K: We’re back from Argentina and so excited to start diving into the details of our trip! I came in with few expectations, simply because Brandon took the reins on planning this vacation. We went for his 30th birthday and experienced three different regions of the country. I wanted to share Mendoza first because there’s so much information about the wonderful wines and vineyards and I needed to get it all written down before I forget!
The City Of Mendoza: Getting There & Where To Stay
You can fly into the Mendoza airport and be downtown in approximately ten minutes. It was really easy for us to get there and we had lots of options of where to stay. We chose Hotel Huentala which is downtown near the city center and close proximity to tons of shops and restaurants. Everything is extremely walkable; we spent an entire morning getting lost in the streets and admiring the city.
Mendoza: What To Do & Where To Eat
Obviously, the big thing to do is visit a winery, but the wineries are all outside of the city limits in three different regions. We had plans to explore the actual city one day, and then drive out to the wineries on our second day. If you’re spending time in the city like we were, Brandon and I highly recommend the following activities and restaurants:
Plaza Independencia: A huge park area (where most of these photos were taken). They’ve got vendors and beautiful scenery for you to stroll through leisurely.
Naoki Wine Garden: Oh my word! This was the most romantic, cutest little spot. We stumbled in accidentally and found that the back area was this hidden, secret garden oasis. The wines were fabulous and it is the perfect place for an afternoon glass of wine (or allow yourself to drift into the evening like we did). We ended up staying for tapas which were equally as delicious.
Maria Antonieta: Fantastic food! This was such a nice change from the traditional Argentinian meal. Fresh vegetables, homemade pasta, bread, and unique dishes made this place worth the visit. Plus, the atmosphere is perfect and so quaint.
Things To Keep In Mind:
After visiting, there are a few things that I’d recommend to ensure a well planned and successful trip:
- Pack comfortable shoes. You’ll probably end up walking a ton like we did. I am so glad that I chose practical shoes for this whole trip!
- It is HOT. Mendoza is extremely warm most of the year. We went during the beginning of their “fall” season and by midday, it was 84 degrees. Pack accordingly and bring sunscreen!
- There are dogs everywhere. For some reason, stray dogs are on every corner in Mendoza! They are all very friendly and don’t cause any trouble, but it might be nice to know if you’re traveling with kids.
- Remises and cabs are safe. We weren’t sure about this in the beginning, but Remises (very similar to Uber) and the taxis are perfectly fine. Be smart and make sure that you’re traveling with someone or with a group, but we didn’t run into any trouble getting around town.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Like any city, it’s important to be aware of everything happening around you. Bring a crossbody bag, don’t walk alone, and if an area feels shady, get out. We trusted our gut with this and made sure that we walked in well-lit areas at night. Overall, I felt completely fine in this city but I think it’s worth mentioning that anything can happen anywhere!
Mendoza Vineyards Guide
We booked our vineyard day with Charlie, Trout & Wine. Everything was pre-booked and we selected the vineyard tour of Uco Valley. There are two other regions (called Maipu and Cuyo), but we opted for Uco because I’d researched it the most and heard that it had the best views and best wines overall. If you’re staying longer than two days, definitely book tours for the other regions!
Our three Mendoza vineyards were Passionate Wines, Domaine Bousquet, and La Azul.
Passionate Wines: The best way to describe this place is that it’s very hippie and even a little bohemian. The guys are all young and excited about wine! The inside of the wine building is covered in street art and feels very hip with music playing and the employees are all casually dressed in shorts and sandals. We were seated at an outdoor table underneath a giant tree in the shade for the tasting. Our guide poured us eight different wines (yes, eight!!) and gave us a little background on each one. As far as the wine goes, I really loved about four of the eight. Some were very unique and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted! Definitely worth the visit overall. It felt intimate and private and we easily got to know the guide through our time there.
Domaine Bousquet: This one was definitely the prettiest of the vineyards. Sprawling vines stretch in every direction as you drive in the long driveway. Olive trees frame the front of the building and roses bloom near the vines. Bousquet is one of the largest producers of organic wine and I thought they had some delicious reds! We brought a bottle home from here that ended up being just $13 American dollars. Talk about a steal! The tasting was elegant and wonderful and we got a great tour of the facility beforehand too.
La Azul: Whatever you do, EAT AT LA AZUL. By far, this was the best meal we had during our entire trip. It was a five course lunch (last stop so we were plenty hungry by then), and they served four different wines with the courses, paired perfectly. Although this place looks deceiving and a little run down on the outside, it is absolutely incredible. It is traditional Argentinian food, huge portions, but so flavorful. We had empanadas, humita, pork, dulce de leche creme brûlée, and some fantastic wines. This was our favorite part of the day!
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’re planning a trip to the Mendoza region, please feel free to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need any more recommendations or have specific questions.
PS: If you like this trip guide, be sure to check out our guide to Santa Fe from Spring Break 2018!