South America Journey….Finally arriving in Mendoza, Argentina……Malbec Wine Heaven.

A week in Mendoza, Argentina Wine Country

Our flights ( yes flights) from Lima, Peru to Mendoza, Argentina was probably the worst and only hard travel day. Originally, I had planned to fly us to Mendoza via Chili, which could have been done in a few hours, not two days. I had to “Sh*tcan” that idea becasue Chili was still observing “Covid Restrictions”. So, instead, we had to fly from Cusco to Lima, Lima to Buenos Aires and Buenos Aires to Mendoza, which took a day and a half.

Villa Manza, Lujan de Cuio, Argentina

Our room, the “Pinot Noir”

I went for a upper level suite with balcony, instead of one of these “Wine Barrel” rooms.

Arriving in Mendoza Airport, which is quite nice, I soon realized the “rental car” I had reserved was from a “Rental Company” that nobody there had heard of ? As luck would have it, it proved to be a blessing, as I don’t recommend driving there. Instead we caught a cab for the half hour drive in the Lujan de Cuio, Wine Region. I chose this region as it is famous as the best Malbec Wine Region in the world, which proved to be true.

Nice pool, but a little to chilly.

We checked into our Wine Resort, Villa Mansa, recommended by the Wine Tour Guide from Tours By Locals that I had hired for 3 days. Checking in and viewing our suite, I knew we had made a great choice.

The “sink” was a little to low πŸ™‚

As far as wine regions go, we have experienced all major Wine Regions in the U.S., and many of the best in Europe, but was not sure of what I would find here in greater Mendoza. As the best Malbec producing location in the world, it is no “Napa / Sonoma” I can tell you. I had envisioned dirt roads with hundreds of acres of grape vines on both sides. In fact, you will rarely experience that here. More on that when I get to wineries.

My first real steak in Argentina. Unlike Belize, I cut with fork, not a Machete πŸ™‚

You are looking at one happy man, great steak, great Malbec and awesome woman to share the experience.

Our restaurant at Villa Mansa was great, and the wine selection fantastic as you would expect. Our first evening at dinner I chose a steak, as we were now in the land of “red meat”, Argentina. As expected, it was tender, tasty and fork cut-able. The bottle of local Malbec we had was ecstasy in a bottle.

After a good night of sleep, after our 1.5 days of travel and bottle of wine, we got ready for our first day in wine country, on our own. To my suprise and pleasure, the restaurant featured two things, the first was a breakfast buffet of breads, pastry, fruits, etc. and available made to order eggs. The second was an excellent coffee machine, not just any machine, but one that you put your cup on a tray, and pushed a button, and out came any kind of coffee you could imagine ! I’m serious, regular, Capachino, expresso, LatΓ¨, and twenty other types with steamed creme.

Saven my life every morning πŸ™‚

We “slept in” and spent the day at the resort relaxing and enjoying a “Spa Day” which was definitely needed.

Later in the afternoon we took a taxi into town to explore before dinner, as we had made reservations at one of the popular steak restaurants. We were dropped off at a large Mall, where we again shopped for sneakers for me. As I didn’t have a “spare $500 U.S.” I passed. Yes, U.S. sneakers and shows are that expensive in Argentina ! We decided to experience a brewery at the mall before heading to dinner.

It was so awesome to taste really good “craft beer” again. πŸ™‚

Later that evening we headed to the steakhouse. If you didn’t already know, Argentina is well known for its red meat, steak to be exact. I ordered a Ribeye and Marsha ordered a Filet Mignon, and let me say, not only were the “melt in your mouth” delicious, but they were giant cuts! Also just know that Argentinians eat their red meat “well done”, so you must specify medium rare, as it should be in my palate.

Our Winery Tour Guide by the name of Anita with picked us up on time and off we went visiting three wineries that day, including lunch at one of them.

The first winery we drove into was a complete surprise to me, Chandon ! As someone that operated a wine business in the U.S., have visited wineries worldwide, and even sipped Champagne at Dom Perignon in Epernay, France, I had no idea they were here also. In fact, Dom Perignon shares a winery tasting room at Dom in Champagne, France. I learned they also have wineries in California, Brazil, Australia, China and India, making them the largest producers of Sparkling Wine in the world.

Marsha and our guide, Anita

We enjoyed quite a line of wines at Chandon, of course, for me, the RosΓ¨ was “interesting, the “Sparkling” was excellent. Surly you know that only sparkling produced from grapes in Champagne, can label their bottles “Champagne”.

Anita enjoying some “bubbly”. Our first day touring she was able to enjoy with us, as she had a driver πŸ™‚

One of the many cellars storing wines.

The second winery we toured and tasted was Piattelli Vineyards, and I can tell you, the wines were amazing.

I was certainly impressed with the wines, but also that they were distributers for the “Big Green / Red Egg” πŸ™‚

The next winery we toured and tasted, was Budeguer Vineyards, a very interesting and excellent winery. Their Malbec was heavenly.

Marsha with “The Wine Goddess” and our Budeguer Winery Guide.

The third and final winery for our first day was Bienvenidos Vineyards, where we toured, sipped many excellent wines, and also had a stunning lunch accompanied by their wines.

One of the absolute best Malbec’s I have ever tasted.

A multi course lunch, with what seemed like gallons of wines to taste. There was NO SPITTING involved.

My lovely wife Marsha’s expression says it all. I believe she said,

“And this is only day one of the weeks wine tasting here in Mendoza, Argentina”?

I do hope you enjoyed this post on our time in Mendoza, and some of the wineries we visited. I have only covered day one and three wineries, and could have gone on to the next two days, and six wineries. If anyone is interested in the wineries we visited, please let me know, and I can give you their info.

Stunning view of the snow capped Andes Mountains. Fact ! The true story / movie of the plane that crashed in the mountains, and only a few survived by “dining” on each other, happened here. If the survivors had hiked this way they would have reached Mendoza in less than 2 days. Regretfully, they went the wrong way.

Alta Vista Winery has this
tasting room” for the winery “tasting team”. The wall is the exact “terroir” of soil from the vineyard and the tasters can determine different flavors / minerals, knowing exactly where the roots of the vines reach.

The owners “Private Collection”. I tried but couldn’t get in.

Marsha is actually starting to get into those “sparkling wines” πŸ™‚

Very interesting winery, the Alta Vista, and very famous. This is where we tasted the wines, in this special private room. It is set up for the winery Sommelier’s, for when they taste each vintage and produce their flavor profiles, and rate each wine. As I too have gone thru Sommelier training, and assisted in this process myself, I have never had an actual “sink” with running water to spit in ! πŸ™‚

This was about as “uptown and elegant” a tasting room I have ever experienced, in the world.

On our final evening in Lujan de Cuio, we invited Anita and her husband out to dinner, their pick of restaurants. They picked us up, and we arrived at this very old mansion, converted into a premier restaurant, quite elegant. We were seated and I asked for the wine list, and was promptly escorted into a locked room with bars on it, and told I could choose from the wine-cellar. I checked out some old and I am sure fantastic bottles of Malbec, and finally choose one, noticing there were no prices. I asked, they told……$5,000 U.S.

After I was revived by the Para Medics, I asked Anita to inquire at the bar if there was another option ? Yes, there was, and at quite a reduced rate. We had dinner, and a private tour of the mansion, and everything was good, once I fully recovered.

The scene of the crime….restaurant πŸ™‚

So, for those of you that know me from my previous life in the states, I was “The Wine Guy”, with my own business, “A Wine To Die For”. These days in Belize, Central America, I am pretty well known as “The Pirate…. and Rum Guy” πŸ™‚

Until our next “meet-up”, for Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls, Argentina / Brazil, ….Arrrrrrr.

Gary….The Pirate

About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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