Because sometimes you need a vacation in your vacation.
An indulgent week
Our week in Mendoza was spent relaxing, soaking up the sunny weather, and of course enjoying a sip or two of wine. Pretty much the most difficult thing we did all week was try to book wine tastings over the phone in broken spanish.
We managed to find an amazing Airbnb right in the countryside near Luján de Cuyo. This was a great move, as we could actually walk to a number of excellent wineries (and, occasionally, hitch a ride from our awesome host, Mike).
The good stuff
Having lived so close to Napa/Sonoma and also tasted our fair share of fantastic wines there, we were pleasantly surprised at the high quality of every aspect of our tastings in Mendoza. The bodega grounds were stunning, tasting rooms and cellars were immaculately clean and well-appointed, and the winemakers impressed us equally with their iconic wines as well as some of their more daring experiments.
For those headed to the wine store after reading this: we've got your back. We barely scratched the surface on Mendoza, but here is a list of some of our favorite vineyards, where pretty much everything we tried was wonderful:
- Kaiken. Best buys: Mai, their iconic and buttery smooth malbec, as well as their easy-drinking terroir series malbec-petit verdot blend and their balanced and elegant Kaiken Ultra chardonnay.
- Vistalba. Best buys: Corte A, a smoky, chewy malbec blend, Tomero Gran Reserva malbec, and Progenie 1, a sparkling blend of chardonnay and pinot noir that's dry but delightfully toasty.
- Alta Vista. While we had a little laugh at the oldschool internet name (if you don't remember you might want to dogpile it or ask jeeves), they have a seriously delicous five-year-process Malbec called Alto as well as a refreshing premium Torrontes.
There's really just one key difference between the two powerhouse wine regions, and it's a huge swing vote in favor of Mendoza. It's the meat.
Parilla fever: part 1
In addition to tastings, tours, and a brief overview of the winemaking process implemented, some of the bodegas put on fantastic lunches that include 5-6 courses (most of which are expertly cooked, salty, juicy meats from the parilla) and more or less all-you-can-drink wine pairings.
If you're coming down for a visit and you aren't vegetarian, we can't stress enough: book one of these. If you're anything like us, it'll probably be the best $40-$50 you'll ever spend on food.
Just when you thought we were done with hiking and crazy weather, we're setting off to explore some more of the great outdoors in San Carlos de Bariloche.