When we embarked on our Mendoza adventure we knew that fun times were ahead but nothing could have prepared us for the awe inspiring beauty we were about to experience. The first clue of what was to come was the aerial view of the Andes Mountains as we made our connection from Chile to Argentina. Watching clouds rest on top of mountains was something out of a fairytale.
As you know, the primary purpose of the trip was to experience Mendoza’s Wine Country and to better understand why it has become one of the Wine Capitals of the World. Although wine remained the focus of the trip during our stay, it was the friendships that we made, the culture, the food and the never ending beauty that made this trip one to remember.
There is no doubt that Malbec is king in Argentina but let’s be clear, Mendoza is more than just that. During our visit we enjoyed some great examples of their native Torrontés but it was their Cabernet Sauvignon’s and Syrah’s that really surprised us. Both of these grapes continue to gain popularity among the winemakers in the area, and by tasting some of the wines we can see why. Most of the Cabs and Syrahs that we tasted showed their respective characteristics but with a freshness and uniqueness reflective of the weather (lots of sun & little rain) and the extreme and diverse terroirs of the region.
As excited as we were to learn more about what’s happening with the different varietals being grown in the area, we were more thrilled about the elegance of the Malbecs being produced, especially the ones from the area of La Consulta. The bright fruit of the Malbec grape continues to be the highlight of the wines but accompanying it are a silkiness and structure that are making some of these wines as good as any of the wines being produced anywhere in the world.
It was great to see, during our visit, that Argentina continues to evolve, but just like Napa has Cabernet Sauvignon and Burgundy has Pinot Noir, Mendoza has Malbec and there is nothing wrong with that. We are already looking forward to going back to try and to explore new things but make no mistake, we will be going back because we just simply love Argentinian Malbec.
The three primary wine regions of Mendoza are Maipú, Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley. Maipú and Luján de Cuyo are the closest to the City of Mendoza with the Uco Valley approximately an hour away. Although fairly close to each other, each region has it’s distinct terroir and difference in elevation causing the wines from each area to have their own unique characteristics and personalities.
There are great wineries to visit in all three regions, it just depends on what you are looking for. The region of Maipú is close to the city and you can find more wineries to visit that do not require an appointment. Luján de Cuyo is close to the city as well but most of the wineries require appointments. If you have the time we highly recommend visiting the Uco Valley. The landscape is absolutely spectacular and there are some great wineries to visit. If you head out to the valley make sure to make appointments ahead of time and make sure to bring cash as some of the wineries do not take credit card or only take certain kinds. Although we had some amazing experiences in all three of the regions when we visit next we will certainly spend more time exploring the Uco Valley.
PEOPLE, FOOD and CULTURE
If you are big into family, hospitality, love bbq’s (asados) and enjoy a long siesta, Mendoza is the place for you. Since the time that we arrived at the Mendoza airport, until the time that we left, we could not have felt more welcomed and at home.
As our trip evolved and we had the opportunity to catch up with our friends and locals, it became evident of how proud people are of being Mendocinos and of their wine country. The comment that comes to mind that might best describe the wine culture of the area came from a gentleman that told us: “Wine is the Coca-Cola of our kids”.
There is no better way to learn about a country and it’s people than through food. The food culture of Mendoza is centered on the principles of family and friends with long lunches that lead into a siesta and are followed by late dinners. Meat, vegetables and bread are usually the main attraction but if those are not in your wheel house don’t worry, there is something for everyone in this forward thinking culinary region.
One of the great traditions they have been able to preserve is the one of Asados. Asados are usually prepared outside on a large wood fired grill and typically consists of different cuts of meat, meat byproducts (sausage, morcilla, etc) and different vegetables. If you are in the area, an Asado is something you must experience.
Mendoza is the fourth largest city of Argentina with over 1.5 million people. Located at the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in the shadows of Mount Aconcagua, it’s breathtaking views never end. It has four seasons and being in the Southern Hemisphere means that the seasons are opposite to the countries in the Northen Hemisphere. Petroleum, wine, olive oil and tourism are the biggest industries in the area. The downtown of the City of Mendoza is certainly worth visiting if you have the time. If you are not staying downtown, you can take a taxi to Plaza Independencia and venture out on foot from there. We did not make it to the Parque General San Martín but we drove by it and it looked like a great place to enjoy a walk, jog or bike ride.
A MUST VISIT
We have been fortunate to have traveled the world and without a doubt Mendoza has become one of our favorite Wine Destinations. If you have the opportunity to visit, make sure to enjoy a horse back riding experience through the Andes, an Asado, and a wine tasting at some of the world’s best wineries.
Thanks InterContinetal Hotel, Casa Petrini and Lares de Chacras Hotel for your warm hospitality. We can’t wait to be back and to visit you again. To all the wineries that hosted us, we greatly appreciated your time and your amazing wines. To our friends and partners of Uncorking Argentina thank you for making us feel so welcome and for planning such an amazing trip. We are so excited about our collaboration and can’t wait to see other people enjoy the experience we had!
Cheers to La Tierra del Sol y el Buen Vino, see you again soon! 🍷
Pics cred to Wine Destinations.