Move over, Napa: Menodza is officially the best wine tasting destination in the Americas.
Set against the backdrop of the Andes mountain, every picture I took during my weekend in Mendoza looked straight out of a postcard. No joke — I couldn’t put filters on my photos when I put them on Instagram because I was afraid people would think they were fake. I spent two glorious days wine tasting in the Uco Valley (and one equally as amazing day laying out at the pool at the Park Hyatt Mendoza) and can now honestly say that I’m a Malbec aficionado. The wine was so good, that the first time we ordered a bottle of cheap red after the trip, one of my friends declared that she “couldn’t possibly drink it” because her tastebuds had been spoiled. (lol.)
Here, a breakdown of everything I did, ate and most importantly, drank during a weekend trip to Mendoza. Bottoms up, everyone!
Where We Stayed
We knew we wouldn’t be spending a whole lot of time in our accommodations (and figured the time we were going to be there, we’d be drunk and PTFO), so we decided to stay at an affordable hostel in the center of town per the recommendation of a friend of mine. At 26, the word “hostel” tends to freak me out a little bit, but I was pleasantly surprised when we rolled up to the Alamo and found that it was absolutely adorable. We booked a premium room, which had a comfortable queen sized bed and air conditioning (which is much more than I could say for my apartment in Córdoba this month), but no WiFi and an itty-bitty bathroom with a smelly shower curtain. For $36 per person, per night, though, it was totally worth it — especially because there was a beautiful courtyard and free breakfast. It was your quintessential 3-star situation, with an included “breakfast” that was basically a piece of toast and a hardboiled egg.
The Park Hyatt Mendoza
After two days of Hostel-ing, we de decided to treat ourselves to one bougie night at the Park Hyatt. We spent the afternoon lounging at the pool (which was kind of small, and had a lot of non-guests who snuck in stealing the chairs), where we treated ourselves to a charcuterie and our 10,000th bottle of Malbec. The room was pretty standard, but had a Netflix-friendly TV which was a definite plus. The service was kind of meh (as is all service in Argentina), but all in all it was a great stay. Plus, there was a casino. Just sayin’.
What We Did, Drank and Ate
Day 1: Trout & Wine Tours
On our first day in Mendoza, we booked a full day tour of the Uco Valley with Trout & Wine Tours. The $180 experience tour took us to three vineyards in the Uco Valley (75 minutes from the city center), and included a 6-course lunch with wine pairings. All day, my companions and I kept turning to each other and commenting about how #worthit it was for the price.
The first stop was Pulenta Estate, and the minute I got out of the van I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The vineyard was set against the most stunning backdrop of the Andes mountains, and every picture I took looked fake, even without a filter. Plus, I was handed the best glass of rosé I’d ever tasted upon arrival, which solidified Pulenta as my new favorite place on earth. The tour (which was hosted by the loveliest Italian woman, who is my new official #girlcrush) took us through the entire wine making process. Then we were put through a “sniff test,” in which we closed our eyes and smelled various different ingredients (chocolate, grass, fermented strawberries) to help prepare our noses to pick up the different notes in the wine. Finally, we were treated to a tasting of three of the vineyard’s signature reds. The coolest part of this stop, though, was the fact that the owners are Porsche connesieurs, so there were random engines in the basement (I actually didn’t think this was that cool tbh, but feel like other people would).
Of the three vineyards we visited, Atamisque was probably the least wow-inducing, but was still gorgeous and a really great experience. We took a walk through the desert garden, and were then treated to a three wine tasting of reds and whites. The views were spectacular, and there were really delicious crackers during the tasting.
All I have to say about our lunch and tasting at Andeluna Cellars is “HOLY. SHIT.” We were treated to 6 courses, complete with wine pairings, which included fresh baked bread, beet salad, sweet breads, and an entire filet mignon. This part of the experience alone was worth well over $175, and made the entire tour feel like a bargain.
Day 2: Self Guided Tour
On the second day, we rented a private car to take us around to some of the other vineyards in the valley. Our driver was recommended to us by a friend (he’s become the unofficial “Remote Year goes to Mendoza” guy, and for six of us to have him for the full day was $60 a person. This experience was much more laid back than doing a full tour, though I will admit I missed meeting some of the characters (… mostly older women) who were part of our group. For the same price, though, I loved that we could pick and choose the vineyards for ourselves.
Corazon Del Sol
The first stop on our Sunday was Corazon Del Sol, a very small — and very new — Vineyard that opened in 2014. We got a private tour through their boutique wine-making process, and even got to taste their new, unreleased rosé straight from the tap. It was some of the best rosé I’ve ever tasted, and I fully plan to order a case when it comes out. We did a formal tasting in the wine cellar which was hosted by a really cute British guy who still hasn’t texted me back.
The Vines Hotel and Resort
Screw staying in the city of Mendoza — If you’re doing a honeymoon or romantic couple’s vacation to this part of the world, you should 1000)% stay at The Vines. It’s located in the heart of the Uco Valley on a property with dozens of wineries surrounding it, and (obviously) the most stunning views of the Andes. We came here for lunch at the Siete Fuegos restaurant, owned by Internationally acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann, and it was a seriously special experience. The food is prepared with his “seven fires” method, and every dish tasted better than the next. We ordered pretty much the whole menu, and the gnocchi (and all of the beef dishes) were positively divine.
Looking for more info on Mendoza? Check out this amazing guide from my friend, Carin, over at PairsWellWith!