Lying in the shadows on the Andes, the lovely town of Mendoza is famous for its wine production, and although it’s a perfect destination while taking a luxury holiday in Chile for wine lovers and foodies, there’s a lot more to this region than first meets the eye.
The town is very attractive, thanks to its tree-lined trees, parks, plazas, elegant buildings, and views of the snow-capped mountains in the distance, beyond which lies Chile. Despite its desert location, a smart irrigation system ensures the towns stays green and the grapes grow healthily. The town itself is fairly compact and well-suite to exploring on foot, or bicycles can be hired for a good price. However, to get to the vineyards (there are over 1000), you’ll need some form of transport.
Exploring the vineyards
Maipu is one of the areas reached most easily from town – you can even get a bus or taxi there. You may want to hire your own bikes and head off for an inspection of the nearby wineries – many rental agencies will give you a map. Most are happy to let you taste their range of wines for free or a small charge. Some of the best wineries include Tempus Alba, Familia Di Tommaso, Carinae and Viña El Cérno.
Organised tours of in Mendoza are available in abundance. Some of the more high-end options take small groups, led by expert sommeliers, to the very best wineries in the region, often including a delicious wine-matched lunch. Tailor-made, customised tours are also available with your own private chauffeur.
Sleep amongst the wines
There are some fantastic accommodation options within the winelands. Some hotels, such as Club Tapiz and Antucura, are part of the winery itself.
The colonial buildings of Club Tapiz are surrounded by a working vineyard and olive grove. A great choice for food lovers, the resort’s restaurant combines the best of the region’s cuisine with international influences, featuring local produce and healthy organic vegetables from the estate’s garden. The wines, of course, are fantastic.
At Antucura, deep in the heart of the winelands, is a beautiful house settled amongst the winery. You can wander around the vines on the property, chat with the winemaker and taste of the estate’s Uco Valley wines. There are lots of other vineyards to visit nearby. The Argentinian steaks served up here are exquisite, especially paired with a peppery Malbec.
Where to eat and drink
There are plenty of fantastic places to eat and drink both within Mendoza town and in the surrounding area. Many of the top wineries have their own restaurants, as do many of the estancias and hotels.
Popular choices include Casa del Visitante at the Familia Zuccardi winery in Maipu. Open for breakfast and brunch as well as lunch and supper tasting menus, this warm and welcoming restaurant is in a lovely setting. Eat and drink in the garden to appreciate the cooling breeze and the views. The nine course wine-matched menus are a delight, the meat from the parilla (barbecue) is divine, and there are also cookery classes on offer.