet as to when the bones will be accessible to the public.
Bachelet recently met with Pope Benedict in Rome to celebrate a peace treaty signed in 1984. The peace accord, mediated by the vatican, averted a near diastrous war between both countries that share a 5,000km border and waterways such as the Magellan straits and Beagle channel in Patagonia. The most physical reminder in Mendoza of this near confrontation is the abandoned Transandino railway that snakes through the Andes between Santiago and Argentina’s wine capital. This marvel of engineering was closed in the early eighties for security reasons and unfortunately still lies derelict, denying railway lovers of one the most spectacular mountain trips by rail carriage in the world. Lets hope some day both countries will eventually get around to re-opening it. In the meantime, if you’d like to get an ordinary soldier’s account of the almost war, watch the hilarious Chilean movie called “Mi Mejor Enemigo” or “My Best Enemy”.
Celebrities Escape Death in Mendoza Mendoza`s Hospital Italiano has been thrown in the national spotlight for caring for one of Argentina’s best loved stars. The Emmy award winning singer Roberto Sanchez, commonly referred to as Sandro, is the country’s Elvis look alike with a considerable coiffure and thick sideburns. The 64-year old crooner was on death’s door requiring a highly complicated heart and lung transplant. The surgery was performed by a 70-person medical team and ended successfully. The much adored performer is now on the road to recovery. Sandro isn´t the only star to almost extiguish his flame in Mendoza. In 2000, Charly Garcia , Argentina´s version of Frank Zappa, performed a maniacal jump from the 7th floor window of Hotel Aconcagua into the pool below. Check out “Charly Garcia Aconcagua” on YouTube to see his daring leap yourself.
Here Comes the Sun What to do when your Spanish leaves room for improvement, but you want to know what’s going on in Mendoza at the same time? 1) Try to decipher the articles provided by the local newspapers. 2) Sit down in a corner and start weeping gently, wishing for home. As of January 2010, you will have a third option: Visit the website of The Mendoza Sun and get an English news digest and event guide for Mendoza, covering Business, Culture, and Life in Mendoza, among other topics. Good news, ideed!
Charlie Foley visits Casa Margot, a hotel oozing style and sophistication
Argentina is known as the birthplace of the tango; a sultry, sexy and very romantic dance. Casa Margot is a classy, little boutique hotel in Clos de Chacras whose concept is derived from that most romantic of dances. An old tango song tells the story of Mageritte who went to Buenos Aires in search of love. However, the romance was not as she expected, because instead of a man she quickly fell in love with dancing tango. Casa Margot depicts her story of style, sophistication and passion in every detail. The hotel is extremeley private; appearing to be the luxurious house of a famous actress from its location in Chacras, just down the road from the townâ€™s excellent restaurants and boutique shops. On entering the beautifully landscaped grounds, you notice the sparkling azure pool where you can lounge with a glass of champagne. Through the grand, wrought-iron door, the first thing that hits you is an atmosphere of warmth and relaxation, perhaps created by the crackling log fires and jazz music. In the lobby a chap in coat tails perches in front a grand piano, tapping out Dave Brubecks Take Five. Up a spiral staircase is a quaint little lounge, which is used as the smoking room. You are offered a selection of cigars, cigarettes and cheroots for a unique tasting session. On the walls are portraits of women, like Margeritte, who have been seduced by their art form. Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Gene Kelly pose as sexy reminders to live it up. The most interesting aspect of this hotel is that it is also a champagnerie, producing three labels of champagne and a bottle of the Argentine favorite, Malbec. One my visit the winemaker strutted out of the cellar holding their premium champagne, La Bastille. It had been slumbering there for the past six years in a hefty bottle with waxed seal. He pops the seal
with an air of aristocracy and delicacy pours it into my crystal flute. The flavour bubbles burst into my mouth. Itâ€™s deliciously floral and buttery and suddenly I understand how guests can stay here for a week and never exploring Mendoza! Furthering the impression of exclusivity is that there are only two bedrooms here, both with high ceilings, elegant artworks and walkin wardrobes. You can choose between Suite Celedonio which has a Romeo and Juliet style balcony overlooking the garden or Suite Grisel with huge tree outside the window, so that when you lie in the kingsize bed you feel that you are part of nature. As part of the experience there is a movie library, your preferred selection of pillows and a wine spa therapy session, where creams and lotions produced from grapes are massaged into you by an expert masseuse. You are treated to a champagne breakfast (what else) in the quaint little garden house, in which hangs fantastic works of Buenos Aires scenes by Juarez Machado. This is the main room for the wedding packages which the hotel has become reknowned for. The special includes scrumptious breakfast, lunch with family, wine spa therapy session, lots of bubbly and of course the reception! The hotel has their own chef who puts on a show for the guests, with a five course dinner or asado on the books. His take on kid goat is to die for! The setting is perfect, the garden with lemon trees and manicured lawns looks like something out of a romantic comedy and you half expect Hugh Grant to stumble out of one of the bedrooms clutching a bottle of bubbly. The hotel is an absolute must see, for nothing is as romantic as sipping glass of bubby while admiring the vineyards of Mendoza.
The Winery Guide The Best Places to Visit
Winery Rating Restaurant
Driving Time from Mendoza City
LUJAN DE CUYO Terrazas de los Andes
The fine wine sister of Chandon Argentina is a beautifully restored bodega with well appointed tasting room. Try the famous Cheval de los Andes. Thames and Cochamaba, Perdriel. Tel. 490 9900 www.terrazasdelosandes.com
Includes wine lodge Club Tapiz, high end restaurant Terruño and an instructive wine tour that includes an invigorating horse and trap ride and a tank, barrel and bottle tasting. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 32, Agrelo. Tel. 490 0202. www.tapiz.com
Old style cellars contrast with high tech production line. Tank and barrel tastings conducted at his huge facility and the traditional jug filling on Thursday mornings is popular with locals. R.P. 15, Km 23.5, Perdriel. Tel. 490 9700. www.norton.com.ar
This Chilean owned winery creates the label Punto Final, one of Mendoza’s best value Malbecs. Small, modern operation with tour that includes a hands-on lesson in blending. Brandsen 1863. Tel. 154546023. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar
Architecturally impressive with a huge concrete and glass facade and a massive bottling line. They make some of Argentina´s best bubbly. Ruta Nacional , Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 498 5164 www.bodegaseptima.com
Expansive lawns and villa style architecture make Nieto Senetiner one of the prettiest wineries in Mendoza. Fascinating underground cellar and old style tasting room. Wines to try include their brass labelled bonarda. Guardia Vieja (no number,) Vistalba. Tel. 498 0315. www.nietosenetiner.com.ar
Old, family owned operation with lots of heritage, handsome cellars and a tasting room. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond. Tel. 498 1974. www.luigibosca.com.ar
Excellent food, great guiding and first class wines. The wine and food pairings over lunch is an unforgettable culinary experience. Generous tastings and gorgeous view of vineyards and mountains. Ruta Nacional 7, Km 1059, Agrelo, Lújan de Cuyo. Tel. 410 6214. www.bodegarucamalen.com
The oldest white wine in South America, a hand crafted sparkling wine, 100 year old vines and a series of courtyards occupied with mud ovens, clay urns and decorative bird cages. Ave. San Martin 1745, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 498 0011 Ext. 27. www.lagarde.com.ar
Cool minimalist design and rich complex wines make this a winery tour with finesse and style. Convenient to visit on way to Valle de Uco. Ruta 86, Km 6.5. Tel. 420 0800. www.pulentaestate.com n
French owned winery. The building is new with traditional design. The tasting room is a wooden gallery overlooking the barrel room. Refreshingly unpretentious. Roque Sanz Peña no number, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 498 2330. www.domainevistalba.com
Tasting room where one entire wall is a subterranean cross section of the actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks included. Houses French restaurant La Bourgogne. Roque Saenz Peña 3135, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 498 9400. www.carlospulentawines.com 40 min
Belasco de Baquedano 15 min
CATENA ZAPATA FABRE MONTAMAYOU
Showcase winery designed like Mayan temple overlooking vineyards and Andes. Rich, complex wines. Cobos s/n. Tel. 413 1100. www.catenawines.com.
Great Malbec and gourmet lunches make Melipal one of the most exclusive wineries to visit. Ruta 7 km 1056, Agrelo. Tel. 524-8040. www.bodegamelipal.com.ar
Attractive, modern facility with spectacular views of the mountains from the cozy tasting room. Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo. Tel. 524 4748. www.decero.com
Clos de Chacras
Gleaming modern facility with fascinating aroma room and restaurant with Andean view. Cobos 8260. Tel. 153 023 491 www.grupolanavarra.com
Masterful mix of modern and traditional. Tasting includes distinctive Torrontes or single vineyard Malbecs. Álzaga 3972, Chacras de Coria, Luján de Cuyo. Tel 496 4684. www.altavistawines.com
Makes the highest scoring Argentine wine. The barrel tasting includes a unique sampling of each varietal that makes up their top label Altamira. Calle Cobos 2601; Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. 488 1131. www.achaval-ferrer.com
VALLE DE UCO Lopez
Charming boutique operation. A five minute walk from Chacras plaza. Great Merlot and excellent lunches. Monte Libano s/n, Chacras de Coria. Tel. 496 1285. www.closdechacras.com.ar
Popular, old style winery with handsome tasting room close to Maipu plaza. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez. Tel. 481 1091. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar
The original foreign investor. Chandon have been making great sparkling wine in Mendoza since the 1960s. RP 15, Km 29, Agrelo. Tel. 490 9968. www.bodegaschandon.com.ar
Most architecturally innovative winery with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent lunches in the modernist visitor center and their guides are always well informed and enthusiastic. Los Indios s/n, La Consulta, San Carlos. Tel. 02622/ 451 088. www.ofournier.com
Cava de Cano
Micro winery set in a beautiful, colonial building. Lunch is a spectacular buffet with every type of delicacy. Av. San Martin 2488, Luján de Cuyo. Tel 498 7283. www.cavadecano.com
The wines are faultless and the location stunning. A French operation producing excellent Torrontes and Malbec. Ruta 94 km 21, Vista Flores, Tunuyán. Tel. 441 1134. www.bodegalurton.com
Mendoza’s most famous garagista. Carmelo Patti himself is often there to show you around (in Spanish). Try his famous Cabernet Sauvignon from the barrel. San Martin 2614. Tel 498 1379.
Simple small production winery with not so simple Malbecs and Merlots. R.P 89 s/n. Agua Amarga. Tupungato. Tel. 422 175 www.bodegalaazul.com.ar
CATENA ZAPATA 12
Finca la Celia
One of the valley’s oldest wineries conducts excellent tours and tastings. Av. De Circunvalacion s/n, Eugenio Bustos, San Carlos. Tel 451 010. www.fincalacelia.com.ar
Clos de los Siete
Visit three wineries in one and try rich, complex wines surrounded by state-of-the-art architecture and wine making technology. Calle Clodomiro Silva s/n. Tel. 02622/ 422 054. www.clos7.com.ar
Benvenuto de la Serna
SALENTEIN 90 min
Charming, family run operation making a very decent Sangiovese under the Mil Piedras label. Carril Los Sauces s/n, VistaFlores, Tunuyan. Tel. 420 0782. www.benvenutodelaserna.com
A red barn-like winery which faces a lovely adobe style restaurant doing excellent lunches. Las Vencedoras, Tupungato. Tel. 155 080 261. www.altusdetupungato.com.ar
A brand, spanking new installation, the tasting room has an inviting, old world feel. Ruta Provincial 89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. Tel. 429 9299 ext 113. www.andeluna.com
Down-to-earth family run affair with good wholesome Malbecs. España 1094, La Consulta, Sa Carlos. 02622 / 470 0379
Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old and new, traditional and industrial. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito. Tel. 520 7666. www.trapiche.com.ar
A fine modern winery set in the laid back rural lanes of southern Maipu with rooftop terrace ovelooking the vineyard. Great Pleno label. Perito Moreno 572, Maipu. Tel. 481 3501. www.tempusalba.com
Rutini La Rural
Well-stocked museum with invaluable antiques such as cow hide wine presses and buckets. Giant oak tanks stand in large, cavernous halls whilst side rooms hold Victorian era pumps and bottle corkers. Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 497 2013 ext.125. www.bodegalarural.com.ar
Designed like a temple to wine, this ultra concept winery includes a modern art gallery, lodge and chapel, set high in this Andean valley. R.P 89 s/n, Tunuyan. Tel. 11 4131 1100.www.killkasalentein.com
Steeped in history and tradition. Charming, pink hued colonial style bodega, set in the leafy vineyards of southern Maipu. Recommended is the top blend Dedicado. Munives 800, Barrancas, Maipú. Tel. (0261) 497 2039. www.flichman.com
A professional, far sighted operation, the guides are always enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to please. Attractive restaurant amidst the vines is famous for its asado-style lunches and ample supply of wine. Ruta Provincial 33, Km 7.5, Maipu. Tel (0261) 441 0000. www.familiazuccardi.com
Officially the oldest winery in Mendoza. Rustic with pleasant restaurant. Urquiza 8136, Russel. Tel. 155 878 900. www.mendozaheights.com.ar
Small, charming, French owned winery offering personal tours and well-honed wines. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Videla Arande 2899, Cruz de Piedra, Maipú. Tel. 499 0470 www.carinaevinos.com
Rich history and richer wines. Lovely old bodega with lots of character. Mendoza’s best Cabernet Franc. Ruta 60. Cruz de Piedra. Tel. 496 0794. www.bodegabenegas.com
THE Wish List Some wines to try while in Mendoza
Carinae Prestige 2007
This delicious blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is rich in complexity and has hints of chocolate and caramel. It has an incredible long finish and round, full body. $150
Prodigo Malbec Reserva 2004
Italian winemaker Alessandro Speri is producing a delicious Malbec with an intense floral nose and hints of chocolate and vanilla. $65
ALTOS LOS HORMIGAS BONARDA COLONIA LOS LIEBRES 2007
This usually sturdy grape gets the soft, fruity treatment from one of Argentina’s most respected wineries. Ripe and dense it has surprisingly warm tannins. $30
FINCA LA CELIA CABERNET FRANC 2004
Very dark with violet hue, concentrated black fruit, blackberries, blueberrys, a bit of currant and spice, mint and a touch on alcohol on the nose. A velvety texture with light tannins. $40
Domaine St. Diego Paradigma 2006
60% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright red color, loaded with earthy notes and smoke, soft red fruits of white cherry, cranberry and plum. $35
Urban Uco Sauvignon Blanc 2007
Yellow hues, very grassy and floral, acidic, with citric notes and sweet apricot, good full mouth feel, buttery and oaky notes on finish and a lasting grassy taste but with good minerality. $30
TAPIZ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007
Despite Mendoza’s constant sunshine, the area is producing some excellent acidic whites and Tapiz Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best. Strong hints of gooseberry and guava. $35 14
OcchioVerde MErlot 2007
Round bodied and silky, this Merlot comes from organic vineyards in the stunning Valle de Uco and has aromas of herbs. Occhioverde is Italian for green eye, revealing the owner’s Italian roots and concern for the environment. $25
Mil Piedras Sangiovese 2005
A seductive aroma of ripe, jammy fruit with a subtle hint of white chocolate. This Italian grape has found its home in the Uco Valley producing a delicate, dry wine with good body and crisp acidity. $25
Melipal Reserva Malbec 2006
Intense ruby red with almost black hints and luscious aromas of over ripe black currants and cooked plums. This complex, full bodied wine has sweet tannins and a long persistent finish. Decant before drinking. $133
Enrique Foster Reserva Malbec 2006
Made from 80 year old vines, this single varietal winery has produced a huge wine with fruity aromas and berry flavours. A stunning example of a full-bodied Malbec. $60
Pulenta Estate La Flor Sauvignon Blanc 2007
A brilliant greenish yellow colour with intense aromas of grapefruit and citrus fruits. This wine exhibits a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity with a fresh, long finish. Perfect for sipping on summer afternoons. $36
Ruca Malen Kinien 2006
Ruby red colour with spicy aromas and a delicate touch of pepper among an array of plums, blackberries and cherries. Maturation in French oak barrels provides smoky flavours with vanilla and chocolate overtones. A complex and intense wine with balanced tannins. $95
Desperately Seeking My Inner Latina J. C. Sullivan goes in search of herself and discovers Mendoza Is there perhaps a special wine or dish that makes the people here so unbelievably romantic? I moved to Mendoza to help me uncover their secret, and the exotic person I lovingly call my “inner Latina”. Where is she hiding? Of course, with my father’s side of emotionally stoic Irish and my mother’s side with structured German and hardworking Polish, I must dig deep to discover any hot-blooded Latina lurking in my blood. Having lived here for almost two months, I have managed to sample all kinds of tantalizing and different wines. Hoping to stumble upon the magical Mendocina elixir that makes me instantly Latina, I even strayed a bit from the well-known Malbecs and red wines of this area, and stretched my palate to a sparkling wine (with fruit flavoring) and several whites. Perhaps this secret drink is only found in a private collection; better book a fabulous wine tour!
“A blonde looking like she is having a heart attack” Afterward, a walk around the lake is in order. I’m accompanied by walkers, joggers, and roller bladers alike. In the stunning rose gardens and by the elaborate fountains locals are sipping their Mate. Maybe a taste of that would launch me to Latina-hood? I hope your visit includes a trip to this gorgeous park and try the free classes. Just bring water! And, if you see a blonde looking like she is having a heart attack, you will know that it is your American pal trying to unleash her inner Latina. In the meantime, if you happen to stumble across her, please let her know I am desperately seeking her...in the wonderful city of Mendoza.
“The magical Mendocina elixir” Then it occurred to me. What if this wonderful Latin way of living had nothing to do with delicious beverages? This justified a quick trip to the local Prune store with a collection of some of the most gorgeous clothing I have ever seen! Not any closer to being Latina, I am, however, the proud new owner of a fabulous handbag and pair of sandals. Even contemplated heading to Buenos Aires and purchasing something from Benito Fernandez’ latest collection! For those of you unfamiliar with this maestro of moda, his glamorous, sexy fashions will be featured in the next Sex and the City movie, marking the international film debut of an Argentinian designer. Looks like Carrie Bradshaw and friends are also seeking their inner Latina. Last Sunday, quite by accident, a pal and I ran across a phenomenon. In front of the beautiful fountain in the San Martin Park was a crowd of Mendocinos of all ages and sizes ... exercising! The good news... the government of Mendoza offers free classes in the park. Tuesday and Thursday at 18:00 are aerobic classes, Saturdays (also at 6:00pm) are dancing classes. Sundays are for stretching sore muscles in a yoga class at 9:00 (and again at 11:00) and aerobics at 10:00 and 11:00. Sadly I realized that while I can manage exercise classes, when the dancing music turns on, I am woefully underprepared. Mendocinos move in ways I did not know the human form capable of! Those not as daring (mostly men) pull up a chair, sit back, and watch the class. When it finishes the bystanders clap and holler. Now that’s motivation! 17
Walk on the Wild Side Charlie Foley takes a look at Argentine wildlife, aside from the pigeon and the dog. Condor The symbol of the Andes, it has come to characterize the mountainous city of Mendoza in the same way that the bald eagle represents the United States or the bulldog to Britain. The condor is a large black feathered species of vulture with a little white ruff. The male is distinguished by the white patches on its wings, the large comb on its bald head and brown eyes; as opposed to the female’s beady red pupils. The head and neck are featherless and the skin changes color given emotional state (much like man blushing when embarrassed). The Condor is a scavenger and so contrary to the popular belief that they kill farm animals they will actually track a dying animal and then gorge on the carrion, however it is unable to fly again until digestion has begun. This may seem like an evolutionary default but as the condor can go 45 days without eating it is infrequently encountered. Various ancient Inca tribes believed that the condor was a link between the sky and the underworld, due to its hellish appearance and each year peasants in Andean hamlets would attempt to catch a condor for a bloodfest known as the Yawar. They would bind the legs and wings, feed the bird rum and then tie it to a bull, forcing the two animals into battle. The condor, which practices urohydrosis (the emptying of fecal matter on their legs for cooling), is a bird which bonds for life; that life being about 80 years must mean these animals have serious staying-power. One interesting myth about these morbid creatures is that they commit suicide, however studies have revealed that the condor becomes old and weak and then unable to fly falls to the unforgiving ground. Ornate Horned Frogs This little horned beast is in the running for the ugliest animal on the planet. It is a fat frog of luminous green with reddish spots and yellow lines. The horns are from the hard ridges over its bulbous eyes; making it appear like a garish drag queen. 18
This is the frog version of Hannibal Lecter, because it eats other frogs and insects and has been known to attempt an attack on mammals. There is a South American myth that if this frog bites the lip of a grazing horse, then that horse will wither and die. The ornate horned frog has an enormous mouth, almost twice the size of its body and has a row of razor-like teeth which enable it to be the nastiest of little carnivores. Bandurria This bright colored bird is like a cross between a toucan, a heron and an albatross. It is a large and long legged bird; unusual for a mountain and forest dweller. Its most interesting feature is the long curved bill used to forage for bugs and also to clack its mesmerizing metallic call. Armadillo The three banded armadillo is often called the ‘little armoured one’ and is native to Argentina. Its armored plates are known as ‘scutes’ and are necessary for its protection; unlike the North American armadillo which will scuttle into bushes when in fear. Argentina’s three banded armadillo, however, rolls itself into a small ball making it appear like an armored hedgehog. They notoriously have poor vision and so spend much of their time under the earth, where they use their massive claws to dig tunnels. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the armadillo is that it will sink in water, due to the heavy armor plates. To prevent itself going under, it will inflate its stomach and intestines; doubling its size and allowing it to swim. Pichciego The unattractive little cousin of the armadillo is known as the pink fairy armadillo, due to its pale pink color. The furry Argentine critter lives in grasslands and sandy plains, spending much of the time
swimming in the sand, similar to a Golden mole; both of which use their powerful front claws to part the sand like water. Its torpedo shaped head helps it bury deep when frightened and its hard bone back is its main defense.
Puma The puma is most famous as the big cat who is not a big cat but actually classed as a feline and also seems to have more names than any other animal. In Argentina it is known as the puma and stalks the rocky Andes for its prey. It is extremely territorial because it hides the corpses of its prey and returns to it for feeding. When going in for the kill it leaps onto the back of its prey and suffocates it with a neck bite; making use of its large claws and short-sprint ability (it can run as fast as 45mph). One of these golden catsâ€™ many names is the screechcat. This is because it has no larynx and so cannot roar. The noise it makes instead is a high-pitched screech.
The South American ostrich; this big flightless bird has been killed in Argentina for its meat, its feathers (uses for dusters) and its skin (used for leather). Much like the guanaco, the rhea lives as the dominant male with his harem. They are mostly silent birds, save during mating season when they produce a clicking sound. In fright, they run in a zig-zag; using their wings for balance, much like sails. Anteater The most unusual looking creature on the planet, they live a solitary life in grasslands where they snuffle and sniff for ants. They consume 30,000 little critters everyday but have no teeth; so they crush them with their gums and digest them with stones in their stomachs. Anteaters have extremely limited vision but an excellent sense of smell which they use in combination with their massive tongues; covered in saliva and capable of retracting 150 times a minute to trap ants.
Guanaco Chinchilla Were you to trek over the Andes you will see herds of guanaco, cousins to the llama. An interesting, cinnamon colored animal there are around 500,000 in existence. The females live in herds of ten to fifteen with a dominant male as a protector. Also roaming the mountains are the bachelor groups; numbering around fifty. These single males are chased away from the mother at a young age and between Nov and Feb these bachelors fight the dominant males for mating rights over a herd. These animals tend to live at around 13,000 ft, licking the nutrients and dew from cacti for sustenance. However the guanaco have always been hunted for their fur and thick skin, which many people in South America have used to make shoes. Mara The fourth largest of rodents looks like a rabbit and kangaroo cross-breed. They can run at 18 miles per hour and leap up to six feet. Their most interesting trait is that when they spot danger they bury their young in the sand and run for it.
A rodent which looks halfway between a very fat mouse and a squirrel, it has become a domesticated pet, but some wild chinchilla still live in the Andes. In the 19th century they were mercilessly hunted for their fur which is incredibly soft. A Jesuit priest, Juan Ignacio Molina (who studied the Andes rodent) first came up with the idea of breeding chinchillas for fur; an idea put into practice by one Francisco Irazavalhowever his little colony got wiped out by a 1896 chinchilla epidemic. Any chinchilla fur now on the market is from farm bred animals. An interesting story about the domestication of chinchillas centers on Mathias Chapman who scrambled over the Andes with a group of women for 3 years; only catching 11 furry little animals. He then took them back to America and thus started the pet chinchilla craze. Due to their thick fur they are unable to sweat and so they mostly become active during the cooler nights using their oversized ears for cooling. Most unusually for such a podgy animal, they are able to leap up to 5ft, which enables them to jump between rocks, escaping predators.
The Colors of Plaza Independencia Amanda May spills all about the underground art scene in Mendoza’s main square which Soto is proud of, was their stenciling images of oversized Argentine coins all around town when there was an “unexplained” shortage. (Its rumored that coins were being taken out of circulation and melted because they were worth more ounce for ounce than their actual face value). For the exhibition, the collective has photographed each of the stencils they have painted around Mendoza and even includes the stencils themselves, cut out of thick plastic film like x-rays.
Alejandro López Saldaña IIt’s impossible. You can’t visit Mendoza without passing though the largest bustling square, Plaza Independencia. Its benches, shade trees and large fountain make it the perfect place to people watch, picnic or just relax. But don’t leave it at that. While you’re in the plaza, step into its cool, literally underground cultural center to escape from the summer heat and to soak up some Mendocino art. Facing the fountain, enter the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno de Mendoza (MMAMM) from the left. December’s exhibition features three shows; “Esténcil” (“Stencil”) by a local artist collective, Acción Anónima, “La Cuarta Pared” (“The Fourth Wall”) by the Mexican artist, Alejandro López Saldaña, and “Psico-Robot-3M” (“Psycho-Robot-3M”) by the contemporary Mendoza painter Diego Stigliano.
“La Cuarta Pared” (“The Fourth Wall”) By Alejandro López Saldaña Alejandro López Saldaña is a Mexican artist that has been living and making his art here in Mendoza for the past three years. “La Cuarta Pared” (“The Fourth Wall”) is his contribution to the current exhibition. In Saldaña’s work, you are also the art. He uses optical illusion to create 3-D cube images on 2-D canvases, builds an actual room with three walls and shows a video of a busy street scene. In these spaces, you are the fourth wall as the audience, and therefore an
MMAMM December Show “ESTÉNCIL” (“STENCIL”) BY ACCIÓN ANÓNIMA “It’s a political act, in and of itself,” agreed group member Ana Paula Soto of the often politically charged imagery. Inciting social commentary and questioning authority are often of the goals of this guerilla style spray painting, in addition to imparting esthetics and design. This is the first gallery show for the group, which usually uses the city of Mendoza as its canvas. “We’re not opposed to galleries,” explained Soto, “but the streets allow us to bring our art to a much larger audience.” This installation is a rare chance to see all the work they’ve done in one place and features a mural-sized index map of the city with bomb symbols showing where they have left their mark. According to Soto, the group tries to get together at least once a week so that their work is always cutting edge. One example of this,
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integral part of the work. The inspiration for Saldaña’s metaphorical pieces comes from his megalopolis hometown of Mexico City. There, he got used to seeing the white and orange striped signage announcing construction zones. He uses these stripes for the MMAMM show in an effort to remind everyone that if everything isn’t under construction, it’s at least in constant change. “I noticed that the city changes so fast,” he explained, “and I began to ask myself, if the city is changing so fast, are the people as well?” He brings in the human element with the soundtrack of a human heart in the looping video, and of course with your presence. The audience contemplating the ephemeral nature of life is as much the art as the paint on canvas or video screen.
Museum’s also hosts free concerts in its auditorium, so ask at the front desk if a show will be going on while you’re here. Biblioteca Ricardo Tudela (Ricardo Tudela Library) Catch up on the daily news of Mendoza in this free library by leafing through the newspapers like Diario Uno and Los Andes. Is your Spanish not quite up to par? Don’t worry, you can still beat the heat spending some time between in their air-conditioned stacks browsing their art books about local painters, photographers and architects. The library is open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday thru Friday and is free and open to the public. Teatro Julio Quintanilla (Julio Quintanilla Theatre) Teatro Julio Quintanilla occupies the other side of the complex and is most alive at night. From Tuesday thru Sunday theatrical performances (in Spanish) and concerts fill their newly remodeled theatre; beginning around 9 or 10 p.m. Tickets are cheap, ranging from around $10-20 pesos per person. Reference their poster outside the entrance (facing the fountain, enter from the right) to check their upcoming performances. “La Feria” (“Artisan Fair”)
Psico-Robot-3M (“Psycho-Robot-3m”) By Diego Stigliano Diego Stigliano is a contemporary Mendozan painter that makes up the third part to the show. In the exhibition’s program, Pilar Bosia describes his work as “a distorting prism that shows us another reality.” Which, for those of us who don’t speak art history lingo, basically means he’s showing us a really twisted version of the world as we know it. Stigliano uses painting, software and good old-fashioned drawing to create this surreal universe. Viewing his work is easy and amusing at first, harkening the color palate and rounded forms often used in children’s cartoons. But at second glance, the subject’s grins reveal themselves as sinister. According to the program, these dark characters live trapped in this parallel world without the power to understand it, much less to overcome it. In this way, they are quagmired as much as we are, born into largely disorganized societies that only very few can change. Don’t miss this virulent and corrosive work. Inaugurated the 26th of November, the show will run until the 3rd of January. According to the MMAMM administration, the first month of 2010 will feature pieces from the municipal collection of historical and modern art works of Mendozan artists. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and senior citizens, and free for children under 12. All enter free on Wednesdays. Open 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Guided tours (in Spanish) available 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Closed Mondays. Tel. 4257279, www.ciudaddemendoza.gov.ar. The 24
In the evenings (Thursday thru Sunday), head down past the city’s glowing, electric coat of arms to contemplate what exactly the red hat on a stick means, and of course to visit “La Feria” artisan fair in Plaza Independecia. Booths of Argentine artists and craftsmen line the sidewalks selling everything your inner creative could desire; mate cups, wood carvings, jewelry, children’s toys, knives, frames, boxes, paintingsyou name it! If you’re aiming to acquire the Argentine hippie look, hunt for the “trenza” vendors who sell long, beaded, friendship braids that are tied into the hair. It takes about 5 minutes to put in and at only about $15 pesos it’s worth the story. Just off of Plaza Independencia is Avenida Mitre with it’s own mix of artsy booth dwellers. On this street the products change from eye candy to mouth candy; marinades, caramel sauces (dulce de leche,) jams and spreads are all lined up for the tasting and the buying. Plaza Independencia is one of the better places to pick up gifts for loved ones and create lasting memories of Mendoza.
dining out mendoza city flora
Ladies and Gentleman, Flora is back! Originally in Chacras, this culinary fusion of Argentinean and European cuisine has now reopened in Mendoza city center. The décor of beautiful carved wood and high ceilings makes Flora well prepared to be apart of any special evening. Upon visiting, the wait staff went above and beyond normal service standards and patiently accommodated the indecisive nature of my group. On beautifully set tables, our salads were served fresh along side homemade breads and delectable spreads. You’ll have trouble choosing between the gourmet entrées such as glazed chicken, rack of lamb, sandwiches, and grilled fish in paper; all fit to be paired with a wine from the extensive wine list. For dessert I recommend the tasting platter, with a sweet bite or two of all they offer. Come hungry because this is the type of place you want to partake in all the courses. Belgrano 1069. Tel: 261420-4322. Mon-Sat 11:00am–15:00pm and 18:00pm -01:00am. Avg. meal cost: $40.00 pesos
smell of meat smoldering over live coals wafts from the kitchen through the restaurant, warning all of the savory flavors to come. The restaurant has two main spaces: the interior and the exterior, “El Deck.” The internal concept is of tranquility and slow cooked meals, whereas “El Deck” is more laid back and characterized by fast plates, like tapas. On the menu you’ll find savory dishes of thinly sliced raw deer (carpaccio de ciervo,) smoked salmon (charqui de salmon) and crepes of spider crab and shrimps (crepes de centolla y camarones.) Tempting desserts like the Baileys parfait is fit to follow. It’s impossible to ignore the extraordinary quality and the cozy ambiance. Perú 1192.Tel. 261- 4232387. Monday–Saturday, 20:30pm-close.
ocho cepas la sal
Beautifully renovated from a large, colonial style house, Ocho Cepas casually exudes elegance and culinary expertise. The dominate concept on the menu is asado, for which head Chef Max Casá is famous. The 28
After a stint in Thailand, French-Argentinean owner Emmanuel Smith came to Mendoza with a handful of ingredients and some big ideas. A few months later Wasana is born, a two-storey restaurant with a swanky artist’s vibe and food that boasts the uncommon Argentinean adjective, healthy. Out front, a sea of red couches are situated in front of walls of bamboo and stone. It’s a great set-up to chill with friends at the Happy Hour, where you’ll soon be grinning with the buy-one-getone-free drink special. Inside mellow lighting of orange, yellow and red mingles with funky music and bold art work. The home style architecture, separated into rooms, makes this large restaurant intimate and easily accommodating to large parties. For couples
wasana I recommend requesting a spot on the outdoor deck upstairs. The food is a Mendocinan´s version of Thai, not too spicy with tender meats. They make special efforts to give a beautiful plate presentation using garnishes of complimentary colours. I had the Ensalada Tibia de Cerdo and the Masa Maan Nua which were unavoidably similar in flavour but both very tasty. For dessert the Platano Crocante and Mascarpone are delicious! Their in-house sommelier can give you a great suggestion from the 50+ bottle wine list and if you like what you hear sign-up for their Sunday wine classes. Aristides Villanueva 785. Tel. 261425-6762. Tuesday - Sunday, Bar 18:30 - Close, Kitchen 20:30 - 1am. Happy Hour from 18:30-20:30 & 24-1:30 12pm - 1am. Avg. Meal cost: $50 pesos
Best friends Gustavo and Charlie have realized their dream of opening a restaurant together with this hip eatery on Aristides Villanueva. They pride themselves on being the only restaurant on Aristides with traditional Argentine bbq asado and wine. Although this rustic style restaurant specializes in beef, it has quite a diverse menu that includes salads, sandwiches, pizzas and a unique selection of papas fritas (French fries). Everything is freshly cooked so prepare to have a bit of patience. There is a good wine list and outdoor seating on the lively sidewalk. The lounge in the back is filled with antique furniture and perfect for talking and enjoying a drink. The
plates are big, the wait staff is friendly, and the location is central to the best nightlife. *Look for their coupon inside the magazine! Aristides Villanueva 495. Tel: 261- 425-0420. Everyday, 11:00 am - 3:00 am. Avg. meal cost: $25.00 pesos
For a romantic evening outdoors Anna Bistro is unsurpassable. Carved wood tables adorned with candles are nestled between exotic flowering plants and hanging vines. Couple this with soft lighting and tranquil jazz and any mundane evening is transformed into a memorable event. A 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, produce and an unavoidable bout of indesisivness. 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: $45.00 pesos
wings. The venue is a handsome townhouse with tall ceilings and large rooms painted in fun bright colors and superhero graphics. The outdoor seating is a great spot to people watch and to match the music to your order, pop a coin into their jukebox for a worldwide montage of dinner sing-a-longs. *Look in our magazine for their coupon discount. Aristides Villanueva 168. Tel: 261- 429-9119. Hours: Lunch, Tuesday - Saturday, 12:30pm15:30pm. Dinner, every day, 20:30pm-2am. Avg. meal cost: $35.00 pesos
If you’re after mariscos (shrimp) Praga is undoubtedly the best restaurant in town,. specializing in creative seafood dishes such as sea urchin, Spanish octopus and shrimp chop suey. Each item is primed to be partnered with a vino from their spectacular wine list, the bottles of which are stored in an air-conditioned side room, aptly named, “Farmacia.” No wonder it’s a popular hangout for many of Mendoza’s prominent winemakers. In front of Praga is a scenic plaza giving this restaurant a romantic charge fit for a Paris tryst. Inside is an atmospheric courtyard framed in wood timber. The delightful, Boterostyle paintings that hang on the pale yellow walls are created by the owner’s wife, Lucía Arra, and are available for purchase. Desserts of crème brulée and chocolate crepes with orange wil have you swimming in AphroditePoseidon bliss. Leonidas Aguirre 413. Tel: 261- 425-9585 pragamarisqueria.com.ar. Monday Saturday, 20:00pm-1.30am. Avg. meal cost: $50.00 pesos
finicky of wine snobs. Their chef compiles a tantalising menu that includes top-notch lomo steaks, a rotating range of salads and a savory ginger/honey chicken dish that is second to none. If you like what you see and taste, book a room in one of their seven Renaissance-style villas. Don’t forget to call ahead for dinner reservations! Ruta 60 s/n 5517 Maipú. Tel: 261-496- 0131. www.tapiz.com. Lunch, everyday, 12:00pm-15:00pm. Dinner, Sunday-Thursday, 20:00pm-23:00pm, Friday & Saturday ‘til 24:00pm. Avg. meal cost: $45 pesos
Casa de Campo
For rustic charm and traditional dishes visit Casa de Campo; A 15-minute taxi ride from Mendoza city center. Think welcoming casa with wooden beams, intimate tables and a small but lively verandah. Locals flock for the mouth-watering Argentine fare; Appetizers come in a taster’s collection of home-made goodies, from bread, prosciuttio and olive oil to sausage, pickled eggplant, cheeses and olives. Save some room for their clay oven specialties of succulent rabbit and suckling pig. “Grandma´s Menu,” the dish of the day, is made from in season, locally grown produce. Compliment this with a bottle from their extensive wine list and the result is a flavor combination of gourmet quality. A picturesque stroll to Rutini La Rural bodega, just ten minutes away, is a wonderful way to conclude the afternoon. Urquiza 1516, Coquimbito, Maipu. Tel: 261- 481-1605. www.casadecampomza. com. Everyday 12pm - 18pm. Avg. meal cost: $35.00 pesos
Arístides Villanueva’s newest eatery is an ambitious fusion snack-house, mixing up five different cuisines from around the World. Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Argentine and American are thrown together with the resulting schizophrenia of spring rolls, next to sweet and sour pork, followed by Buffalo
outside city center Terruño-Club Tapiz Resort´s
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
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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 hangover options. *Get your shut-eye before a night out because the party doesn’t even get started until midnight.
BELIEVE IRISH PUB
One of the few bars in Mendoza with a nice island counter and high stools to prop yourself up on. Kelly, the English-blooded, 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 and switch from hit music-video montages to football games. Monday night is International night and for their packed events DJ’s rock the house. Colon and España 241. Tel. 261-429-5567. www.believeirishpub.com.ar
THE VINES OF MENDOZA
As the first and only true tasting room in South America, The Vines of Mendoza offers the broadest selection of premium boutique wines from Argentina. Compare the wine notes with one of their tasting flights or chose a glass from the impressive list of limited production wines. Chatting with their learned bartenders and sipping fabulous flavours on the patio under a canopy of vines, makes for a truly enjoyable afternoon. *Join their Acequia Wine Club if you wish to regularly receive these exclusive Argentinean wines. Espejo 567, Tel. 0261 4381031. Monday-Saturday, 15:00pm–22:00pm www.vinesofmendoza.com
Noisy and young but always fun. Por Aca is a big old house converted into numerous little 30
beer drinking hideaways. Watch you don’t get usurped by the constant gangs of pizza eating, birthday partiers. Conversation will involve shouting and cupping one ear but this is more than compensated by the good looking clientele. Aristides Villanueva 557. Tel. 261-420-0346
This Argentinean brewery originated in Mar de Plata from three friends sharing one great idea, “to rescue the true brewing tradition.” They’ve fathered some great artesanal brews and in a country as wine crazy as Argentina, going the beer route was a gutsy move. They managed to pull it off (the tap, that is) and since 1998 successfully launched ten locations around Argentina. On the busy street of Arístides you’ll find the Mendoza location. It’s your classic upper scale beer bar, heavy on the wood, brass and warm lighting. Their beers, Honey, Cream, Barely and Kolsh, sound more like swimsuit models than drink-list items and perhaps justly so, for these frothy sirens are blissfully designed and certainly something to drool over. Arístides Villanueva 153 Tel. 261-4238327. Everyday from 19:00pm-close. Happy Hour everyday from 19:00pm-20:00pm. www.cervezaantares.com
La Reserva Pub
This is the best disco bar in the city center and with a healthy mix of transsexuals, shemales, gays, strays and straights, a dancefloor wallflower will stay very entertained. The drag shows and cabaret acts are flamboyant and outrageous and would rival any 1920s Berlin revue. MC Tranny La Turca is a Mendoza legend and the dance shows are often peppered with witty comedy sketches. Despite the alternative entertainment the bar attracts a mixed crowd who are known to jump on stage and join in the fun. Go late. Rivadavia 32, Tel. 261- 420-3531
Mendoza may appear as a conservative buttoned down city but it has a thriving alternative scene and a vibrant gay nightlife. Queen is a pioneering club showcasing the
city’s most colourful and eccentric night owls. This medium sized club is located several blocks south of the bus terminal and is open Fridays and Saturdays, the second night attracting a mixed crowd who come for fantastic drag shows followed by dance music and Latino beats. 25 de Mayo 318, Dorrego Tel. 261- 431-5846. www.queenmendoza.com
outside city center carilo nightclub and restaurant
The newly opened restaurant is the latest extension to one of Mendoza’s best superclubs Carilo in El Challao. Now you can eat, drink and dance under several terraces, roofs and stars in one location. The restaurant puts together alfresco dining and cabaret with a plasma screen showing various divas in concert. Energetic waiters manage the tiered seating and deliver light meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. Should you forget that the night is still young, vodka, speed and fernet are on hand in addition to a good selection of wine. The nightclub brings in guest DJs on Fridays to play styles from electronica to trance to techno. Saturday´s groove to a different beat with retro hits from the 70s and 80s but the club’s four dance floors aren’t just there for looks. Get out there and shake a little! Las Estaciones S/N El Challao Tel. 261- 444-6835
One of the bigger night clubs close to the city center. It has a huge dance floor in the biggest of its three rooms and two bars. The crowd ranges from about eighteen to late twenties, weighted one way or the other depending on the night. The music is a mix of rock and regaeton with the occasional cuarteto song. The cover is $20 pesos and ladies get in free. Don’t stress over directions as most taxi drivers are well acquainted with the location. Av. San Martin 905. Tel. 26115-453-1038. www.iskradiscopub.com.ar
Airport Tel: 448 0017 Accesso Norte s/n. El Plumerillo Bus Terminal Tel: 431 3001 Av. de Acceso Este y Costanera. Bus Routes Maipu Linea 10 Nº 171, 172, 173, calle Rioja and Garibaldi, Chacras Nº 115 or 116, 25 de Mayo and Montevideo. Gendarmeria Nacional Tel 423 0120 Info on tunnel and road conditions Hospitals Hospital Central Tel 429 7100. Private Hospital Clinica de Cuyo José Vicente Zapata 63 Tel 4059000 firstname.lastname@example.org Museums Museo Moyano Lakeside museum shaped like a house-boat with giant condors and indian relics. Parque General San Martin, South end of the Lake. Tel: 428.7666. Espacio Contemporáneo de Arte (ECA) Ornate Goliath in the micro-center with simultaneous exhibitions of contemporary art. 9 de Julio and Gutiérrez Streets, Tel: 429.0117. Museo del Area Fundacional Located in Mendoza´s historical district, has excavation sites of centuries old civilization. Plaza Pedro del Castillo, Alberdi y Videla del Castillo Tel: 425.6927. Museo de Pasado Cuyano 1873 house-turned-museum has sixteen separate rooms dedicated to Cuyano history. Montevideo 544 Tel: 423.6031. Museo Historico San Martin Everything you could ever want to know about General San Martin. Remedios de Escalada de San Martín 1843, La Alameda. Tel: 428.7947. Museo Popular Callejero ¨Popular Street Museum¨ is a collection of stand-alone boxes preserving Mendoza´s cultural past. Las Heras Street, between 25 de Mayo and Peru. Dentist Rodrigo Martinez Emilio Civit 356 Tel 4231200. Money Currency Exchange Maguitur San Martin 1203 Tel (0261) 4251575. Travellers Cheques Supervielle Av San Martin 1198. English Conversation Group Karl Schroeter Tu Café, Colon 347 Wednesdays 10pm. TRAVELER TIPS in mendoza Shipping Wine You cannot do it by ordinary post. Courier is expensive (at least $12 US a bottle). The only viable way is to carry it in a special styrofoam wine box that can be checked in with your luggage. Such wine boxes can be bought at most wine stores or at wine tour company Trout & Wine, Espejo 266. As for limits entering your country, in most cases you can take as much as you want as long as you declare it and pay a nominal fee. Exceptions are Iran, Dubai and Salt Lake City. Crime Mendoza has its fair share of sneaky, opportunist snatch and run thieves. Have nothing valuable in your knapsack or handbag. Sew passport and credit cards into secret knickers pocket and you should be okay. Danger spots: bus terminal and internet cafes. Note; hostel lockers are not safe. Bike Tours in Maipu The most economical way to do a wine tour in Mendoza. Take bus (see above) to Urquiza street where you’ll find several bike rental companies. Some are notorious for dodgy bikes. Check and double check you get a good mount as a puncture can cause a mini nightmare. Head south, as north of Maipu is urban and not pretty. Recommended wineries: Rutini, Tempus Alba, Di Tommasso and certainly Carinae. When returning have a late lunch at the excellent Casa de Campo. Nightclubs In most nightclubs you have to queue twice for drink which can get slightly exasperating as the night wears on. It is wise to buy several drink tickets at once for easy, unimpeded flow of alcohol. Many nightclubs are situated 200 light years away in Chacras which can cause problems getting home.