It Was Wine. We Drank It.

We had a great time wine tasting in Mendoza and could easily go back there several times in the future.

Many roads in the area have been transplanted directly from the south of France — they are lined with large old plane trees.  It’s a welcome change from the wide open spaces that we’ve found in most of Argentina and I’m sure the immigrants who planted them thought so too.

The Argentine government in the mid-19th century encouraged immigration from other countries because they made a decision to make the country be less Spanish.

On our second full day in the Mendoza area, we drove to the Uco valley, about 50 km away, and visited two wineries.  The first one was Andeluna, a venture founded by Mr. Lay of Frito fame.  70% of their wine is exported to the US, and I hope to see it there.  But the wine was completely upstaged by the winery lunch, featuring five courses paired with various glasses.  The lunch was served by the chef, Pedro del Rio, who explained in a very detailed way everything that went into each of the dishes.  It was all very creative and tasty, but was much more interesting knowing some of the choices that were made for each ingredient.  The wines were fine, especially the last one, Passionata or something like that.  This visit was followed by a short drive to the Salentein winery, where a wine we’d had at Cueva de las Manos was from.  Many wines in Mendoza are good, but it seems that winery visits are actually all about the architecture.  Salentein had a large very modern building, with a nice art gallery where we hung out while sobering up for the drive back to Mendoza.  That night, we had a snack at a restaurant near our hotel where Sr. del Rio moonlights, tasting a few more of his creations.

The third day was like the second, but was spent closer to town.  Lunch was at the Ruca Malen winery, and wasn’t nearly as noteworthy as the day before.  A visit to Catena Zapata winery followed, which won the grandiose movie set prize for our visit with its Mayan pyramid building.  Apparently they started the architecture rivalry, building their creation in 1983.   It could have been a 1930’s era Los Angeles gas station, expanded with a pantograph.

We tasted a couple Malbecs, and bought a recommended $60 bottle, Catena Vinas “Angelica Lot 18 Malbec”, only sold at the winery, to drink at some point later.  We had room for dinner, and went to 1884 Francis Mallmann, a nice restaurant where we sat outdoors near their clay oven and barbeque, feasting on large portions of kid goat and beef.  It was located in the same building as a winery which had had a large fire two months earlier.

Like we said earlier, if you come to Mendoza, and you ought to, make sure to stay at Casa Glebinias.  It is a wonderful little hotel and it lacks nothing.