The city of Mendoza seems to reinvent itself every season. Check out the latest additions to...
Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Malamado, Torrentés, Tempranillo… Even if you know about these types of wines before arriving in Mendoza, you’ll still be overwhelmed by a wealth of new vocabulary and flavors. Majestically crowned by the Andes mountain range, Mendoza offers a wide array of postcard-worthy scenery: vast deserts, snowy peaks, verdant oases, expansive plains and tumbling rivers. The region’s poor soil, dramatic fluctuations in temperature, sparse precipitation and abundant sun are great for growing grapes and why Mendoza – home to 70 percent of Argentina’s wine production – is the eighth world wine capital.
No wonder connoisseurs and investors are flocking to Mendoza, where personalized service is a top priority. Even when you visit a winery that invoices millions of dollars each month, you’ll be made to feel like the guest of honor, and all the available pleasures will always be within your reach.
And if you are interested in more than wine, you can use the city as a starting point for ski trips, rafting and canopy outings, horseback rides, fishing, hot springs and abundant mountain climbing, including excursions to Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas.
$$$ Cavas Wine Lodge. This small boutique hotel run by Cecilia Díaz and Martín Rigal is nestled the heart of their own vineyard, where two enormous dogs, Malbec and Uva, keep them company. The décor is warm, evoking the best of Andean culture with hand-loomed blankets and rich earth tones. Enjoy horseback rides, an exquisite spa and the chance to watch the sun set over the Andes from the romantic rooftop terraces of the private cabins.
Costaflores no address number, Alto Agrelo
$$ Sheraton Mendoza Hotel. In the city’s downtown area, this Starwoods hotel features décor by the artist Roggerone and a giant waterfall in the lobby. The spa offers Malbec massages, as well as a soothing sauna and the city’s only heated pool. The hotel is also home to the Enjoy Casino, with 500 slot machines, 24 gaming tables and two electronic roulette wheels.
Primitivo de la Reta 989
$$ Park Hyatt Mendoza. In a restored 19th-century mansion in downtown Mendoza, this hotel offers elegance, a relaxing spa and activities centered around wine and the casino.
The Mendoza area is home to more than 1,200 wineries that share many common characteristics, like generous hospitality, a passion for quality wine and, almost always, a spectacular onsite restaurant. Here are four highlights.
Familia Zuccardi. A warm welcome to this vineyard from the owners and their three sons is your first sign that a mere eight-hour visit won’t be enough to enjoy everything on offer: delicious breakfasts, hot-air balloon rides, biking through the vineyards, tastings of their excellent olive oils, heavenly lunches accompanied by their wines in a restaurant at the foot of the mountain, classes in regional cuisine, a chance to try your hand pruning and harvesting in the vineyards, tea ceremonies, visits to the wine cellar, open-air picnics and more tastings. A round of applause to chef Matías Aldasoro and his culinary homage to products from Mendoza – forget about pheasant or prawns and feast on olive gnocchi, grilled meats and cheese or onion empanadas.
Ruta 35, Km 7,5, Fray Luís Beltrán, Maipú
Tapiz. A highly educational tour and wine tasting in the exquisite lodge Club Tapiz, which features seven boutique rooms and the charming Terruño. Run by chef Max Casa, this restaurant is one of the best eateries in Mendoza.
Pedro Molina (Ruta 60), Russell, Maipú
Trapiche. An early 20th-century building that still employs machinery from 1912, situated on 25 glorious acres of vineyards and olive groves.
Mitre, Coquimbito, Maipú
Navarro Correas. One of the oldest vineyards in Mendoza is currently run by the multinational company Diageo. Finca Agrelo, a modern winery dedicated to premium wines with a very complete visitor’s center, opened in 2009 and can be visited by reservation only. The original winery located in Godoy Cruz boasts an impressive tasting center; the interior architecture resembles a cross and provides a perfect setting to enjoy Estructura, the vineyard’s trademark wine.
Finca Agrelo, Alto Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo
Bodega en Godoy Cruz, Rodríguez Peña 1550
Not just Wine
Killka. Art flourishes in Mendoza. To experience local creativity firsthand, take a trip to the Salentein winery, home to Killka, a temple to wine and art in many forms. Huge sculptures encroach upon the vineyards, and a museum showcases astonishing pieces. The restaurant is unforgettable.
Ruta 89 no address number, Tunuyan
Roggerone. A native of Mendoza, this artist makes visual marvels out of images of holy virgins and altars with baroque overtones. The overall effect is stunning, and even more impressive when you make a visit to his home, which includes a studio, a monastery, a stage and a pleasant and comfortable hotel, La Alboroza.
Almacén del Sur. Take a delightful culinary journey through a vegetable garden bursting with eggplants, arugula and piquillo peppers surrounding a manor house built in 1888. Peek into the kitchen window to see tomatoes being dried in the sun or pumpkin preserves being put up, then choose from 35 such delicacies to take home. On the charming Maipú wine route, 15 minutes from the city.
Zanichelli 709, Maipú
Winery. This comprehensive wine boutique offers more than 4,000 Argentinean labels in a downtown manor house dating back over a hundred years. El 23 Gran Bar invites you to pair tapas with the wines.
LAN Flights: To Mendoza daily from Santiago, Chile, and six times a week from Buenos Aires.
SIMBOLOGÍA / KEY
$$$ precios bajos / Budget
$$$ precios medios / Moderately Priced
$$$ precios altos / Expensive