Insider’s Guide to Mendoza and Argentina’s Wine Capital
In the first edition of our new series of ‘Insider’s Guides’, we take a closer look at Mendoza, Argentina’s wine capital and share the best places to eat, drink, sleep and relax.
Eat – Is there more to eat than just steak?
Yes, Argentina is addicted to beef. No great surprise, really as the country produces some of the best quality, tastiest beef in the world. Carnivores should head for Restaurante 1884 for some of the best steak you’ve ever tasted. There is, however, a rapidly growing vegetarian movement in Argentina, and Arrope is offers a wide range of animal-free goodies on a buffet table, in a cozy setting. Florentino is one of the area’s most innovative new fusion restaurants, specializing in lighter dishes combining unusual flavors that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else (think succulent baby goat on a bed of creamy polenta, or one of their fresh salads with watercress, watermelon and corn). Another favorite is Azafrán, where it’s hard to figure out what’s the bigger draw – the rustic-chic decor, the creative menu or the extensive wine list. Who cares? Enjoy them all.
Drink – What’s the best way to explore the vineyards?
There are a number of winery hotels to the south of the city, best enjoyed during the harvest season of February to April. Cavas Wine Lodge reserves a selection of wines that they only serve to guests, so you can be assured that you’re tasting something unique and original. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a vineyard, Mendoza is the place to do it. Both Algodón Wine Estates and O. Fournier – a lovely and modern winery beautifully situated at the foot of the Andes offer building plots who can build their own villas, grow grapes and bottle their own wines. Even if you don’t buy a plot of land here, Algodón offers the ultimate Argentina souvenir – a barrel full of Malbec shipped directly to your front door.
Sleep and Relax – Where is the best place to stay?
While the city of Mendoza is home to some excellent hotels, we love staying in the heart of the wine country itself. There are a number of intimate hotels and guest houses in the Mendoza wine regions, including the lovely Posada & Bodega Salentein. Located in the Uco Valley, in a breathtaking setting at the foot of the Andes, surrounded by vineyards and just an hour and a half from Mendoza, this delightful hotel has only 16 modern rooms where you can find tranquility, beauty and personalized service. The Atamisque Lodge is located in another spectacular setting, and offers beautifully furnished modern rooms overlooking their vineyards and the magnificent Andes as a backdrop. The hotel’s restaurant, the Rincon Atamisque serves wine from the hotel’s own winery as well as trout farmed on site.