Wineries to visit in Mendoza?
Anyone have any informed suggestions of worthwhile wineries to visit in Mendoza, Argentina?
We will be there for two day and will be hiring a driver to take us around a few places, and hopefully enjoy an asado at one.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
We are going in 2 weeks (never been) and just hired a guy who was recommended highly on various mendoza boards - Gustavo Delucchi firstname.lastname@example.org. He is very quick to get back, seems to know a lot about the area and all the wineries, and has booked all our our tastings/lunch for the day (in addition to driving us around). The only one I had a friend/food & wine rec for is Achaval-Ferrer winery (which he also suggested). His rates were also MUCH more reasonable then other tours I found online. Hope that helps!
I received the following quote from another guide:
LUJAN DE CUYO REGION
09:00am Pick up at the Hotel
09:30am CATENA ZAPATA (tour and tasting) cost free
11:00am ACHAVAL FERER (tour and tasting) cost $30 pesos each
12:40pm SEPTIMA WINERY (tour and lunch) cost $140 pesos each 03.30pm
BENEGAS lYNCH (tour and tasting) cost $30 pesos each
Return to Mendoza City at 5:30pm..
Do these costs mesh with yours?
Our quote was not broken down as a fee per stop, just one lump sum per person - for the Lujan de Cuyo area (Achaval Ferer is one we are visiting) it was 100/each. He also gave us estimates for just the car and a driver if we would have rather done that and it was about $50 cheaper, but I'm sure we would easily spend that in tasting fees.
I second Achaval-Ferrer. When my fiancé and I went, we were the only people on the tour! They did what I believe is called a "vertical" tasting--where you sample a wine at various stages of maturation to better understand how flavors develop. I wish we'd bought a few more bottles to send back home!
We also did a tour at Ruca Malen. This was a tour that concluded with a leisurely, wine-paired lunch on a covered patio overlooking the vineyards. (This may be how we ended up getting such an intimate tour at Achaval-Ferrer! We may have been feeling a bit drowsy, but we soldiered on--we're tough like that...)
Hi there. My husband's from Mendoza and we live in Denver and in Mexico but visit Argentina annually. I think you'll be happy with Achaval Ferrer and Ruca Malen. I'd also suggest Susana Balbo (you'll need a reservation) and Melipal, which are on Ruta 7 also. Check out the Vines of Mendoza tasting room, you'll be able to select a flight of wines of some bodegas you won't get to. I'm attaching a pic for you from Achaval Ferrer, there are more on my blog From Argentina With Love in the 'Bodegas' section. Have a great trip!
re: Rebecca Caro
Please inform your driver whether or not you want a tour (or multiples). My experience is that they seem surprised that you may not want tours. As we only had an afternoon, we just took the driver's suggestion and went to "place one" which was a marginal tour, followed by 2 tastes of swill. The white was cold, so we could drink it. The red we left on the counter. We then explained to the driver a bit more about ourselves, where we are from, and that we really don't want another tour (politely) and he was really surprised. We then stopped at a little place (I can't remember the name for the life of me, but we actually bought some), we pulled in, he spoke with them, and we were seated in the post-tour tasting room for over an hour, sampling probably 10 lovely wines.
The Vines tasting room (mentioned above) is a nice stop, and is a nice way to spend a little time and taste some wines.
Have a great trip!
First time poster, long time reader here -- just wanted to add my 2 cents on the topic since my wife and I just returned from our vacation in Argentina. I got Gustavo Delucchi's name from this topic, cross-referenced on another site to make sure he was legit, and called him from our hotel in Mendoza. He responded very promptly and a few days later was driving us around the vineyards. We were very pleased with him. He's very energetic and knowledgable and I would definitely recommend him if you want a driver/guide that will eagerly interact with you. We visited Mendel, Achaval Ferrer, Ruca Malen, and Catena Zapata, and enjoyed all of them. We felt like they complimented each other very well in terms of style and size, like a nice cross-section of the different types of vineyards in this region. It was a truly fantastic day. Cheers!
I know this won't help you, but perhaps someone will benefit from our recent trip to Mendoza (just returned on September 2, 2010)
Archaval Ferrer- very personal, beautiful grounds, excellent tour/tasting- no charge if you make a purchase. Their new dessert wine is amazing!!! (although all of their wines are excellent)
Carinae-small, more homespun- delicious wines- had our tasting in what could have been someone's kitchen- very charming
Ruca Malen (stayed for lunch there)- tour was OK, wine just OK, but lunch was delightful. Even though this winery seems to be on the "tour itinerary circuit", we really enjoyed the food and service. We would recommend it.
Melipal- beautiful architecture and setting- decent wines- tasting was beautifully presented, but a bit pricey for the quality of wine- would still recommend it, though
Mendel-probably our favorite- charming,charming, charming space and lovely guide for tour and tasting
Vistalba (staying for lunch there)- this is the largest physical winery we visited although still small by comparison. The physical structure was gorgeous- very modern and impressive. The tasting was beautifully done. The lunch, although quite expensive, was perfect and well worth the price.
We loved all of them and would go back in a heartbeat. Being there in off season, although a negative since we were not seeing the vineyards "alive", was a huge positive since we were not rushed through any of our tastings and really enjoyed chatting with the winery employees/owners.
I would suggest 2 wine visits in the morning/early afternoon followed by a visit with lunch to wrap up your day. You will roll back to your hotel around 4-5pm and be a happy camper for the rest of the day!!
Visited in Sept 2010.
Mendel: our favorite, small and family owned.
Catena Zapata: stunningly beautiful winery. Definitely felt like the "Mondavi" of the area.
Dominio del Plata (Susana Balbo's winery): OK. Wines were nothing special.
Melipal: went for lunch. Gorgeous architecture and food was top notch. Wines were good, not amazing. I'd say skip the tour and just do lunch with their wine pairings.
Achaval Ferrer: skipped the tour and just did tasting. Perfect!
Bressia: last minute stop near Catena. Awesome small, family owned winery. Actually did some barrel tastings with the winemaker's son! This was one of my favorites.
Regarding some suggestions that you need a car and driver, we rented a car and had a good map and did the touring on our own. As long as you have a sense of adventure, i'd recommend this as it leaves more money for wine!!
Also, Vines of Mendoza can be a great way to introduce yourself to wines in the area. And their tasting room in downtown Mendoza is quite charming.
Thank you for the recent posts. We are going in December and appreciate the recommendations.
Did everyone who posted stay in the city of Mendoza and do day trips? The wineries seem pretty close to the city. Did anyone stay at a Bodega? We'd love to spend a night or two in the country at one of the wineries.
p.s. We can't do Cavas Wine Lodge as they don't allow children and we'll have our daughter with us!
I just returned yesterday from a two week trip to Argentina. Mendoza is amazing. I would suggest starting of at vines of mendoza. it is a regional tasting room that specializes in boutique wines. they offer guided flights and it is a great way to educate yourself on the various wine regions in the area. my favorite winery is Salentein. it is in the Uco valley which is at a higher altitude and produces a more complex malbec. the winery itself is stunning and you feel like you can reach out and touch the snow capped andes. my favorite restaurant was Azafran...you must try it.