South America 2018

Mendoza Magic: Malbec and Art

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series South America March 2018

The name Mendoza conjures up magical images of vineyards and internationally renowned malbec wines at the foot of the Andes. Mendoza did not fail to please. On arrival, Independence Square was alive with folk dancing, celebrating a fleet of vintage cars during a wine tasting event.

We were lucky to have a local inhabitant and old friend of mine, Viviana, who welcomed us into her home and family. We celebrated our visit to Mendoza by going to an upscale barbeque restaurant, La Lucia, where slabs of Argentinian beef and pork were grilling over open fires.

We were up early the next morning, and had to grab two taxis to catch up with the Mendoza city tour bus. Mendoza’s streets are very clean and lined with rows of trees. We passed through a lovely park before hitting hairpin bends up a very steep hill to a monument on top, and then down again past a huge festival arena. We breathed a huge sigh of relief when we were on flat land again, and had a quick view of the soccer stadium before being dropped off at Independence Square.

Gabriel, our very informative and entertaining driver, met us at the drop-off point, and took us to a charming restaurant, Casa de Campo, in the Maipu Valley, where the convivial host treated us to excellent local cuisine.

Viviana had kindly arranged interviews at a few wineries for me. While I visited the unconventional, highly ranked artsy wine estate, El Enemigo, my companions toured a nearby olive farm. The following day Gabriel took us to the prestigious Atamisque winery in the Uco Valley where we had a tour and wine tasting, followed by an el fresco lunch on their estate, sampling trout from its own hatchery. We concluded our stay in Mendoza with a visit to the renowned Salentein winery, with its internationally famous Killka Art Gallery.

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