No trip to Argentina is complete without visiting Mendoza’s wine region. Mendoza Province is the largest and best-known wine-producing region in Argentina. When most people think of Argentine wines they are most likely to first think of Malbec. However, while Mendoza produces great Malbec it also produces other wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Bonarda. Mendoza’s wine region consists of three vast artificial oases (Oasis Norte, Oasis Sur and Uco Oasis). The capital city of Mendoza is located in Oasis Norte, which is irrigated by the Mendoza and Tunuyán rivers. The Diamante and Atuel rivers irrigate the Oasis Sur while the Tunuyán River irrigates Uco Valley Oasis. All three rivers Atuel, Diamante and Tunuyán have their origin in the Andes. The most popular wine districts within Mendoza include Maipú and Luyán de Cuyo.
Prior to visiting Mendoza we did research on potential wineries to visit. The end result was we decided to hire a wine tour company to take us around. There are so many wineries in Mendoza that it is best to hire a good wine touring company for a first visit. During the tour we visited Alta Vista, Belasco De Baquedano and Ruca Malen. We began our tour at Belasco De Baquedano.
Belasco De Baquedano
Belasco De Baquedano is a winery that produces exclusively Malbec wines. We were given a tour of the winery. Next, we visited the aromas room and then the tasting room where we tasted a variety of Malbecs. What is unique about Belasco De Baquedano is the aromas room where you can smell the various aromas (both good and bad) present in wines. We all found the aromas room very interesting and would strongly recommending visiting it. In fact if we were to return we would ask for more time in the aromas room.
Bodega Rucca Malen
After Belasco De Baquedano it was onto Bodega Ruca Malen for lunch. Bodega Ruca Malen is written up in many travel guides as a culinary delight. It lived up to its reputation. Put it on your list it is well worth a visit. We were served a five course lunch. They make accommodations in the lunch menu for vegetarians. The food and wine pairings were excellent. Some of their wines are amongst the best produced in Argentina.
Bodega Alta Vista
Bodega Alta Vista is part of the Edonia Group, which produces high quality wines in Argentina, France and Hungary. We enjoyed our visit to this beautiful winery, which is known for its Malbecs and Torrontes.
We had selected a fourth winery for our Mendoza tour but we found it impossible to fit it into a one-day tour. On another occasion we visited San Rafael wineries, which is in Oasis Sur. While we visited Bodega Suter and Algodón Wine Estates there are other wineries well worth visiting in the San Rafael area. During our drive through San Rafael we happened to encounter the owner of a small-certified organic winery, Felix Vinos Orgánicos Certificados. For a random roadside stop we were quite pleased with the wines and bought a few. If you are interested in exploring Mendoza’s organic and biodynamic wineries James England highlights the top five Argentine wineries, with Bodegas Krontiras (Luyán de Cuyo), Caligiore (Luyán de Cuyo) and ViniCol (La Paz) being located in Mendoza Province.
Upon reflection three days was not enough time to tour Mendoza Province’s wineries. The fact that we visited over the weekend and wanted to explore the city cut into our wine touring time. Even though we visited during peak tourist season Mendoza is a great place to visit and we will return. We have been told that spring or fall is the best time to visit Mendoza.
Mendoza offers a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. During our Mendoza visit we stayed three days at the pet-friendly Sheraton Mendoza. We loved the service we received. We were treated with wine while we waited to be checked in. The Sheraton has a great location downtown with so many great restaurants and sidewalk cafes all within walking distance. While we tried a number of restaurants near the Sheraton we especially enjoyed Estancia La Florencia Parrilla Restaurant. We had great service, great food and great wine. If you get the opportunity go to Mendoza because there are so many exciting wineries to explore.