I love the idea of going back next time to do a cooking class paired with wine, sitting in the midst of a vegetable garden, maybe going for horseback riding, or hiking around the mountains, trying out more cafes and restaurants. Endless possibilities in this blossoming wine place, like someone said, “Mendoza is like Napa 30 years ago.” What a potential for foodies to gather and settle here.
Some of the highlights:
Located along the borders of the Andes Mountain, in Valle de Uco, this sheer god-like winery may seem beautiful, but for me a bit sterile and cold. The biggest winery in Mendoza, the compound has its own chapel, art gallery, restaurant, hotel, movie room, a concert hall that holds oak barrels etc…you get the idea.
Ruca Malen, in the area of Lujan de Cuyo is my favorite wine-tasting experience. The wine-pairing with food was spectacular, both sides: great food and beautiful wines. Not only were the food above average, we were also situated in the midst of the vineyard-glass windows all around. Highly recommended. 50 dollars for 5 course tasting, including the tour of the winery.
Off to Maipu, having an asado at the well-known Famila Zuccardi winery. They do their full course of bbq right here; the empanadas are the highlight for me: explosive flavors with the slightly charred exterior-cheese, onion, or beef filling. Continuing along with sausages, salads, grilled veggies and the endless rounds of well-grilled meat, all accompanying with their wines. A great place for meat lovers. Their olive oil is superb. 50 dollars for asado and wines to go with, also including the tour of the winery.
Francis Mallman’s restaurant 1884 is something all foodies are looking forward to. The grounds of this place are stunningly beautiful, high-vault ceiling, beautiful garden, great history. I never like to say this, but the service and food both pales in comparison to restaurants back home in the similar range. Nothing bad at all, but nothing to highly compliment about. Overall the food in Mendoza is a tad too salty, and especially in this restaurant, the salt was very pronounced. Decorations of fried potato chips were seen in the few dishes we order and the celery stick was 5 inches higher than the glass that holds a Bloody Mary. Hmm. I’m interested to see other people’s experience in this place. 3 starters, 1 main, 2 drinks, a bottle: ~$120
Francis Mallman 1884
Seems to be the first tasting room in South America, turns out to be one of the most enjoyable wine bars I’ve been in: wide varieties of wine, informative service, and an easy-going beautiful atmosphere. It is here that I discover a delicious red-Tannat.
The Vines of Mendoza
Strayed from Azafran Restaurant, and instead tried Siete Cocinas; a place recently opened and loved by everyone. Keep in mind, by this time of the trip I was always beyond full, cringing at any thoughts of big meaty mains. This restaurant was quiet, clean white interior and A++ staff. The staff here gave great recommendations, with clean detailed attention; our favorites being the ceviche scallop and dulce de leche desserts. The menu is a smart layout of different dishes from all over Argentina. 3 starters, 2 glasses of wine, main to share, and dessert: ~$70.
After Ruca Malen, this is my favorite winery to have lunch: a big red barn situated in the middle of the vineyards. This place has a rustic organic feel, the food was simple though elegantly presented; my favorite here was the caramel dulce de leche. Wine with food: ~$50.