Argentina is a country of contrasts, bustling metropolitan cities coupled with the gorgeous rural landscapes of the Andes, deserts, and Patagonia. While there are great travel guides to any of these locations in this evolving country, this post will focus on one area in particular- the beautiful wine producing region of Mendoza.
Getting here is not a huge challenge, as all major U.S. airlines fly to Buenos Aires and from there either LAN or Aerolineas offer direct flights to Mendoza with a flight time of about one hour. Argentina’s airports can be a bit hectic, so arrive a little bit earlier than normal to limit any stress (we almost missed our flight from the long long lines in Buenos Aires). While in Mendoza we recommend two places to stay. The first is your more traditional hotel in the downtown area, The Park Hyatt. It is an architecturally beautiful hotel and has all the amenities one would expect of a proper 5-star hotel and at a relatively reasonable price.
However, where we truly recommend staying and where we decided to stay on our recent sojourn here is the Cavas Wine Lodge. An unforgettable place to stay, each room is a private bungalow with a rooftop fire place, exceptional bedding, small plunge pool, views of the Andes and vineyards, and notably perfect service. The restaurant serves authentic Argentinian fare (think beef, beef, beef) and the spa offers traditional and some interesting treatments (we opted for the wine bath and red wine salt scrubs….when in Mendoza). Similarly, the concierge team is wonderful and can arrange anything you may want to do while in Mendoza.
However, while here the main attraction is the views and wine tasting (and drinking of course….)
To get a broad perspective on the wine tradition in Mendoza (especially the world famous Malbecs) we recommend three different wineries:
- Carmelo Patti (no website unfortunately) – housed in what appears to be an old garage, Carmelo doesn’t speak English, but his daughter helps a great deal. Truly an artisanal producer, his endearing personality and love of crafting wonderful wines is something to be a part of and savor.
- Decero – Perhaps one of the most beautiful vineyards and wineries in Mendoza, it can be reached
by car or by horseback if you are staying at Cavas (my better half chose the latter despite my allergy to horses, the things we do for love….). The staff is welcoming here and the tour is informative. The tasting room has a perfect view to the snowcapped Andes and wines are warming on a cool afternoon in Mendoza.
- Bodegas Benegas – This winery is housed in a very old building complete with retired concrete tanks. Upon arrival heavy wool ponchos are offered to keep you toasty in the chilly tasting room, which is housed in an ancient wine storage cistern. A more “Argentinian” experience, the artworks speaks to when wine was consumed culturally with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and how over time this bulk wine has been replaced by some truly fine wines.
In short, we cannot recommend a journey to Mendoza highly enough. The wines are wonderful and the whole region is reasonably priced. Please hit the ask a sommelier button at the top with any questions you have and we can happily recommend many more places in the area to visit!!