Malbec Country

Location: Mendoza, Argentina

Introduction:

We arrived in Mendoza with high expectations, as this is the primary wine producing region of Argentina and the home of Malbec. What surprised us is that unlike most of the wine regions we’ve visited, you can’t just drop in unexpected at most places. The tastings (including tours) need to be scheduled in advance and were mostly limited to just a few wines for which we had to pay a fee. The wines included and excluded from the tastings frequently disappointed us. Several of the wineries didn’t include any of their Malbecs, which we found puzzling. Thus, we had to work hard to find some good Malbecs. From what we could see, wine tourism is still immature in this region. All in all, we found and enjoyed some outstanding wines but, to be honest, Mendoza and the town itself fell short of our expectations. Thus, we decided to move on sooner than anticipated.

Sights Visited:

We visited numerous Bodegas (wineries). Most provided both tours and tastings. Our visits covered: Alta Vista, Casarena, Cecchin, Graffigna, Luigi Bosca, Mendel, Nieto Senetiner, Septima, Trapiche and more. Several of the wineries were historic with the original facilities well preserved, which we especially enjoyed.
Our favorite visit was to Trapiche as they had an impressive historic facility and presented the best flight of Malbec wines to taste.
Elizabeth’s parents treated us to a private wine tour as a Christmas present (Thank You!) and it included a visit to a small boutique winery named Carmelo Patti where we met with Carmelo himself. He was awesome. It was like having a grandfather in the business. We bought a bottle of his 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy later.

Accommodations:

We spent 6 nights at Mod Hotels Mendoza, which is a fairly new hotel. The room included a small refrigerator and microwave and both the A/C and Internet worked well. We took full advantage of the daily buffet breakfast and adequate fitness center that were included in our rate. Our first day in the Hotel was New Year’s Day and we celebrated with a small bottle of local sparkling wine.

Food & Drink:

Talking about food would be redundant as we’ve been in Argentina for over a month now and we really didn’t discover anything out of the ordinary in Mendoza. While we’ve eaten in our room quite a bit, we finally broke the ice and ordered room service for the 1st time of our trip and it was a nice treat as the food in the Hotel’s restaurant (Magma) is quite good. We tasted a lot of wine and even sought out a fine wine bar, The Vines of Mendoza, to get a broader sampling of the region’s offerings.

Transportation System:

Long distance bus travel is common in Argentina with many bus routes providing overnight service. The airfares to fly from Salta to Mendoza were ridiculously expensive. So, we decided to opt for the bus and a 20 hour ride, figuring that not only would we save on our transportation costs but we’d also save on a night’s lodging. We did pay up for the best seats, which are comparable to first class seats on an airplane. We left on New Year’s Eve and slept through the New Year. While we’d rather fly long-distances, the buses in Argentina are a cost-effective, viable alternative that we’ll likely use again.
Rental cars were scarce and expensive in Mendoza. We eventually found a car at what seemed like a reasonable price until we picked it up and discovered that not only was it all manual, it also lacked air conditioning. We might as well have rented one of the vintage Ford Fairlane’s that we’ve been seeing all over Argentina.
Picture

Shout Outs:

We’d like to thank Paul Addessa for setting an example and teaching us that long distance bus travel is a viable alternative to flying. Thanks for your inspiration Paul! We’d also like to thank the nameless bus drivers, who drove through the night and got us safely to our destination.

For Your Amusement:

We like to look ahead at the weather forecast using AccuWeather mobile. Usually, the daily forecast includes a picture of the sun or clouds or a combination of the two. Of course, as luck would have it, once we rented a car with no A/C, a new icon appeared in the forecast. Oh, No!
Rich catches Elizabeth with another canine friend.
Looks like Elizabeth got Rich over a barrel.

Highlights: Tasting wines with Marielle @ Mendel and meeting with Carmelo Patti.

Next Up: We haven’t enjoyed that many Chilean wines back home and we’re hoping to discover some good ones down here as we explore the wine regions of Chile.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *