These are the best places to enjoy the wine route in Mendoza
Visiting Argentina implies being ready to be surprised at every step. Each region and city have their own attractions and today we are going to share with you everything you need to know about the wine route in Mendoza, Argentina, the land of Malbec and much much much more!
Our country is famous for many different facts: For Pope Francis (the Argentinian Pope), for Diego Maradona (one of the best football players in the world), for “asado” (our barbeque), just to mention some of them. But in the last decades, Argentina has been known all over the world as “the land of Malbec”. Here, you will find the ultimate guide to enjoying the wine route in Mendoza and all the insights to taste excellent wines when visiting Argentina.
A guide to Mendoza wine region
Mendoza is a province located in the west of Argentina, close to the Andes mountains. It is a two-hour flight from Buenos Aires to get to the land of friendly people, awesome landscapes and nice climate. A perfect balance among altitude, temperature and rain made Mendoza the right land for Malbec vines to thrive.
Malbec vines, among others, were introduced in Argentina a long time ago, around 1870, by a French agronomist, Miguel Pouget. He was hired to improve vines in our country. Malbec has a 2000-year-old history, and it originated in Cahors, France, and at one moment it was known as the “king’s plants”. But it was not until Malbec adapted extremely well to Argentina’s terroir that it became world-famous.
By the beginning of the 1960s, the grape had already found its ideal roots in different parts of Argentina, but especially in Mendoza province, where more than 60,000 plants could be found. One of the reasons for this success is the high altitude and the proximity to the Andes mountain range. Vineyards are usually located at an altitude of approximately 2000-3500 feet above sea level but some of them can be found up to 5000 feet above sea level.
Mendoza hosts almost 75% of the total vineyards in Argentina and there are several regions which are really known for their wines: Valle de Uco, by the Andes, and Luján de Cuyo and Maipú, close to Mendoza city.
Even though Mendoza produces different wine varieties (Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, just to mention some of them), they are the main Malbec producer.
It is important to keep in mind some insightful tips when thinking about where to go wine tasting:
- If you drink, do not drive. Local regulations are very strict about this issue. So, hiring a driver or booking a tour would be wise options for you to enjoy wine tasting.
- It is suggested not to visit more than two or three wineries during the same day. During each wine tasting, you will be offered several different varieties of wine and they are usually located in a stunning setting, so the idea is to enjoy each place in peace. Most wineries will also have a full restaurant for you to enjoy a meal apart from the wine tasting. It is recommended to book ahead as they might be fully booked.
- Some wineries do not open during the weekend. It would be better to check, so that you can make the most of your time in Mendoza.
Mendoza wine route
The most important areas are Luján de Cuyo, Valle de Uco and Maipú. The three of them can be visited from Mendoza city (but not on the same day, though). If you want to visit several regions, it would be ideal to spend two or three days in Mendoza. Here, we will mention some of the most important wine producing regions and some of the best vineyards and wineries to visit in Mendoza for wine tasting and food. If you have limited time and can only choose one region to visit, then we suggest you to go to Valle de Uco, as the location by the Andes makes everything even more terrific.
This is a valley located around the city of Mendoza (capital of Mendoza province; yes, they share the same name!). Many wineries are located in this area, so perhaps you can visit more than one during the day. This is convenient if, for example, you get to Mendoza in the morning and would like to visit a winery in the afternoon without going too far away.
Some of the most important vineyards/wineries are:
“Bodega Trapiche” has been recognized worldwide since its early days (around 1883). They were distinguished with different awards, such as “The Most Awarded Argentina Winery” by the WRW&S for four years.
This winery was founded in 1898 by José López Rivas. This is a family-run business with a balance between tradition and new technology. They also elaborate sparkling wines. They have been distinguished with different important awards. The place also offers a wonderful restaurant to taste some of the regional flavors.
Valle de Uco
This is the highest cultivated valley in the region, in the southwest of Mendoza. Blessed by the waters of the Tunuyán river, it is considered one of the top wine regions in the province. Elevation, little rain and temperature make the ideal combination to obtain first-class wines.
Some of the important vineyards/wineries:
Around the 1960s, the family planted the first hectares of grapevines in Maipú. Since then, they never stopped growing and obtaining excellent wines. The construction of the winery began in 2013. They own several vineyards located in different areas.
In the heart of the Mendoza province, in its vineyards located in the Uco Valley, Bodegas Salentein transformed winemaking in Argentina. The winery is located at an elevation of 1.200 meters (4.000 feet), right in the vineyard’s center. The horizon is dominated by the snowy Andes, that have an elevation of over 6.100 meters (20.000 feet). The subterranean cellar is the highlight of this place.
Huentala Wines was inaugurated in 2002, and combines three styles of Malbec: a fresh and fruity one, a spicy and intense one and a fruity one. Thanks to its unique terroir, Huentala achieves an exquisite outcome in each of its lines. They offer accommodation in luxury rooms and sunset wine tastings.
Luján de Cuyo
Luján de Cuyo is the closest wine region to Mendoza city, ideal if you have limited time and cannot make it to Valle de Uco as several wine routes connect many wineries in this area. Nearby, the town of Chacras de Coria is famed for its upscale restaurants.
Some places to visit:
Bodegas Catena Zapata
Mr. Nicola Catena arrived in Argentina in 1898. The family believed they had found their place in Mendoza and in 1902, Mr. Catena began with his first Malbec vineyard. Since then, they never stopped growing.
Bodega Carmelo Patti
This is a place we strongly recommend you to visit. It doesn’t have sprawling vineyards and is situated in a working warehouse, but none of that matters. What you’re here for is the experience and there is no better introduction to wines in the region than a meeting with the one and only Carmelo Patti. The founder and owner himself will greet you and take you through the methods of winemaking/bottling. Of course there is a wine tasting as well which is fantastic. Carmelo not only gives you the typical tour as any other winery but also gives you tips, recommendations and will also provide you a delightful experience.
These are just some of the suggested options about the best places to enjoy the wine route in Mendoza, but we can understand if you feel that it is quite hard to make a decision on where to go.
Still finding it difficult to make up your mind about the best wineries to visit in Mendoza for tasting and food? Don’t worry, we can help you with that!
You can book a free 30-minute call to talk to one of our travel experts who will help you with all the questions you may have.
Please do not hesitate to contact us, we are just a message away, ready to help you and hoping to see you soon around here to say: “Welcome to Mendoza. Enjoy your stay and cheers!”.