Argentina – MendozaBack to Story

Mendoza- land of mountains and wine

You don’t need to travel to Mendoza with a Spanish speaking winemaker – but it helps.  No, just kidding, although that does happen to sum up one of my travel mates.  While visiting wineries isn’t the only thing to do here it is certainly one of the main things to do.

Having spent time in Chile, Peru and Bolivia I thought I was prepared for the sight of the Andes but this is a whole new side.  This region is bordered all along the west by this impressive mountain range.  The range seems more impressive because of the flat nature of the Mendoza wine region.

It’s a climate perfect for growing grapes.  It rains so seldomly the ground staff declared very confidently that we wouldn’t be requiring the much used umbrella I’d acquired in Buenos Aires.  The mountains feed a supply of water for irrigation which to date has been plentiful.

Probably the standout unexpected find was the level and quality of equipment and wineries.  Many of the wineries visited paralleled or exceeded the sort of investment in technology that would be expected in New Zealand or Australia.  The cheaper labour force meant that time consuming processes such as hand picking and fruit selection is much more common.  Cellar doors are run very differently than any wine region I had previously travelled.  Used to a shop front style operation we all expected to be able to pop into wineries at our leisure, we were surprised to find bookings required.

The reward for this effort though was well worth it.  Customers are treated to a personalised service and this usually included a tour of the vineyard and winery. The tour guides we found were universally well informed both technically and about the surrounding industry and history.  The time consuming effort on both sides meant that four wineries were about the limit for the day but it was richer for it.

Also important to mention is the quality and variety of fantastic restaurants on site at the wineries.  Also accompanied by a well thought out tasting these lunch’s were a highlight of the food available.  Meat  – particularly beef features strongly on the menu out here as well, so be prepared for a feast.

Many of the vineyards have guest houses/ boutique hotels on site and its well worth staying out of town.  Many aren’t far out of the town and its reasonably cheap to get a driver to take you into town for a change in the villa food.  On day one we decided to extend our time at Tapiz and stay in one spot for the visit.

Stay

Villaggio Hotel Boutique, 25 de Mayo 1010, Mendoza 5500, Argentina

If you want to stay in Mendoza itself this is a very popular spot.  Be sure to book early though as we found it fully booked.

Club Tapiz

Is a small and absolutely charming boutique hotel not too far out of town.  The host was both knowledgeable and helpful.  Don’t panic about researching before you get here because it can all be arranged on arrival.  Ask for one of the rooms on the pool side of the building and you will be able to wake up to a view over the Andes. If you get bored or tired from all that winery hopping they will arrange a soothing massage to aid you recovery. The food here is also excellent so you don’t have to make a trip into town to out for dinner if you enjoyed one of the local wineries 3 course lunches and decide you don’t need another big meal.

Cavas Wine Lodge

Definitely the most luxurious (and expensive) option in the area.  We didn’t get out here but if you want to go all out, then this is reputably the spot. It is also located in the vineyards so you will have to consider hiring a car or get the hotel to organise a pick up. A driver proved a cost effective option and as sign posting can be a little unreliable speaking to your hotel is the best idea.

Eating

Azafran – Sarmiento 765

A local recommendation for when we finally peeled ourselves into town.  A restaurant full of atmosphere with amazing food and one of the biggest wine lists in the area.  Its got an old grocery store feel to it with wines lining the wall.  You can book the table in the wine cellar so ask for it if you can and be dazzled by the choice and wooed by the atmosphere.

Travel photographs from Mendoza in Argentina. Including travel images of the wine country Bodegas, Andes Mountains, Bodega Lynch, Tapiz winery, Tapiz guesthouse, and Archaval Ferrer winery.

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