MENDOZA`S FREE MAGAZINE
Nยบ54 FEB / MAR 2012
CONTENTS NEWS REPUBLIC
Wine Express ..................................................................................6
24 Hours in the Life of Winemaker ................................................8
Quantitative Easing .....................................................................6
The Wine Routes of Uruguay ........................................................18
Lets Throw a Party ........................................................................6
The Winery Guide ........................................................................28
On the Fly .....................................................................................12
Vendimia’s Calendar ..................................................................14 Vendimia’s History .....................................................................16 Upcoming Events ........................................................................23 Mendoza Reserve .......................................................................24
RESTAURANTS Dining Out ...................................................................................30
MAPS & TIPS Useful Information.......................................................................32 Map of Maipu and Chacras de Coria..........................................32 Map of Mendoza City Center.......................................................34
CREDITS Issue February - March 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 (155018874), Mariana Gómez Rus firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Design: Beattub, www.beattub.com Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION Contributing Authors: Amanda Barnes, Gwynne Hogan, Charlie O’Malley, Nati Serre, Molly Hetz. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
news REPUBLIC By Charlie O’Malley
Wine Express “How do I ship my wine home?” It is a frequent question here in Argentina and the answer is not so satisfying. Ordinary post does not shift alcohol and unless you are willing to haul a case home as luggage, the only choice is to pay for a very expensive courier who will not take responsibility if the wine goes missing as there is no insurance. Wine lover Greg McLaughlin encountered the same problem in South Africa when trying to send some cases home. With a career in the courier industry and knowledge of how modern day shipping works, he would not take no for an answer. He responded by setting up his own company that specializes in moving wine all over the World – a kind of “DHL for wine” if you like. In Argentina, Wineflite promises to ship door to door to the US for $175 US for the first box of six and $90 US for the second. To Europe the price is $200 US first time round and $90 the following. The deal maker is that Wineflite coordinate everything and guarantees the wine. The local rep in Mendoza is Carolyn Gallagher and she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s Throw a Party Ash Wednesday looms. The 22nd of February is creeping up on us all and the ensuing 40 days of Lent when every South American religiously dons sack cloth, drinks bitter black coffee and munches on raw potatoes for over a month in contrition for the year’s sin, or at least thinks about it. To sweeten this bitter pill the entire continent gets down to serious partying the preceding 4 days and work up a serious hangover that requires 40 days to recover. This party is of course called Carnival and has put places such as Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo and Barranquilla in Colombia on every hedonist’s radar for sheer wildness, debauchery and salacious self indulgence. But what of Argentina? The town of Gualeguaychu in Entre Rios is definitely the closest thing to a Rio blowout in the country with the city flooded by bikini clad beauties and drunken thrill seekers. Salta City in the north west is also famous for a street party with a strong Bolivian and Paraguayan flavor that celebrates Pachamama with a glorious water fight. La Rioja province’s Chaya festival deteriorates into organized chaos with flour flinging sessions making the wine town of Chilecitos look like a giant foodfight. Now that the government has declared the 21st and 22nd of February national holidays to facilitate such revelry, I wonder if Mendoza’s very own Harvest festival (which happens at the same time) could let its hair down and succumb to such magnificent overindulgence. One idea would be a glorious wine fight such as the famous Haro Wine battle that takes place in Spain every year. Anyone with a suitable venue and 10,000 liters of wine to “throw away” please contact Wine Republic. 6
Quantitative Easing A recent Australian traveler went to change his excess pesos at Ezeiza airport before leaving the country. The exchange house refused to accept the Argentine currency with the result our astonished and somewhat dismayed tourist had to make a mad dash around the duty free and offload his unloved pesos on unnecessary tourist tat. I can just imagine the t-shirt – “My brother couldn´t change his pesos in Argentina so I got this lousy t-shirt.” While the government’s recent clampdown on dollar purchases may result in an unintended boost in sales for duty free stores in airports, it does nothing for the image of Argentina as “un pais en serio.” The exchange controls were designed to strenghten the currency against the dollar when it seems quite the opposite has happened as locals now flock to black market dealers selling dollars at $4.75 rather than the official rate of $4.33. A devaluation by default has occurred and now more and more penny jars around the world will fill with unwanted peso notes, accidental remnants and mementos of that fabulous Argentina trip in 2012.
24 hours in the life of a winemaker
Although Mendoza celebrates with fiestas and siestas during harvest, winemakers are at their busiest time of the year. Amanda Barnes writes 24 hours in the life of winemaker Brennan Firth.
April 25th 12am
It’s midnight. The winery is much cooler, but I’m still sweating like a pig. I am running around like a bit of a wild man, monitoring tanks, tasting juice, taking temperatures and breaking down the caps. I have seven full tanks at the moment and the caps (grapes risen to the top) need breaking every five to seven hours. At this early point in fermentation the must is more like a thick soup – I lift the plunger high over my head and force it down into the stiff mound of blackish purple berries. It’s like kneading dough. I inhale the heady aromas: bananas, tropical fruit and the reminiscence of nail polish remover. Jake (my intern) is washing down all the tools, pumps, equipment and the floor. I laugh as his head nods and eyes roll and he drops off into momentary sleep, only to be rudely awakened by spraying his own feet with the cold water.
Tanks are ready, the place is clean and prepped for the morning and Jake is most definitely half asleep. We haul our exhausted sweaty bodies into the car. I don’t like to leave my grapes unattended for even a moment but I’m running on less than three hours sleep and have to pick the Malbec in the morning. I put on some loud music to keep us awake and we hit the road.
Home. Cold beer, fag and a rather stale ham and cheese sandwich from yesterday. I stink, but I forget about showering and roll into bed.
Alarm clock rings. Excited as a child on Christmas morning, I get up. My body doesn’t want to but my mind is reeling, desperate to get harvesting. Being part of the pick is really important to me. I’ve been tasting the grapes every day for the last month or two, and I know today is the day I want my Malbec harvested. You basically have to chew the hell out the grape to know when it’s ready – when the seed 8
is no longer bitter and the grape not yet a raisin. Yesterday the grapes were prime, so today is the moment. This is it. I boil the kettle and bang on Jake’s door, I hear a grumble from inside, I bang again, I can hear his leg thud to the ground – mission accomplished. We head out to the car. Checklist: Jake, thermos and mate [highly caffeinated tea] and very loud rock music to keep us awake.
We get to the vineyard in La Consulta. Covered in sunscreen and with big sombreros we start to pick as the hired pickers trickle in two by two over the next hour. It’s really important to start picking before the sun is up while the grapes are at their finest. I feel a real buzz being here. Hand picking is meticulous work. The leaves are starting to dry out so they crumble in your hands. I don’t want any of the leaves making their way into the buckets. I tell a picker next to me to he needs to start over, taking out the clusters while leaving all of the leaves behind. High quality fruit deserves high quality treatment at all costs.
We’ve almost picked all of our two tons, but the truck isn’t here. My stomach knots. I call the truck hire company – no answer. I call another contact and offer him double to bring a truck right now. He calls me back two minutes later, a truck is on its way. Truckers make a ton of money in harvest. I go back to my vines.
The truck arrives. The harvesting crew sits back and watch how fast two guys move 2,000 kilos of Malbec by hand onto the truck. Jake is bright red and my back is killing me.
I send Jake off with the truck driver and grapes to the winery. I get in my car, turn on the stereo (reggae this time, but still loud), and drive to my second pick of the day – my Petit Verdot in Vista Flores.
I pull up to the vineyard. My phone rings - it’s Jake. The truck tyre has exploded and they are stranded on the freeway. Jake is scared and hacked off – he can’t speak Spanish, is with a driver he doesn’t know and can’t talk to. Not to mention stuck on a bridge with fast moving trucks blaring their horns as they pass. Frustrated he admits he doesn’t know what to do. I think about my grapes sitting under the hot sun. I am torn, but I have to harvest my Petit Verdot. I tell Jake to calm down, do whatever necessary to get the grapes to the winery ASAP, and I speak to the driver telling him that whatever it takes, those grapes need to get to the winery now.
I drink a lot of mate and am neck deep again in vines picking the Petit Verdot. The excitement returns and I get lost in the vines.
I call Jake, they got a jump start and started to drive on the flat tyre, slowly heading to the winery. I keep picking.
We’ve finished the pick and I load the grapes on my friend’s truck and send him to the winery. Being late in the season I don’t want to miss out on checking the maturity of some of the other fruit I buy, so I drive another 30 minutes to taste more grapes. I chew. They need three or four more days. I’ll come back tomorrow and look again.
thank the driver and offer to pay him for his help, he smiles and tells me it’s nothing – just a favor to a friend. He makes me smile - this is Argentina, these things happen.
At the winery I start setting up the sorting tables and de-stemmer. The Petit Verdot is still nice and cool and in pristine condition to process. With a couple of manual helpers we sort through the grapes with great detail – removing any leaves or damaged grapes.
The Malbec finally arrives, fortunately just as we finish sorting the Petit Verdot. The truck is screwed – driving with a full load on a flat tyre is not good and it’s completely down to the rim. But it is the least of my concerns. I need to cool down my grapes and do so by draping bags of dry ice over them. The white smoke of the carbon dioxide seeps out, covering them in cool mist. We put cooling plates inside the tanks of Petit Verdot and I drop the temperature of the must to 10 C for its cold soak. My cellar worker has been taking readings and doing punch downs all day. I take a look at all the tanks and try the juices to check how they are progressing. If any problems emerge, it is essential to correct them right here and now.
The rush of adrenaline is starting to come back – it’s time to crush some grapes. I feel a real synergy and can’t wait to see how much fruit I’ll have in the tank to ferment. Once all grapes make it into the fermenters, we cool the must down to 10 C.
Jake calls. The truck is stuck on a hill and has now run out of diesel. Jake says he quits, he wants to go home, this is too much. I tell him I’ll be there shortly and explain that this is Argentina, these things happen.
I get to the truck with a couple soda bottles full of diesel. We fill it up and figure out how to jump start it. It works for a second, then the truck dies again. It is just too heavy with all the fruit. I hail down another large truck and ask the driver if he can help tow ours up the hill. He smiles, unhooks his trailer, hooks up ours and tows it up the hill – with a good running start the truck gets going again. I
We clean all the equipment from the sorting and crushing. The winery starts to look like a winery again, and less like Willy Wonka’s blueberry factory.
After cleaning everything and with the musts all in a cold soak, it’s time for our first legitimate break of the day. Ice cold beer in big mugs and we’re finally off our feet. We sit back and toast, letting the cool, fizzy beer dance all over our palates and trickle down our parched throats, cleansing away the astringent tannins and debris from our taste buds. Our 24 inch super lomos arrive, the warm freshly baked bread and dripping steak juice calm our rumbling stomachs. More beer and I take my time over a nice smoke.
We’re back on our feet and in the winery. I check all the fermenting tanks again and punch down a couple of caps with a renewed energy. The dough is getting softer as the ferments progress.
Another trucker pulls up in preparation for tomorrow’s pick and we load it with 200 boxes. Then we clean two barrels that we have to fill in order to make room for tomorrow´s grapes that will be fermented in the same tank as where I’m storing the wine. Jake and I set up the barrel washer and get to work cleaning them
out. As they drip-dry, we sort out the pump and hoses to transfer the 500 liters of wine, pressed yesterday, into the barrels.
I pull the barrels upright again and start to pump in the wine. As the thick, blood red wine pours in, I lean my head over the bung hole and pay close attention to each and every aroma being forced out. I get lots of fruit and earth notes but am keeping my eye out for sulphur or other erroneous aromas. I start to imagine how this wine will be after 22 months aging in barrel.
It’s midnight, only an hour or so more work before we hit the hay for a mini siesta, and then it starts all over again at 4:30 am. The schedule is tight, my boots feel like clamps and Jake is spraying his feet again in a sleepy daze - but I am in the zone, running on pure unadulterated adrenaline. Brennan Firth is a maverick 28 year old winemaker. 2012 will be his fourth harvest for his wine label, Cepas Elegidas. He has studied wine through experience only, doing three harvests in Mendoza and California (before starting his own wine) and has worked with esteemed winemakers such as Paul Hobbs, Paul Lato and Walter Bressia Jr. Every harvest he makes different wines, his philosophy being that in each wine you capture a moment that can never be repeated. To visit his winery or buy his wines contact Bfirth@cepaselegidas.com.ar
Illustrations by Donough O´Malley www.pencilrobot.net
on the fly Estancia San Pablo is gaining a reputation amongst fly fishers for excellent fishing. But is that possible in Wine Country? Charlie O’Malley finds out. Patagonia gets all the attention when it comes to fly fishing in Argentina. Monster 30lb brown trout on the Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego and lively rainbow in the pristine waterways of the Lake District have foreign anglers struggling into their waders and tripping over their rods in a frantic effort to get down there while the fish are still biting. Specialist fishing lodges dot the landscape and many charge as much as $1000 US a day for the privilege of planting yourself by the riverbank. Outfitters are willing to pay as much $5 US a click for a Google ad that appears when somebody types “I want to go fishing in Patagonia please.” Meanwhile, to the north lies Mendoza, basking in sun and wine and dramatic Andean scenery. Not long on the tourist radar, the area is content gaining a reputation as the perfect escape for those who love reveling in the lush vineyards and sipping Malbec whilst gorging on ice cream. People believe the only fish you get here is on a plate and the lack of bugs mean a fly is just another term for a trouser zip. Yet the fact is there is a community of locals who like nothing better than pulling on rubber tights and spending their weekends dancing in mountain streams trying to catch that big one. They do it in Uspallata,
they do it in Potrerillos, they do it in San Rafael and they especially do it in Estancia San Pablo in the heart of Valle de Uco. ESTANCIA SAN PABLO RIPPLES ALONG THE ANDEAN FOOTHILLS THE WHOLE WAY TO CHILE Valle de Uco is a fertile plain 80km southwest of Mendoza city. Nestled between the low Pre-Cordillera and the towering blunted peaks of the Cordon de Plata, it is a high altitude zone producing excellent grapes, pears and peaches. It also produces a wily, intelligent, querulous trout. The valley is particularly stunning at daybreak when the snowcapped peaks reflect the bright orange and pink of the rising sun. Also bathed in such chocolate box glory is Estancia San Pablo, a 40,000ha working ranch that ripples along the Andean foothills the whole way to Chile. 3000 rust-colored cattle dot the hills, watched by monogamous condors and shy guanacos. (The estancia loses several hundred cattle a year to wild, elusive puma that stalk the higher mountain slopes). Nestled in this green valley is an inviting homestead with a small vineyard that produces Malbec under the label Un Lugar en los Andes. The main draw here is the crystal clear Rio San Pablo, a fast moving mountain stream that gushes over brown stones and through a long green sliver of valley that opens the mountains to Argentina’s Pacific neighour. This river is jumping with trout - wild fighting rainbow that are small, super quick and hard to catch. They frustrate the most experienced fishermen and challenge the most adept. Skilled anglers can spend hours trying to read the river and coax something from the clear pools and out onto the lawn-like banks, yet end up troutless. Then along comes owner Walter Sibila. He shouts “lunch time!” and within 15 minutes has four fat beauties ready for the frying pan. Lunch is a riverside spectacular of that same trout, cooked in white wine sauce, accompanied by fresh salad, the finest meat and Walter´s excellent high altitude Malbec.
Then back to the river. The somewhat humbled fishermen take comfort from Walter’s account that he fished this river for one year before he caught anything and for several years before he learned all its secrets. “Now it’s the most convenient fish store in the valley.” he says. NOW IT’S THE MOST CONVENIENT FISH STORE IN THE VALLEY They then get a crash course in fishing the San Pablo, learning that here the trout are no fools and must be approached in a completely different manner with a different fly and with a different technique. They also require effort and speed. “The more you work, the more you catch.” he declares. Such advice pays off. By early evening the river reveals itself as teeming with rainbow colored stone dwellers that want to come out to play. In fact the river has too much trout and for this reason Walter has no qualms about keeping some for the dinner table. The excited fisherman stalks the riverbank, willing the sun not to set anymore and reveling in such remarkable fishing. Of course the sun eventually sets and we must go home. Home is a comfy five-bedroom lodge further down the river with a young vineyard out front. The décor is “rustic deluxe” with bare rafters, flagstone floors and decorated with estancia memorabilia. Every room has an immaculate ensuite bathroom. We join Walter’s family for an excellent dinner with most of the food grown on the farm. “Here the chicken comes wrapped in feathers, not plastic.” he says as we sip some of the valleys finest wines. Walter is in fact a trained winemaker and studied in the Medoc in France, a world famous region in fact smaller than his estancia, as is Manhattan. In the evening we
take a visit to his own private cava where he stores his ageing Malbec in oak barrels. Later we enjoy a nightcap outside. The night sky is an incredible disco ball of infinity. The star formations are completely unfamiliar to those who are used to the northern skies and we argue over which is the famous Southern Star. Easier to see are Magellanic clouds, a hazy cluster of galaxies first observed by the Portuguese sailor as he sailed around the world. A revelation indeed, on a day of revelations. Estancia San Pablo conduct one-day fly-fishing excursions from Mendoza city or multi-day overnight stays, with horse riding and trekking. The estancia is a close drive to wineries such as Salentein and Andeluna. To book contact www.troutandwine.com.
vendimia’s calendar NATI SERRE ROUNDS UP THE VENDIMIA EVENTS THAT YOU JUST CAN’T MISS:
MOVIE NIGHTS IN THE PARK 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 Feb; 21.30 Held in an open space in the Rose garden at Parque San Martin, for tourists and local to enjoy a selection of national and Mendocino movies and documentaries. DANCING IN THE PARK 26, 27 and 28 Jan; 21.30 It’s not quite Bruce Springsteen but Mendoza’s version sees a group of professional dancers and musicians show their love for getting jiggy with it in Parque San Martin. Tango, flamenco and arab dancing guaranteed. CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES 5, 12 and 19 Feb; 17.30 Keep the rug rats happy during the late afternoon with these activities in Teatro Pulgarcito in the park. MENDOROCK 3, 4 and 5 Feb; 20.00 Some of Mendoza’s best rock musicians come out to play with three nights of concerts at Teatro Gabriela Mistral in Parque O’Higgins. JAZZ ON THE LAKE 10, 11 and 12 Feb; 20.00 Summer evenings by the lake with local jazz musicians playing to their hearts content. Parque San Martin. SEMANA FEDERAL 14 - 19 Feb; 20.00 A week of food, market stalls, music and dance from the different provinces of Mendoza. A good chance to steal a photo and kiss with the Vendimia Queens. Parque San Martin. ANNUAL MEGATASTING 23, 24 and 25 Feb; 20.00 Three days of wine tasting on Sarmiento street in one of the best events for vinophiles. Come and meet us at the Wine Republic stand! 14
THE BLESSING OF THE GRAPES 26 Feb; 21.00 Held in the “Prado Gaucho” in San Martin Park as a symbol of the province’s Christian beliefs, the grapes are sanctified and the harvest blessed. QUEENS’ PARADE 2 March; 21.00 Held in the city centre starting on Av. Colón, then San Martín, Las Heras, Chile and finally Sarmiento. On their specially designed parade cars, the queens tour the city centre, waving to the anxious crowds. There might also be some grape throwing from the cars too, so look out. For a cocktail party with a view of the parade, get yourself down to the Hyatt. THE VENDIMIA CARROUSEL 3 March; 10.00 This is the daylight parade where the queens, musicians and performers get to interact a bit more with the enthusiastic audience, who, in turn, struggle to keep their cool while dodging the melons and cartons of wine thrown from the carousels. THE CENTRAL ACT 3, 4 and 5 March Held at the Frank Romero Day Amphitheatre, this is the big event in Vendimia’s calendar. A massive scale show of light, sound and performance, where the local artists get their biggest chance of the year to show off. The first night (22.00) has the bottom numbing Queen’s election process (bring a pillow), and the second and third nights (21.00) are re-runs (minus the Queens). VENDIMIA FOR ALL 10 March The alternative Vendimia. A fabulous show of Caberet with transvestites and a colourful election of the Gay Vendimia Queen. 11pm at Angel Bustelo. For more info on Vendimia events and others in Mendoza visit www.wine-republic.com/events
vendimia’s history Nati Serre looks at the history of the Vendimia celebration from a local farmer’s daughter as a voice from the past. “Having grown up in a grape farm, my life has been sort of always linked to Vendimia. That’s why I tend to remember major dates and events. “When I was a kid, the harvest of the grapes and the selling of the home-made wine was what got us by. So, when we actually harvested those precious grapes, which had survived the scarcity of water and the menace of hail, some sort of celebration was in order. After the last grapes were picked, we would all get together with the other farming families and have a knees up to celebrate all the hard work gone by. Even us children were allowed to drink a little bit of wine with soda on that night. “But I remember 1913 my dad and his friends all organised a coach for each vineyard to parade through the city during the celebration. Everyone in the city loved it and so we continued doing it every year – I guess that was the first parade. In the mid-30s I remember the first official harvest queen being chosen for the whole province. I can
also still recall how badly we all wanted to go to this big party where the Queen would be chosen. So we did, and I felt ecstatic when I saw fireworks for the first time. “The festival just got bigger and bigger from there – with priests starting to bless the grapes and glamourous performances in the city centre. I even remember one year, 1947 I think, when Evita came. Loads of people suggested she be the harvest Queen, but she said it should be someone local. That was the same year that the Queen was elected by a lottery because two of the girls had the same number of votes. “What I also do recall, was the first time the celebration was held in the Amphitheatre. This was in the year 1963, and we would not have missed it for the world. Since we could not actually afford to go, my husband thought we would find a nice spot on the hills nearby from where to see it all. It was spectacular – you could see all the colours and lights and hear music that echoed throughout the hills. I remember looking down and thinking about those days it all started with us all getting a bit merry after the final day’s pick!”
The wine routes
Amanda Barnes hops over the Rio de la Plata to lern more about Uruguay’s wine scene. Uruguay is the little country between Argentina and Brazil on the coast. It’s not Paraguay, and they are separate countries. Sounds patronizing, but its surprising how many Uruguayans will tell you anecdotes of how most westerners they meet actually have no idea where this little gem of a country is. And if you look at any bottle of Uruguayan wine, they almost all put a map of South America on the bottle, highlighting where their country is. If you are travelling in the Southern Cone, don’t miss it out. Yes – it’s organized, it’s clean, people go to bed at a reasonable hour and public transport runs on time, but that doesn’t make it boring. With Christmas and New Year’s celebrations taking the form of huge cider throwing fights, endless fireworks and lots of parties, the year gets off to a good start here, but the best time to visit the capital city of Montevideo has to be Carnival in February. The longest Carnival in the world, with 40 days of theatre, music, murgas and candombe - it even gives Rio de Janeiro a run for its money. Aside from fiestas there is another good reason to hop across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay, for it’s wine…
Brought to Uruguay by Basque immigrant Pascual Harriague in 1874, this French grape now makes up over a third of Uruguay’s 8,200 hectare production. Like the Malbec phenomonon in Argentina, Tannat is now more associated with Uruguay than its homelands. Although Tannat opened the doors for Uruguay, there is more to discover beyond this rustic grape – most notably some very interesting whites. The main wine region in Uruguay is Canelones (named so after the immigrants, not the pasta) – the region surrounding Montevideo, and easily accessible by short car trips from the city centre. The touristic wineries in Uruguay’s Caminos del Vino (wine route) are all quite tiny compared to Argentine standards, but nonetheless there is a great scope of character. The only thing in common is their personal touch – you won’t find uniforms, or sun hats emblazoned with the winery name here… you are far more likely to end up drinking with the owner than a guide.
URUGUAY AND IT’S WINE Although a relatively unknown new world wine producer, Uruguay has more of a history in winemaking than many know. The country has been making wine for over 250 years and is the fourth biggest producer in South America. As with most wine producing countries, the focus in earlier years was on quantity rather than quality, but in the last 20 years the focus shifted towards fine wines. Thanks to this handful of fine wine producers the reputation for Uruguay’s vino started to gain footing in the international wine scene, especially for its unique Tannat. 18
THE WINERIES BODEGA SPINOGLIO (www.bodegaspinoglio.com) Spinoglio proudly states that it is highest altitude winery in Uruguay. Although its 500m above sea level doesn’t quite induce the same altitude sickness as the 3000m wineries of Salta, you still get good views over the city of Montevideo and can feel a fresh breeze on top of the hill. 80 year old Angel Spinoglio bought this old winery in 1960. After producing a lot of table wine and nine children, his son Diego took over the reins as winemaker in 2005 starting fine wines under the label Tierra Alta - although Angel still potters around his organic fruit garden and tends vines. This winery offers a glimpse into artisanal winemaking methods with wooden presses and simple technology. Recommended bottles: Sauvignon Blanc 2011: A salty white wine with mild chalky characteristics and white flowers. A slight fizz that would suit seafood, best drunk cold in the shade under one of their grapefruit trees in the garden! BOUZA, BODEGA BOUTIQUE (www.bodegabouza.com) This is probably the most tourist friendly of all the wineries in Uruguay. Opened a decade ago by Uruguayans Juan and Elisa who wanted to enjoy the finer things in life. With a gorgeous converted chapel style winery filled with the latest boutique production technology, an eye-watering collection of classic cars, an animal farm, regal gardens and an attractive gourmet restaurant - there is more to this winery than just wine. But don’t overlook their gorgeous vino… Bouza have conquered many international competitions and you can taste the investment and the experienced winemaker in their high quality, individually numbered wines. Make sure to enjoy them over a great lunch at the restaurant – try the quince soufflé with cheese sauce for dessert with their homemade Tannat Grappa. Recommended bottles: Albarino, 2011: Bouza have made their icon white this sprightly Spanish variety. With fermented in oak and in contact with the lees, there is a smooth creaminess which sits nicely with the fresh pears, pineapple and green apple notes. Dreamy. Tannat Parcela Unica, B6. 2009: Their top varietal lines of Merlot, Tempranillo and Tannat are selected from the best individual lots that year. And 2009’s Tannat is outstanding – roasted pepper, rich red fruits, refreshing menthol notes and a complexity from 18 months in French oak, it will keep you intrigued and help you fall in love with Tannat.
DE LUCCA (www.deluccawines.com) This rustic winery might feel like a bit of a health and safety hazard as you walk around the hundred-year-old building, but it is a visit you are sure not to forget. Reinaldo de Lucca is a real character, and having made wine since he was a young child you can tell his passion and strong opinions on wine from the first instant. Describing wine as the purist form of love and ‘a God-given union between the water and energy of the world’, you can certainly see Reinaldo’s Italian heritage and tell that his love for wine is more than skin deep. Having studied and worked in France, his wines reflect an old world tendency. And as you taste wines with him under the trees by his porch, he can spin some yarn about the history of wine in Uruguay. Recommended bottles: Marsanne Reserva 2010: An unusual varietal to see here, this is a potent and structured white has a lot of character with very ripe and cooked fruit. Libero 2010: Another less common blend of Tannat, Nero D’Avola and Sangiovese. An intense wine, heavy on the chocolate and with a trademark long finish.
Zarranz VINA VARELA ZARRANZ (www.varelazarranz.com) Out in the sticks of East Canelones, this is one of Uruguay’s biggest wineries. But pulling up its olive tree lined driveway, past the mature gardens, large colonial house and arriving at the terracotta painted winery - you wouldn’t know it. Still producing a huge amount of table wine, in the 1980s the family started to make fine wines and visitors can try one of their many labels in the attractive gauchochic tasting room located under the main house. A wine tour contrasts the table wine and fine wine production methods and Varela Zarranz make an interesting Petit Grain Muscat (similar to Torrontes), a late harvest Chardonnay and some great sparklings to boot. Recommended bottles: Guidai Deti, 2004: This is the only harvest of the winery’s icon blend to date. Tannat, Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, 12 months in the barrel and five years in the bottle make this a subtle but still spicy blend, rich in forest berries and laced with coffee. Varela Zarranz Brut Nature 2007: A half and half blend of Chardonnay and Viogner, this champenoise method sparkler has fine bubbles, tropical fruits, cream and brioche. 36 months sur lee.
FILGUEIRA (www.bodegafilgueira.com) Originally started by a Galician family, Filgueira is now undergoing a bit of a revamp with a young female winemaker, modern branding and healthy investment from the new Brazilian owners. However this medium sized winery still holds on to some of their tradition, in particular by making Sauvignon Gris. The Sauvignon Gris vines were actually bought by accident, but sometimes these twists of fate work out for the better and Filgueira is now known in Uruguay for its iconic white which they make as a young wine and barrel aged. Although you won’t meet the family touring this winery, the candid honesty and fresh approach of Sebastian and Melissa make it a nice stop along the wine routes. Recommended bottles: Sauvignon Gris Reserva 2003: This oaked white is holding up well for its age. Tawny characteristics with tropical fruit and lots of cream. Gorgeous. Try alongside their young Sauvignon Gris for an interesting comparison. Gran Estripe 2007: Their icon blend is only released on good years and this Cabernet Sauvignon driven blend is a gorgeous deep wine with an explosive mouth, spicy finish and complex nose. MARICHAL(www.marichalwines.com) A boutique winery originally started in1938 by Canary Island immigrants Isabelino and Filomena, their grandsons Juan Andres and Alejandro have now upped the ante by making fine wines with real character. After studying oenology in Mendoza, Juan Andres came back with grand ambitions and along with the help of his close knit family, he reinvigorated the small winery and is making some exemplary wines that are a key influence in Uruguay’s wine scene. He passionately explains all the processes as you tour the bodega and vineyards and in the tasting room you can try one of the best Pinot Noir’s in the country. Recommended bottles: Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir 2008: A classic champagne blanc de noir blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this is an elegant still wine with light salmon hues and a nutty finish. Pinot Noir/Tannat 2008: Tannat can need a bit of taming sometimes and Pinot Noir is an ideal partner for this bottle. You can still feel the tingling tannat characteristics but in a much more feminine package with silky Pinot Noir harnessing its strength. Grand Reserve Tannat A: Intense and rich with black fruits, slow burning spice and layers of chocolate and coffee. A sexy companion.
JUANICO (www.juanico.com) As one of the biggest wineries in Uruguay, it is no surprise that Juanico is primed for tourism (in fact it was the first to open to tourism), and best of all you can arrive here from Montevideo by train! This rolling estate and large winery has a rather corporate feel to it, but its long prestigious history oozes through the old brickwork. The real gem of this winery is undoubtedly the cellar from 1830. Beautifully old, crumbling and moldy, you can smell the legacy as well as the 300 barrels gently doing their work. With a huge production (for Uruguay) and one of the best know labels in the country, Don Pascual, there is a huge range of wines to try in their portfolio. Recommended bottles: Preludio Blanco 2009: As a chardonnay led blend that has spent over a year in the barrel, this is as buttery and rich as you expect. With creamy, nutty and cooked fruit aromas you can easily get carried away with this without realizing its 14% alcohol…
Carrau BODEGAS CARRAU Carrau is undoubtedly one of the finest wine families in Uruguay. With parents hailing from Catalunya, Juan Carrau Pujol made wine in different wineries in Uruguay and Brazil before starting his own project in 1976. Now the eight children have taken it into their own hands. Carrau has two wineries – one in Canelones and the other in the north east of the country in Rivera, bordering Brazil. The Rivera winery is the first underground winery in the Americas and it is here where they get most of their premium wine. The Carraus are the pioneers of Tannat as a single varietal wine and even though they could rest on their laurels as the first to make Tannat, they continue to push forward with the famed Uruguayan grape, doing clone studies and sensorial analysis to find its optimum expression. A visit to the winery is a charming one (especially if you have the fortune of being with daughter Margarita Carrau) with attractive quirks like multicoloured wine tanks, wine analysis booths for the workers, old photos of the family history and a cava where you can see and buy wines from every vintage, including their first Tannat in 1979! Recommended bottles: Juan Carrau Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011: As you would expect from an almost Brazilian terroir, this wine is bursting with tropical fruit! A zingy and fresh wine with a guava nose. Ysern Cabernet-Cabernet 2004: A blend of the Rivera and Canelones Cabernet Sauvignons, this is a savoury wine with lots of cooked pepper, black olives and leather notes. Simply gorgeous. Fortified Tannat 2006: This dessert wine is just like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Postre in a glass.
Apart from Vendimia, February and March are also some of the hottest cultural months in Mendoza. The bars are packed, the theatres play every night and you can usually catch some live music in Alameda.
Juanico SANTA ROSA (www.bodegasantarosa.com) This well-established winery is full of family history and is run by the fourth generation of the Passadore family. As the first sparkling wine producer in Uruguay, a visit includes a tour around their cellar where they make 120,000 bottles of fizz a year all by traditional hand turned champenoise methods. The atmospheric cellar with its historical huge barrels gives you a glimpse into how they made wine throughout the years, and having been founded in 1870, there is a lot of history to this winery. You get a real feel of the intimate and close knitted Uruguayan wine world here. Santa Rosa is also one of the key producers of Uruguay’s favourite Christmas drink, Media y Media (half sparkling wine and half cider). Recommended bottles: Brut Sauvage 2009: Undoubtedly one of the finest sparkling wines in Uruguay, this handsome fizz has a complex mouth, dry finish and bags of character.
Check out these events below, or visit www.wine-republic.com/events
Annual Megatasting, 23 – 25th Feb Don’t miss out on the Annual Megatasting on Sarmiento street, and make sure to come and visit Wine Republic’s stand! Not only will we take a great photo of you and direct you towards the best wine stands, but you can also put your name in the hat to win a lunch in a winery for two! Carnival, 20 and 21st Feb Last year Mrs President announced these two days of Carnival as national holidays, so here’s your chance to see Mendoza’s new version of carnival with colourful performances in Parque San Martin from 8pm. Americanto, 9, 10 and 11 March A new three day festival of traditional American music. Held from 8.30pm at Prado Gaucho in the park. St Patrick’s Day, 17th March Get your silly green hats out, because Argentines love St Patrick’s Day just as much as the yanks do. Make your way to the Irish pub on Colon for the most boisterous of beer swilling celebrations. Masters of Food and Wine, 22 – 25th March The Hyatt bring on a host of top international chefs for a few days of utter gastronomy indulgence in dinners, lunches, tastings and parties. Park Hyatt, Chile 1124, (261) 441 1234.
Spinoglio ** Most visits require reservations, especially for the smaller wineries. For more information on the wineries contact Los Caminos del Vino Uruguay (www.uruguaywinetours.com) This slick operation is the best way to plan your visit to Uruguay’s vineyards. *** For full details on more wineries in Uruguay and Argentina visit our website at www.wine-republic.com
mendoza reserve VISITING A WINERY WITH AN ANDEAN BACKDROP IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL MENDOCINO EXPERIENCE. SO HOW COME THE LOCALS DON´T DO IT? GWYNNE HOGAN AND AMANDA BARNES TAKE A LOOK. While nearly 70% of Mendoza’s visitors to wineries are Argentine, Bodegas de Argentina recorded in 2010 that the majority (around 60%) of them were actually from Buenos Aires rather than local. Perhaps intimidated or just plain uninterested, the local population overlooks most wineries despite the fact that the visual presence of vineyards is unavoidable. Maybe one of the reasons for the lack of local interest is that most of the wines produced in attractive, expensive and touristic wineries are destined for export, and not for local consumers. Take for example Benegas Lynch, Kaiken and Vina Cobos who export more than 80% of their wines, and in turn receive less than 15% Argentine tourists. On the other hand Nieto Senetiner which has a strong domestic market, receives 80% Argentines through the door. But many of the most internationally famous wineries here are completely unknown to locals. Achaval what? Michel who? The increasing cost of visiting wineries could also be partly to blame for alienating local clientele whose peso power is rather less than that of foreign tourists. An average tour with tasting in a good winery will set you back between 30 and 150 pesos – not something accessible to everyone when the average wage here is around 25 pesos an hour. However when you speak to wineries such as Catena Zapata, which had previously always offered free tours and a glass of wine but since November has been charging 100 pesos for a tour and tasting, it appears that the change in price and policy has made very little difference to its visitors – most of them still remain foreign and still come in their droves. And with a handful of wineries still offering free tours, price cannot be the main reason. 24
It appears that visiting wineries is more of a disconnect between local culture and that of wineries. They are not readily promoted to local clientele and are perhaps more associated with work than pleasure. Although there are many high end wine tourism agencies in Mendoza for foreigners, there are barely any offering luxury wine tours in Spanish. Not all is lost, however. Leticia Fraggapane, Secretary of Tourism in Lujan de Cuyo, says that there are two groups of people who are increasingly visiting wineries, “ You have the older elite Mendocino and the young professional.” The first group she mentions is, to say the least, homogenous. “They send their children to one of three schools, they eat out frequently, and they love Palmares shopping mall.” For this elite, wineries enter the picture in terms of their gastronomic options. Particularly on special holidays like Mothers or Father’s day, where certain wineries with restaurants “are packed with locals.” The second group who frequent bodegas are young, professional, educated adults in their late twenties to thirties. Like the first group, this profile is equally uninterested in wine tourism but rather in special events. This can mean weddings or special events that use wineries as the backdrop. Some events in Mendoza’s social calendar are especially worthy of note for how they attract local visitors. Renacer’s Annual Party has always drawn in a large crowd and most wineries with restaurants take in good numbers on special dinner and lunch events. But the event that wins hands down is Zuccardi with their annual Santa Julia tasting. Attracting 4,000 visitors, this is one of the key wine events in the year for Mendocineans. Julia Zuccardi explains that tourism (local and international) to the winery is a very important activity for them,
as they believe that it is the best way for their consumers to know and understand the brand. And Zuccardi go full throttle with different programs such as grape picking, wine tasting courses, cooking classes, bike and wine tours and cultural events. The wineries that attract the most local visitors are those that offer something beyond wine. Take for example Dutch owned winery Salentien: with two wineries, a chapel, two restaurants, a posada, an art gallery and stunning architecture. With a whopping 25,000 visitors a year, and 70% local, Salentein is one of the most successful wineries for local tourism – not bad for a new foreign owned winery located over 100km out of the city. At first people were skeptical that anyone would travel so far to see the eclectic collection of Dutch and Argentine art but it has become a top attraction since its launch in 2006. Their regular mass services in the chapel and participation in the Caminos del Vino events also draw in a local following.The Caminos del Vino is a series of three government-backed cultural event series along the wine routes – classical music in April, tango in September and cinema in October. Some people working in the wine industry feel that the practical tie between local people and wine needs reinvigorating. Although Mendoza produces some of the finest wine in the New World, a lot of local people still drink theirs with soda, from cardboard Tetrapacks and aren’t even sure how it is made anymore. As winemaker Brennan Firth puts it. “Those working in the wine industry are often completely detached from the final product. What grape picker has ever tried a glass of their hard labour?”
Training from a young age ‘Learning to Make Wine in School’: Wine Educator Cecilia Cabrera is trying to reforge the link between wine and locals, starting from the future generation of consumers – young children. Her educative program at Dolium winery uses winemaking as part of the school syllabus to study through biology, chemistry and finally marketing how to make wine from scratch. email@example.com
I’LL TAKE A SIDE ORDER OF CULTURE PLEASE… If you are looking for wineries that offer a bit of culture or art on the side, here are some doing something a bit different. Salentein. Hats really have to come off to the fab art and sculpture collection at this foreign owned winery. A really good dose of culture with your Pinot Noir. Art exhibitions in wineries. A lot of wineries have rotating art exhibitions to add a bit of glamour to the bodega – check out O Fournier, Dante Robino, Zuccardi, Cruzat Larrain and the stunning murials at Tapiz. Oil ‘em up. Along with a host of different touristic activities, Zuccardi’s Olive Oil shed is a nice compliment to the usual wine tour. Here you can see all the processes of olive oil production and do a tasting of the finished product. A bit of History. La Rural’s wine museum is one of the best in the country with lots of old machinary and tools that were traditionally used in winemaking. Picnic in the Park. For a lighter lunch option a handful of wineries are offering picnics in their stunning gardens. Alta Vista is the latest to start up picnic lunches but their creative little bento boxes are like a mini art work in itself. 25
bars inside Mendoza City
The list below has some great bars but if you’re looking to browse, head to Aristides Villanueva Avenue, the nightlife strip of Mendoza. It’s a continuation of Ave. Colon and is simply referred to as Aristides by the locals. Pubs, bars, restaurants and shops cram together from Belgrano to San Martin Park to provide you with ample bar options. Get your shut-eye before a night out because the clubs don’t even get started until 2am, and call a taxi because they are all located out of the city in Chacras or El Challao.
BELIEVE IRISH PUB
One of the few bars in Mendoza with a bar counter and high stools to prop yourself up on. Kelly, the English part-owner/pub-mascot is almost always there to share a chat and a smile with the crowd; which is most likely a factor in its notable popularity among expats and travelers. On the menu is a great collection of draught beers, bottled beers (try the Warsteiner) and surprisingly decent pub grub. TV screens hang in every corner airing hit music-video montages or football games. Monday night is International night and for their packed events DJ’s rock the house. Colon and España 241. Tel. 261-429-5567.www. believeirishpub.com.ar
THE VINES OF MENDOZA
Voy Pub Crawl
This new pub crawl meets every Thursday at 9pm and works its way around Mendoza city into the wee hours of the morn. Each crawl takes a different direction, but mine kicked off with wine and an inmpromtu tango session, followed by beers and French fries at a nearby bar, empanadas and wine at another, fruity shots at the Irish bar, and culminated in a sweaty moshpit of pulsing bodies at a local club. The group grows as the night goes, a ragtaggroup of around twenty foreigners and locals alike. This is a great night out and a unique way to see the city at night! www. voypubcrawl.com.ar, firstname.lastname@example.org (261) 4630363. $75 pesos which includes drinks and snacks at each location and entrance into the last club.
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 to receive these exclusive Argentine wines. Espejo 567, Tel. 261 438-1031. Mon-Sat, 3pm–10pm www.vinesofmendoza.com
Cachita’s bar has been serving the best cocktails in Mendoza for a year now, but the funky little watering hole recently relaunched itself with a more colourful, relaxed summer time vibe and their own kitchen so that they can now serve North American style food to hungry drinkers. With juicy homemade burgers like Patagonian lamb and goat’s cheese, or red tuna with soy and mango, along side hot sandwiches, salads and fresh desserts there’s plenty to keep you sated. But what you really want to get down to here are the supreme cocktails by world traveller and barman Christian. Bringing classics like Martinis, Manhattens and Singapore Sling as well as frozen daiquiris and margaritas, punches, creamy cocktails and sours -there are around 50 to choose from but make sure to try some of his signature cocktails: the super sexy Old Cuban (7 year aged rum, lime, angostura and fresh mint topped with champagne); the Amaretto Sour (amaretto, lemon juice, orange juice and egg white with a real kick!) and the Raspberry Mojito. Cachita’s quite dangerously opens with a 2X1 Happy Hour at 7.30pm… It takes some serious willpower to ever leave! Cachita’s, Sarmiento 784, (261) 429 9009. Open Mon – Sat 6pm till late.
The Winery Guide The Best Places to Visit
Overall Winery Experience
LUJAN DE CUYO
Luigi Bosca Old, family owned operation with lots of heritage, handsome cellars and a tasting room. Large selection of wines from low-end to high-end blends. San Martin 2044, Mayor Drummond. Tel. (0261) 498 1974. www.luigibosca.com.ar 15 min
Terrazas de los Andes The fine wine sister of Chandon Argentina is a beautifully restored bodega with well-appointed tasting room. Try the famous Cheval de los Andes. Tel. (0261) 488 0704/ 5. Thames and Cochamaba, Perdriel. www.terrazasdelosandes.com 30 min
Tapiz Great wine lodge Club Tapiz, high-end restaurant Terruño and an instructive wine tour that includes an invigorating horse and carriage ride and a tank, barrel and bottle tasting. Tel. (0261) 490 0202. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 32, Agrelo. www.tapiz.com 40 min
Norton Old-style cellars contrast with a high-tech production line. Tank and barrel tastings are conducted at this huge facility and the jug fillings on Thursday mornings are popular with the locals. R.P. 15, Km 23.5, Perdriel. Tel. (0261) 490 9700. www.norton.com.ar 30 min
Ruca Malen Excellent food, great guiding and first-class wines. The pairings over lunch make for an unforgettable culinary experience. Generous tastings and gorgeous views of the vineyards and mountains. Ruta Nacional 7, Km 1059, Agrelo, Lújan de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 562 8357. www.bodegarucamalen.com 30 min
Kaiken This rustic 80 year-old winery houses a new venture by the prestigious Chilean winery Montes. There is nothing rustic about the wines however. They are big and powerful and destined to be famous. Here you can enjoy a terrific view, dynamic tours and a friendly guiding environment. Roque Saenz Peña 5516, Las Compuertas, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. email@example.com Tel. (0261) 524 3160. www.kaikenwines.com 20 min
Catena Zapata Showcase winery designed like a Mayan temple overlooking vineyards and the Andes Mountains. Rich, complex wines. Cobos s/n. Tel. (0261) 413 1100. www.catenawines.com 30 min
Melipal Great Malbec and gourmet lunches make Melipal one of the most exclusive wineries to visit. Ruta 7 km 1056, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 524 8040. www.bodegamelipal.com.ar Sottano
Dominio del Plata Argentina´s most famous female winemaker Susana Balbo is creating some rich and complex wines in the heart of Agrelo. Try their Crios and Ben Marco. Cochabamba 7801 Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 498 9200. www.dominiodelplata.com.ar
This small, modern winery located in Agrelo is owned by three generations of winemakers. Big, concentrated reds are their speciality, including a top wine with the name Judas which you can taste whilst viewing vineyards and snowcapped mountains. Ruta 7 y Costa Flores S/N. Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 153 535506. www.bodegasottano.com
Pulenta Estate Cool minimalist design and rich complex wines make this a winery with finesse and style. Convenient to visit on the way to Valle de Uco. Ruta 86, Km 6.5. Tel.(0261) 155 076426. www.pulentaestate.com
Decero FABRE MONTAMAYOU Attractive, modern facility with spectacular views of the mountains from the cozy tasting room. Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 524 4748. www.decero.com
Clos de Chacras Charming boutique operation. A five minute walk from Chacras plaza. Great Cabernet Sauvignon and excellent lunches. Monte Libano s/n, Chacras de Coria. Tel. (0261) 496 1285/ 155 792706. www.closdechacras.com.ar 20 min
Carmelo Patti Mendoza’s most famous garagista. Carmelo Patti himself is often there to show you around (in Spanish). Try his famous Cabernet Sauvignon from the barrel. San Martin 2614. Tel ( 0261) 498 1379. 15 min
Lagarde Owner of the oldest white wine in South America. Try the hand- crafted sparkling wine made from 100 year old vines; best enjoyed in one of their many courtyards. Ave. San Martin 1745, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 498 0011 Ext. 27. www.lagarde.com.ar
Chandon The original foreign investor, French-owned Chandon has been making great sparkling wines in Mendoza since the 1960s. RP 15, Km 29, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 490 9968. www.bodegaschandon.com.ar
Driving Time from Mendoza City
Vistalba Tasting room where one entire wall is a subterranean cross section of the actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks. Houses French restaurant La Bourgogne. Roque Saenz Peña 3135, Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 498 9400. www.carlospulentawines.com 20 min
Belasco de Baquedano Gleaming modern facility with fascinating aroma room and restaurant with Andean view. Cobos 8260. Tel. (0261) 153 02349. www.belascomalbec.com 30 min
Piattelli Al lovely family owned winery done in a Tuscan style. Enjoy lunch on a deck beside a pond. Calle Cobos 13710, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 479 0123. www.piattellivineyards.com 30 min
Achaval Ferrer Modern boutique close to Mendoza riverbed. Big concentrated wines. Calle Cobos 2601; Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 488 1131. www.achaval-ferrer.com 30 min
Alta Vista Masterful mix of modern and traditional. Tasting includes distinctive Torrontes or single vineyard Malbecs. Álzaga 3972, Chacras de Coria, Luján de Cuyo. Tel (0261) 496 4684. www.altavistawines.com 15 min
An old style winery ran by one of Argentina’s most famous winemaker dynasties the De La Motta family. Terrada 1863, Mayor Drummond. Tel. (0261) 524 1621. www.mendel.com.ar Bonfanti A lovely winery in a pastoral setting. It offers one of Mendoza’s most up close and personal tours with the owners themselves and a tasting room set amidst the vines. Terrada 2024. Tel. (0261) 488 0595. 20 min
Benegas Lynch Rich history and richer wines. Lovely old bodega with lots of character. Mendoza’s best Cabernet Franc. Ruta 60. Cruz de Piedra. Tel. (0261) 496 0794. www.bodegabenegas.com
La Azul Simple, small production winery with not so simple Malbecs. R.P 89 s/n. Agua Amarga. Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 423 593. www.bodegalaazul.com
Dolium A completely underground winery with innovative design and top notch Malbecs. Ruta Provincial 15, Km 30 s/n, Agrelo. Tel. (0261) 490 0190. www.dolium.com
Finca La Celia One of the valley’s oldest wineries. They conduct excellent tours and tastings. Av. De Circunvalacion s/n, Eugenio Bustos, San Carlos. Tel (02622) 451 010. www.fincalacelia.com.ar
Caelum This modern, medium size winery is located on the main road to Chile just before you reach the mountains. Argentine owned, it produces quality Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Ruta Nacional 7 km 1060, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 156 439564. www.bodegacaelum.com.ar
Benvenuto de la Serna Charming, family-run operation making a very decent Sangiovese under the Mil Piedras label. Carril Los Sauces s/n, VistaFlores, Tunuyan. Tel. (02622) 420 0782. www.benvenutodelaserna.com 90 min
Altus A red barn-like winery which faces a lovely adobe-style restaurant doing excellent lunches. Las Vencedoras, Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 155 080261. www.altusdetupungato.com.ar 90 min
Dante Robino Founded in 1920, Dante Robino offers an atmospheric old-style winery with a modernist, light-filled tasting room with excellent view of the mountains and vineyards. The tasting includes sparkling wine from the tanks. Recommended: the Gran Dante Malbec. Callejón Maldonado 240, Perdriel, Luján de Cuyo. Mendoza. Tel. (0261) 488 7229 Ext. #2. www.bodegadanterobino.com. 30 min
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. Ruta 7 Luján de Cuyo. Tel. (0261) 479 0130. www.vinacobos.com
Andeluna The old-world style tasting room looks upon dramatic views of vineyards against mountains. Ruta Provincial 89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. Tel. (02622) 423 226 Ext 113. www.andeluna.com Gimenez Riili A brand new family run affair, part of the exciting Vines of Mendoza project. This is a modern winery in a stunning setting. Ruta 94 (s/n), Tunuyán. Tel: (0261) 424 5973. www.gimenezriili.com 90 min
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. Ruta Prov. 86 (Km 30), San Jose. (0261) 156 855184. 90 min
Salentein Designed like a temple to wine, this ultraconcept winery includes a modern art gallery, lodge, and chapel set high in the Andean valley. R.P 89 s/n, Tunuyan. Tel. (02622) 429 500 . www.killkasalentein.com 90 min
O. Fournier Most architecturally innovative winery with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent lunches in the modernist visitor center. Los Indios s/n, La Consulta, San Carlos. Tel. (02622) 451 088 . www.ofournier.com 100 min
Lurton The wines are faultless and the location stunning. A French operation producing excellent Torrontes and Malbec. Ruta 94 km 21, Vista Flores, Tunuyán.Tel. (0261) 441 1134. www.bodegalurton.com 100 min
Rutini / La Rural Well-stocked museum with invaluable antiques such as cowhide wine presses and buckets. Giant oak tanks stand in large, cavernous halls whilst side rooms hold Victorian era pumps and bottle corkers. Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 497 2013 Ext.125. www.bodegalarural.com.ar 20 min
Lopez Popular, old-style winery with two museums on the wine and history of Lopez and Argentina, close to Maipu plaza. A newly opened restaurant offers gourmet cuisine with a panoramic view. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez. Tel. (0261) 497 6554. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar 20 min
VALLE DE UCO
Familia Zuccardi A professional, far-sighted operation. The guides are always enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to please. Attractive restaurant amidst the vines, famous for its asado-style lunches and generous wine pourings. Ruta Provincial 33, Km 7.5, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 441 0000. www.familiazuccardi.com
Flichman Steeped in history and tradition. Charming, pink-hued, colonial-style bodega, set in the leafy vineyards of southern Maipu. Recommended is the top blend Dedicado. Munives 800, Barrancas, Maipú. Tel. (0261) 497 2039. www.flichman.com 40 min
Familia Di Tommasso Officially the oldest winery in Mendoza and still run by Argentine hands. Their charming and rustic restaurant looks onto the vineyard, just two steps away. At La Chiase the DiTommaso, the kitchen of the home makes homemade food made with family recipes that can be enjoyed among vineyards in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Urquiza 8136 - Russell. Tel. (0261) 524 1829. www.familiaditommaso.com 30 min
Carinae Small, charming, French-owned winery offering personal tours and well-honed wines. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Videla Arande 2899, Cruz de Piedra, Maipú. Tel. (0261) 499 0470. www.carinaevinos.com 30 min
Trapiche Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old and new, traditional and industrial. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito. Tel. (0261) 520 7666. www.trapiche.com.ar 30 min
Tempus Alba A fine modern winery set in the rural lanes of southern Maipu. The rooftop terrace ovelooks the vineyard. Great Pleno label. Perito Moreno 572, Maipu. Tel. (0261) 481 3501. www.tempusalba.com 30 min
SAN MARTIN Familia Antonietti A family winery in San Martin where you can have a tour with the owners, try some of their sparkling wines and stay for a homecooked lunch. Pizarro s/n esq. Zelazar Chapaney. 4390964/155688905. firstname.lastname@example.org 90 min
dining out mendoza city Florentino
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.
Florentino 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 $120.
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, 30
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) 15666 5778, email@example.com, 8 courses $140 – $210 pesos (inc wine). Advanced booking recommended.
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 $105. Bistro M Executive Menu $130 with starter buffet, main course, dessert buffet and glass of wine
Farrah is the type of restaurant that shines in personality, from the funky and colourful décor and eclectic music, to the unique wine list and menu that has dishes such 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 $40. Paso de los Andes 1006, tel (261) 423 9981. Avg. meal: $90
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: $45 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. 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: $90 pesos
One of the few restaurants in Mendoza attempting fusion cuisine, and one of the even fewer that manage to pull it off, Molokai is a refreshing change from rib-eye and empanadas. Besides combining Japanese, Hungarian and Argentine fare, Molokai incorporates molecular cooking—or innovative textures and colors—hence the use of cherry air (foam) and arugula caviar. Beyond the quirky menu the restaurant itself has an artistic yet relaxed vibe. Situated in an old converted house, Molokai has several different seating areas, a small garden overflowing with greenery, and an art-filled salon that doubles has a tango classroom certain weeknights. Molokai, Belgrano 1169, (261) 425 4808. Avg. Price: $130
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.
It seems every season Entre Cielos are bringing something new to Mendoza’s scene: first of all Latin America’s first and only true hammam, next Mendoza’s only Italian-Asian fusion restaurant, and more recently they launched their ‘beef club’. The new parilla is open weekdays where you can try different cuts of BBQ-ed meat with side courses, and during Friday and Saturday after office cocktails, beef club and wine tasting. If you are out in Vistalba, both of their restaurants are worth a try. Guardia Vieja 1998, Vistalba. Tel: (261) 498 8538. Avg. meal cost: $220
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 smallbut lively verandah. Locals flock for the mouthwateringArgentine fare. Appetizers come ina 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. Complement this with a bottle from their extensive wine list and the result is a flavor combination of gourmet quality. A picturesque stroll to Rutini La Rural bodega, just ten minutes away, is a wonderful way to conclude the afternoon. Urquiza 1516, Coquimbito, Maipu. Everyday 12pm - 6pm. Tel: (261) 481 1605. casadecampomza.com.
Terruño-Club Tucked away among the sprawling Maipu vineyards lies Club Tapiz Resort and its lovely restaurantTerruño. This handsome eatery boasts an elegant interior, excellent service and a wine list that is sure to please even the most finicky of wine snobs. Their chef compiles a tantalising menu that includes top notch lomo steaks, a rotating range of salads and a savory ginger/honey chicken dish that is second to none. If you like what you see and taste, book a room in one of their seven Renaissancestyle 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: $150 pesos.
Police, Fire Department and Emergency Medical Dial 911 Bus Terminal Tel: 431-3001 Av. de Acceso Este and Costanera. Bus Routes: Maipu, Linea 10 N° 171, 172, 173, Rioja street and Garibaldi. Chacras, N° 115 or 116, 25 de Mayo and Montevideo. Airport Tel: 5206000 Accesso Norte s/n. El Plumerillo. Shipping Wine Ordinary post will not ship wine and a courier can cost at least U$ 30 a bottle. The most economical way is send it with your checked luggage in a special styrofoam wine box, available at most wine stores or at Trout & Wine, Espejo 266. Crime Be alert. Mendoza does have crime. Hold on to purses on the street and at restaurants. Avoid carrying valuables. Hostel lockers are not safe. Danger spots: bus terminal and internet cafes. Bike Tours in Maipu The most economical way to do a wine tour in Mendoza. Take bus (see above) to Urquiza street where you’ll find several bike rental companies. Some are notorious for dodgy bikes. Check and double check you get a good mount as a puncture can cause a mini nightmare. Head south, as north of Maipu is urban and not pretty. Recommended wineries: Rutini, Tempus Alba, Di Tommasso and certainly Carinae. When returning have a late lunch at the excellent Casa de Campo. Nightclubs In most nightclubs you have to queue twice for a drink which can get slightly exasperating as the night wears on. It is wise to buy several drink tickets at once for an easy, unimpeded flow of alcohol. Bathrooms are usually ill equiped so bring your own toilet paper. Many nightclubs are 200 light years away in Chacras which can cause problems getting home. Clubs rarely get going before 2am. Taxi Services Taxi Godoy Cruz Tel: 427-0055 - Radiomóvil Guaymallén Tel: 445-5855 - Mendocar Paraná 250 Tel: 423-6666 - La Veloz del Este Alem 439 Teléfono: 423-9090 Mendoza Expats Club An organization which enables Expatriates to meet each other. www.mendozaexpats.org. Hair Dresser English speaking and eccentric hairdresser Haisley from Delite will do your hairdo right. Arístides Villanueva 444. (261) 429-9124 - Leocut: Mendoza plaza shopping, (0261) 4490239