Mendoza, land of good taste.
"Mendoza is Magnificent".
That's how a client of ours that was born in Mendoza, but raised in Italy, replied when I asked her to define me in a word the land where she was born and which she had only seen again several decades later due to having emigrated to Italy as a child. "Her mountains, her vineyards, the small houses with gardens, the large expanses of land, the food... Mendoza is Magnificent".
The history of Mendoza, when compared with that of Europe, is a very young one. It's only sometime between the beginning of the Christian era and the 1700s that some tribes in the area will transition from nomadism to sedentarism and it will not happen before the year 1000 that we can glimpse a draft of a political and social organization as we know it. The best known indigenous population of the region were the Huarpes but the reality is that today there is very little information about them. On the other hand, the passage of the Incas in this region is more documented and one could even venture to say that without them, today Mendoza probably would not be what it is. It was the Incas, who arrived at the end of the 1400s as far as the north-central part of the province, who "taught" the local populations the complex irrigation system that is still in use today in some parts of the area. With the Spanish colonization, the foundation of the Republic and the technological development, this desert region has gradually transformed, thanks to the use of the water system, into an ideal place for viticulture.
Today it's one of the Great Wine Capitals, a network of 10 large international cities founded in 1999 with the intention of "achieving excellence in the tourism, business and education sectors, thanks to the alliance between its renowned wine regions". Mendoza is also the second most popular destination in Argentina (source TripAdvisor), the second food destination in the country (Booking.com) and the best wine destination (Lonely Planet) in the world. The offer of world-renowned wineries (Zuccardi Valle de Uco has been recognized as the best in the world for two years, with Catena Zapata always in the top ten), the possibility of tourism in nature or venturing into rafting in the middle of the Andes but also to enjoy a day at the thermal baths (Cacheuta) or to savor the excellent local gastronomy (from Empanadas to Asado), positions Mendoza as one of the places to go at least once in a lifetime.
This region is host to the highest mountain in the Americas and the southern hemisphere, as well as the highest peak outside the Himalayan mountain system. We are talking of the Aconcagua which at the top is 6962 meters above sea level. In short, Mendoza truly offers everything.
BODEGAS, ASADO AND EMPANADAS
It's no coincidence that some of the best wineries in the world are located in Mendoza, the terroir and climatic conditions make it the ideal place for viticulture. Zuccardi, Catena, Norton, Alamos, Rutini and more recently Mascota, Enemigo Wines, Matervini are wineries that are offering a very high quality of wines and, some of them, a unique experience for those who, in Mendoza, want to experience the winery firsthand.
The level of Argentinian winemakers is growing year by year and many of them are now required for projects in other countries as well, including Italy and France. The same has happened in the last twenty years, and still happens today, in the opposite sense, oenologists of the caliber of the French Michel Rolland, the Italian Roberto Cipresso and the British Hugh Ryman have taken projects in Argentina by the hand, helping to develop quality and wine production.
The Don Bosco School of Enology located in Maipu, Mendoza, is now recognized worldwide and from here came people of the caliber of Mariano di Paola (Rutini / La Rural), David Bonomi (Argentine oenologist of the year 2020, Norton / Per Se), Lucia Vaiaretti (Alamos Wine) and Marcelo Pelleriti (Monteviejo / Ojo de Agua), the wine rock star and one of only three Argentine winemakers to receive a perfect score from Robert Parker, for his Chateau La Violette 2010, a Merlot made in Pomerol, France, just to name a few.
Some wineries offer the opportunity to spend a whole day between rides at the foot of the Andes and breathtaking landscapes before ending the day enjoying homemade empanadas and abundant grilled meat, the famous Argentinian Asado. Without a doubt, the gastronomic experience in the Casa del Visitante -Familia Zuccardi is among the most popular in the Maipù area together with that of Casa Vigil - El Enemigo, while in the Luján de Cuyo area a lunch at the Matervini winery is not to be missed.
Very tasty are also the Empanadas that some restaurants present, as the Mendozean tradition of the Empanadas has a long dating and exist in different variants. One we would like to recommend is the typical Empanada of Valle de Uco that Victoria prepares at the Monteviejo winery, ideal to combine with different wines curated by Marcelo Pelleriti. Those of Casa Vigil, paired with a glass of Gran Enemigo, are also among the best in the province in our opinion.
Some agencies also offer the possibility to spend a day like a true Argentine "gaucho". This experience will undoubtedly remain etched in your hearts as after a day spent riding and tasting wines, you can enjoy one of the famous "Asado a la Cruz" so typical of the gauchos and why not, hear some folk music while heating yourself with the fading embers.
In short, Mendoza has so much to offer and if at the end of a holiday, after seeing incredible landscapes, living adventures in the nature, taste the excellent gastronomy also made up of simple dishes such as empanadas and asado, tasting wines you will forever remember (and why not back take home) they will ask you to describe this Argentine province, we are sure that you too will use the word "Magnificent".