ISSN 1853-9610

MENDOZA’S FREE MAGAZINE

Off
The
Rails

Nº72 APR - MAY 2015

FR
EE

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contents
News Republic
Harsh Harvest........................................................... 7
Beat the Recession
– Drink Vino Turista.............................................. 7
Food Intolerance...................................................... 7
Tunnel Vision............................................................ 7
Fernet Challenge
Delicious disco drink or disgusting
liquid earwax?........................................................... 8
Fever Pitch
The football hardcore
for a real party......................................................... 10
Mind the gap
The Transandine Railway.....................................12
Coast to coast
A riveting account of the Buenos Aires
to Mendoza railway............................................... 16

Wishlist
Ladies favourites at the Argentina
Wine Awards...................................................................... 18
The Ice pack
Mendoza’s unsung heros – the anti-hail squad. 19
A piece of forgotten history
San Roque. Forgotten town................................ 22
Turning Japanese
The raw truth on the sushi craze..................... 24
Out & Abbout
Dinning out.............................................................. 26
Winery Guide.......................................................... 28
Bars.............................................................................. 31
Maps & More
Useful information................................................ 33
Maps of Maipú and Chacras de Coria............. 33
Map of Mendoza City Center............................ 34

CREDITS
Issue Apr - May 2015 | ISSN 1853-9610 - 10,000
Copies. Published by Seven Colors S.A.
Address: Espejo 266, Planta baja. Departamento 3.
Mendoza, Argentina - Tel. +54 (261) 425-5613
E-mail: mariana@wine-republic.com
Editor: Charlie O’Malley
Wine Editor: Amanda Barnes
Publicity and Publisher: Mariana Gómez Rus:
publicidad@wine-republic.com,
mariana@wine-republic.com
Design: Gimena Federici - Jona Conti.
jona@circlan.com. Circlan.com.
Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION
Contributing Authors: Lauren Sanne - Dan Bunton Charley Foley - Ben Shirley - Matt Chesterton.
Illustrations: Donough O’Malley,
www.pencilrobot.net
Opinions expressed in this magazine are not
necessarily the editorial opinions of Wine Republic.
www.wine-republic.com

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NEWS REPUBLIC
Harsh Harvest

Food Intolerance

414 wineries have registered to harvest this year. That’s
a whopping 55 percent drop compared to 2014 when 918
wineries produced wine. Such sobering numbers indicate
a crisis is underway and confirm the decade long Malbec
boom is most certainly over. Exports are down 17 percent
and domestic consumption has also dropped. The reasons are
numerous but most producers lay the blame at an inflated
currency and lack of competitiveness in an industry that is
all about the bottom line. That $10 US dollar of Malbec just
doesn´t give so much bang for buck as it used to as it is of lower
quality because of higher costs. It is also time the industry
began to look at other varetals and wine types as it has put too
many grapes in the Malbec basket. One possibility is Argentine
sparkling, a hidden gem that could be the new Prosecco.

Recently a winery restaurant had an unusual request. A
couple booked a table but said they couldn´t eat anything. All
they could eat was nothing. They were gluten free vegans
with fructose intolerance and could not countenance lactose,
histamines, yeast or alcohol. Seafood ingestion meant instant
death and the vitamin C in vegetables would easily cause
a seizure. Fruit was also a no go as the phytochemicals they
contain were liable to cause them brain tumours. So the chef
scratched his head and set to work cooking nothing. He spent
the morning sweating over the hob. He grilled nothing. He
boiled nothing. He steamed nothing. He took nothing and put
it in the mud oven, glazing it with nothing and cut it into neat
slices to serve with nothing. The garnish was nothing.
Lunch time came and the couple did not show. It came to nothing.

Tunnel Vision
Argentine and Chilean immigration services have recently
announced the introduction of a new electronic system for
crossing the border from Mendoza to Santiago. Instead of
queuing to fill in lengthy immigration slips on both sides, each
passenger will now get a voucher that is scanned rapidly. How
well it works, time will tell but any sort of improvement is a
good thing as this particular border crossing is one of the worst
experiences visitors have in the region. Mile long queues, snaillike attendance and freezing weather has caused misery for
thousands over the years. As recently as Carnival weekend,
people were waiting 8 hours to make the crossing, putting a
sour start or end to everybody’s holidays.

Beat the Recession –
Drink Vino Turista
You know you live in an enlightened country when the
government subsidises your drinking. Vino Turista is a
scheme by the local wine board, the INV, to help pennypinched wineries and wine lovers alike. Every restaurant
and bar in Mendoza must stock certain labels and sell at a set
price – currently a very reasonable 35 pesos. One restaurant
was honest enough to state on its menu that it did not
recommend this wine. A journalist posted this on Twitter
with a negative remark and a storm in a wine glass ensued.
Such high controversy egged this writer to go forth and drink
Vino Turista in every establishment he could – for purely
investigative reasons. The result was pleasantly surprising.
Whilst none of the wines would knock your socks off, they
were very drinkable. The only thing off putting is the name.
Tourist Wine sounds like the locals know something we don’t.
I suggest they change the name to Super-Friendly-Sit-Downand-Have-a Drink-Welcome-to-Mendoza-wine.
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The Fernet
Challenge
Delicious
disco drink
or disgusting
liquid earwax?
Lauren Sanne
tests the
Argentine
fascination
with Fernet
Branca
They drink it in bucketfuls with lashings of Coca Cola
(it must be Coca Cola) and mountains of ice. Stand in
any late night bar or disco and you´ll see the locals
indulging in a dark drink that looks like a flat Guinness.
Fernet is the drink of choice for all young fun loving
Argentines, which is strange considering this Italian
herbal type drink was originally meant to be a civilized
digestive liquor to sip in your slippers after a large meal
and help your food settle.
Fernet is a profound part of Argentine culture and a
huge boost to Coca-Cola sales, making Argentines the
biggest consumers of that soda brand in the World.
Mexico and Chile are distant runner ups. Fernet on the
other hand was never patented by its Italian inventors
so there are now multiple brands with huge differences
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in price. One can imagine that locals are very
particular about how they drink their fernet and what
specific fernet they drink. The hands-down favorite
type of the liqour is the original - Branca. Everyone
you ask on the street will agree that Branca is as good
as it gets when it comes to the prized beverage. And
most seasoned drinkers will claim that they can tell
the difference between the brands. The crew at Wine
Republic decided to put this claim to the test with The
Fernet Challenge.
We took to the street to find out the truth - is there
really a difference in the taste between different
types of fernet? Aristedes Villanueva is a happening
bar street in Mendoza with a lively crowd, even on a
Thursday. We walked up and down and challenged
men, women, Argentines and foreigners to decipher
the difference between three types of fernet with
coke. The offer of free fernet caused a stampede and
the Wine Republic trio of girls found themselves with
some volunteer bodyguards who seemed happy with
the occasional shot of the black stuff.
In the end, the Argentines could tell the difference
between their top fernet brand, Branca and the
competitors. Argentine females did slightly better
than males, and foreign females could not decipher the
dirt-like flavors at all. Argentines in general lived up to
their promise that there is one unmistakeable superior
fernet, Branca; and when put to the test, they stay loyal
to their brand. Cheers to that.

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FEVER PITCH
The River – Boca derby is a must see for many tourists. I
chose something more downmarket; Platense - La Ferrere,
the third division final at Platense’s home ground. I didn’t
exactly pick it; I arrived to visit my mate here in Buenos
Aires and he immediately sought out another ticket and
informed me that in the superstitious world of football
I was a good omen - especially as I’d arrived wearing
brown: Platense colours. I find him jogging around the
furniture in his small flat. We meet his friends in a cafe
and all around me fingers are drumming on knees, knees
are wobbling nervously, people appear to be in physical
pain from the tension.
It turns out that in Platense’s 100 year history they
started, and remained, in the first division until in 1999
they fell into the second against River. Then, in 2002,
Cordoba knocked them into the third. If Platense win
today they move back up to the second division. They’ve
been trying for four years.

Forget River – Boca,
Dan Bunton joins
the football
hardcore for a
real party.

Back at the cafe, the opposition fans pass by in a coach,
suddenly the place explodes; everyone’s up and banging
on the side of the bus and shouting or ‘singing’: “Dale
Calamar!, Dale, Dale Calamar!”. I find out that the calamar
(squid) mascot comes from a likeness the team has with
squids-in-their-own-ink when it rains at the home
ground. The grass makes way to the clay underneath and
the team become coloured in their own colours. Finally
we form a queue at the stadium held back by the ‘tortugas
ninjas’ (riot police) - the tension is a tastable sensation.

“People appear to be in physical pain
from the tension”
We take up positions behind the goal, long banners are
unfurled and spread across the crowd, flags are flying
and the fans are a homogenous one-ness, like a giant
raucous entity.
Kick-off. The match seems to have little impact on the
fans, you can barely see it from under all the flags,
armpits and elbows. The fans keep up a continuous
‘song’ amazingly to the accompaniment of a four piece
brass band and a drummer in the middle of all this
surging chaos. Suddenly Platense score and the entire
crowd – the raucous entity - squashes itself into a two
foot space by the fence. It’s utter mayhem. This goal leads
to an even more intense continued chant and song until
La Ferrere score and suddenly it’s very quiet at our end
and the other end explodes.
Shortly into the second half Platense score their second
and we’re stage diving off the top steps and the crowd
starts climbing the fence - seven meters vertical with
razor wire half way up and a horizontal section of barbed
wire at the top; child’s play.

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The second half passes in a burr of noise and surging bodies
and then the whistle goes and the place goes absolutely
bazerk. The riot squad move in on the other side of the
fence. It looks like it’s going to come down under the weight
of bodies. There’s a breach and the pitch is over run and
the manager is being whirled around in the air, people are
lying in prostrate star shapes on the pitch. Grown men are
crying. The team’s now in it’s underwear and climbing all
over the goal posts - must be thirty on the cross bar. The net
is torn down and dissected and dissappears into a thousand
pockets. The pitch turns into a jumping up and down
festival; pure jubilation - the opposing fans have long since
been shuffled quickly out the back.

“the manager is being whirled
around in the air”
Eventually the pitch simply can’t contain all this
excitement and the crowd moves out to the streets. The
fans have taken over a bridge across a fourteen lane
highway. It’s covered in flags and banners and human
beings all dressed in brown singing “Dale Marrón!” and
“Dale, dale campeón!”. A breakaway mob has stopped the
traffic. It tails back for miles amongst multicoloured smoke
bombs. The entire crowd, about fifteen thousand marches
home indifferent to traffic. At the stadium clubhouse the
‘dancing’ continues. Great fat tattooed fans swinging their
shirts whilst kids wave flags. Dogs are forced to dance on
their back legs. Little two year old Mikayla’s got pizza in
her hair. Kids belt plastic bottles, and men ‘drum’ on tables
with glass bottles. Well, at least those tables that aren’t
being danced upon. It’s very much a family affair, but like
nothing I ever did with my family.
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MIND
THE
GAP

Possibly the most astonishing train journey in the world
would have been the crossing from Buenos Aires to
Valparaiso in Chile. The landscape is spectacular, the rolling
pampas land turning into the lush verdure of Mendoza;
where the colossal Andes rise up next to the fields of vines
like a slumbering giant.
The greatest of shames then that this journey is no longer.
In 1984, after a long period of difficult relations between
Argentina and Chile, the Transandine Railway closed. It
had begun in 1887, with Juan and Mateo Clark, British
brothers from Chile setting to work on a connection over
the perilous Andes. The decision had been reached that
a railway from the Atlantic coast, 888 miles to the Pacific
would be beneficial both for the transport of freight, yet
also to allow for a South American passage that did not
involve the Polar waters of the south.

“across mountains that turned into graveyards”
The passage over the Andes; until the advent of rail, had
been limited to mule and cart, which was both arduous and
dangerous. Nathaniel Bishop in his book ‘The Pampas and
the Andes: A thousand miles across South America’ writes
about the journey, “A youth not long since came from Chile
to visit a relative on the Argentine side...He had with him
experienced guides, and a favorite mule...On the Cumbre
pass, at an elevation of twelve thousand feet, a temporal
struck the party, and one by one the mules became buried
in the snow...The boy never lived to leave the valley, there
he lies, --pointing to the cross” Many such stories came
from these journeys across mountains that turned into
graveyards.
However, not until 1910 did the rail link open, following
the old mule track through the Uspallata Pass and the
Cacheuta Springs (still in existence today) before reaching
its loftiest height of 3,176 meters at Los Caracoles. Many
of the sections were covered by snow sheds or tunnels; as
protection from the avalanches. The most famous tunnel is
the Cumbre, hewn out of the cloud-wreathed mountains.
This tunnel was used for road vehicles in the late 1970’s,
but the tunnel was so narrow that two-way traffic was
impossible and restrictions were put in place.

Charlie Foley
looks at one of
South America’s
most impressive
engineering projects
- the Transandine
Railway.
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For 67 years the Transandine railway locomotives
merrily chugged across the dizzy peaks; the passengers
in the comfort of the buffet carriages, as described by
Koebel in `Modern Argentina´, “One has gazed on the
tormented river, over five or six courses of a meal, and has
peered downwards into the yawning gorges through the
comfortable vapour of coffee steam and cigar smoke”
At its height in 1920 there was 47,000 kilometres of
track transporting 45.5 million tonnes of cargo; all on the
ingenious rack and pinion system (huge pins which allowed
trains with a high gear to engage for maximum grip).

“47,000 kilometres of track transporting 45.5
million tonnes of cargo”
The building of the Transandine railway had another
benefit; the birth of skiing in the Andes. The British and
Dutch engineers who surveyed the route over the Andes

had used skis to get about. When the train first began in
1910, it was being used as a sort of ski-lift, allowing people
to ski between Caracoles and Juncal.
Along the journey across the mountains the passengers
would have noticed a statue of Christ the Redeemer with
the enscription ‘Sooner shall these mountains crumble into
dust than the people of Argentina and Chile break the peace
which they have sworn to maintain at the feet of Christ the
Redeemer’. However in 1977 relations between the two
countries did collapse, and the Transandine railway went
with it. Problems had been building up since 1948 when
the Argentine government privatised the rail network and
the industry was weakened by competitive bidding. This
bidding meant that the railways became freight and not
customer orientated but with cheap competition from road
transport and the last of the customers evading fares; the
railway was left on its knees.
The finishing blow was the tensions between Argentina
and Chile over the Patagonian borders, and the Transandine
railway was suspended. The last locomotive to steam over
the snow-capped peaks was in 1984.
There have been many promises of investment and that
the revival of the railway network is forth-coming; but as
yet the tracks, snowsheds and tunnels are passengers to noone, save the Andean condors.

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COAST
TO COAST

In the 1920s, visitors from Buenos
Aires to Mendoza were always
surprised at how much better the wine
tasted in this western province than it
did back home in the Capital. Like all
wine regions, you could put it down to
the “Chianti effect”, where the alluring
effect of mountains and vineyards
conspired to enchant the visitor and
put a spell on their palate. However the
real reason is much more mischevious.
The wine was railed in huge tanks
across the pampas – there then existed
a ridiculous law that declared the wine
could only be bottled in Buenos Aires.
At each stop across the vast plains the
locals would help themselves to some
free vino, covering up their felony
with a splash of wáter.
It is hard to exaggerate the importance
of the railway coming to Mendoza,
especially for the wine industry.
Just like you can say devaluation
kickstarted the recent wine boom
in 2002, the steam train opened up a
huge market of thirsty Mediterranean
immigrants in BA. Suddenly wineries
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Charlie O’Malley gives
a riveting account of
the Buenos Aires to
Mendoza railway.

could shift their wine in one day
to the capital and they were met
with open arms and demijohns. The
railway became that last important
link between the vineyard and the
consumer and some wineries such as
Trapiche even had their own railway
platforms constructed within the
winery. Giol, the biggest winery in the
World at the time, constructed a 2km
pipeline that carried the wine directly
to the railway station in Maipu.
The Buenos Aires – Pacific Railway
Company was the original foreign
investor. Registered in London in
1882, it instigated a building frenzy
that transformed the landscape of
Argentina. 47,000 kilometers of
track were laid down across the
great plains and over the Andes.
Extravagant Victorian style railway
stations were built in the most
unlikely places with every brick,
tile and signal box imported from
England. The dream was to connect
Valparaiso in Chile to Buenos Aires
and the first Pacific train rolled into

town in 1910. The sprawling network
connected Santa fe, Cordoba, San Juan
and San Luis and was a boon to regional
industries, especially agriculture.
Many of the bridges that connected
the towns were designed by one
Edward Norton, a 24-year old engineer
from England. He soon gave up rivets
for grapes and started one of the first
wineries in Lujan de Cuyo. Norton
is now one of the big ten wineries in
Argentina. Norton died in 1944, just
as the railway craze was dying in
Argentina. With time, trains would be
abandoned for trucks and cars and the
romance of the railway became as old
fashioned as sepia photographs. World
War II broke the Britsh financially
and they sold up to Peron in 1949 who
nationalised the entire grid, renaming
the Pacific Line the very imaginative
San Martin line. Years of steady decline
set in until Carlos Menem finally bit
the bullet in 1990 and closed it down.
The ralway company’s office in BA is
now a well known shopping center –
Galerias Pacifico.

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WISHLIST
Ladies favourites at the
Argentina Wine Awards.
In February we saw the latest edition of the
Argentina Wine Awards.
With a panel of female wine experts this
year, over 650 wines were tasted and judged
in a week of blind tasting that saw the likes
of Jancis Robinson MW, Christy Canterbury
MW and Susan Kostrwzera come together
as part of the esteemed judging panel.
4 regional trophies, 14 trophies, 19 gold
medals, 193 silver medals and 369 bronze
medals were dished out. Amanda Barnes
picks a handful of the trophy winners for
this edition’s Wishlist.

Finca Decero, Petit Verdot
Long established as one of the most
interesting oddball varieties for Mendoza, it was a huge
triumph to see Finca Decero’s Petit Verdot take home
the top prize of the night as Mendoza’s Regional Trophy
winner. Smokey, meaty and exquisitely complex, Petit
Verdot is an unusual single variety and Decero do it to
great a plomb with this precise wine that has floral notes
as well as wild dark forest fruit.

Finca Sophenia, Sythesis The Blend
Red blends was a category that the judges were
particularly enthusiastic about, talking of the great
future Argentina can have in blends - and this was the
darling of the evening. A rich blend of Malbec, Cabernet
Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine comes from one of
the most lauded new regions in Argentina - the high
altitude vineyards of Gualtallary. Mineral, spicy and
hinged with dark fruit, this requires some time and a
good conversation to linger over.

Cadus Single Vineyard, Bonarda
Bonarda is a grape that is quite uniquely Argentine. A
variety that you shouldn’t miss during your time here
in Mendoza, and one that you should take home for
when you miss it there. Cadus from Nieto Senetiner
has been at the top of its category for many years, and
the judges loved it this year giving it the Trophy for
best Bonarda. A juicy, jammy and rich wine, Bonarda is
often an instant favourite.

Salentein Single Vineyard, Chardonnay
Salentein took home a couple trophies on the awards
night, and this was deservedly one of them. With
Jose Galate at the helmof this big ship in Tupungato,
Salentein has been producing some precise and
accomplished wines over the last few years becoming
more focused in the top lines on vineyard selection.
The single vineyard is a result of this: an aromatic but
refined Chardonnay showcasing the potential of the
Uco Valley for quality whites.

Zuccardi Vista Flores Alluvional, Malbec
The Zuccardi tribe have been raising the bar over the last
decade with their increasingly precise and concept-driven
wines at the top end of their production line. Alluvional
is a superb example of their dedicated research in soil
studies and investment in the new Uco Valley winery.
This Malbec is exemplary for its fresh fruit notes, violet
aromas, elegant balance and length. There is much more
to come from this family company as they open their
new showcase winery in the Uco Valley, and Alluvional
shows great promise for the future.
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18

THE
ICE
PACK
Aeroplanes here
are not just used
for carrying
passengers but
play an important
role fighting
Mendoza’s main
climactic foe –
the dreaded hail.
Charlie O`Malley
takes a look
at Mendoza’s
unsung heros
– the anti-hail
squad.

On February 15th 2012, the sky
above Lujan de Cuyo darkened.
Argentina´s premier wine growing
region and home to its most
prestigious wineries was about to
experience Mendoza´s version of
the locust plague. People watched
black clouds roll in from the Andes
and suddenly heard the harsh rattle
of hail on car bonnets and roof tiles.
Ice stones the size of golf balls rained
down in a 25 minute onslaught.
The storm cut a destructive path
through lush vineyards about to be
harvested. Leaves were mercilessly
shredded from the vine and grapes
pounded to a messy purple pulp.
In less than a half an hour, 4000
hectares were destroyed, 50 houses
damaged, 400 people evacuated
and 2 people killed, one of them
a winemaker. The aftermath was
one metre high packed ice on
the ground causing flooding and
general mayhem. Now who says
winemaking is a gentle art?

“Every year Argentina loses
10% of its crop to King Hail”
Mendoza´s climate is deceptively
benign for growing grapes. Constant
sunshine, little rain, healthy altitudes
and an abundance of melted snow
from the Andes are a winemaker’s
wet dream. However that same
dream turns into a nightmare
when those same mountains help
form a unique cloud system that
regularly unleashes large rocks
of ice over all and sundry. The
problem is compounded by the fact
that it usually happens just before
harvest time. Southern Mendoza
is particularly susceptible and in
San Rafael you`ll fine frequent car
shelters to take refuge in.
Every year Argentina loses 10% of
its crop to King Hail. The provincial
government and the wineries spend
millions protecting the vineyards with
limited success. Net protection is the

19

obvious answer but it is prohibitively
expensive. $3000 US per hectare
means even the richest wineries
can only afford to cover a certain
percentage of each crop. Some don´t
bother at all and leave it to fate. Hail
is one of the reasons why Mendoza
produces so little single vineyard
wines. It is best to spread your bets
and source your grapes from different
vineyards dotted all over the province,
hoping one at least will be untouched
by the dreaded hail.

“Russian made surface-to-air
missiles were once shot into any
threatening looking clouds”
As an indication of the problem´s
seriousness and perhaps the province´s
desperation, Russian made surface-toair missiles were once shot into any
threatening looking clouds. This was
common practice for 18 years before it
was decided to refine the system and
carry the rockets by plane.
An hour outside Mendoza is an antihail operations centre. It consists of
two airstrips, a radar station and a

20

fleet of four Piper Cheyenne airplanes.
There, Jorge Silva and his team of
pilots are on 24-hour alert for hail
storms. Meteorologists scan a large
computerised map of Mendoza. Cloud
formations dot the screen, colour coded
from green to blue. Grey means its time
to scramble and there`s no time to lose.
Pilots attack in pairs, one at the base
of the clouds and one on top. They
launch flares of silver iodide into the
cloud in the hope of reducing the hail
to raindrops or snowflakes. Sometimes
it works and sometimes not. (Scientists
disagree on its affectiveness, often
citing the lack of a serious study to
analyse the phenomenon. Once an
American team of scientists went up
in a Lear jet. Their instruments got

destroyed before they could make any indepth conclusions).

It´s a thankless task,” explains Silva,
“If hail falls its your fault. If hail
doesn´t fall its the same.”
He reckons his team prevent 30% of
storms. There is no denying the systems
dangers. The planes get knocked around
violently and in 2005 a pilot and his copilot went down battling a storm. Mostly
people are unaware of these unsung
heroes and there daily struggle with hail.
Yet its not hard to imagine a Hollywood
script with Antonio Banderas in pilot
jacket and billowing scarf, battling the
elements with a glass of Malbec at hand
and Penelope Cruz pouring.

21

A PIECE OF
FORGOTTEN
HISTORY
The old Buenos Aires railway stretches east from
Mendoza through forgotten towns and villages.
Ben Shirley lives in one such place – San Roque.
San Róque is forgotten in time and
untapped by tourism. It is sat on the
eastern edge of the department of Maipú
on the bank of the River Mendoza.
A microcosm of the conservative
traditional province of Mendoza, this
the most conservative and traditional
of villages. As Mendoza is distant from
the roaring metropolis of Buenos Aires
in the far west of Argentina, so is San
Róque, heading back east away from
the city, isolated from the roaring
metropolis of Mendoza. Historically
it was the last outpost before crossing
the river and setting off back across the
country. It is deeply set in rural society
simply saturated in stories from the
past. It is also, of course, a hub of wine
production, with wineries ranging from
the world renowned Zuccardi winery
and vineyards, to small family run
organic wineries and olive oil factories.
The key to its history is its location.
Due east of Mendoza, the village’s
original plaza with historic church
are on the Carril Viejo Antiguo, built
on the original river pass, where
geographically it was the easiest place
to cross. Now the river is a mere 3 or 4
meters wide at this point, but centuries
and millennia ago it would have been
300 or even 400 meters. The Carril Viejo
was the original road from Buenos Aires
to Mendoza, and was built on the preexisting indigenous path used by the
gauchos and before them the Huarpe
and Mapuche Indians. And before them
the animals and even the dinosaurs.
There are many sacred historical
22

footprints in this forgotten little corner
of the world. The archeological evidence
supports this. In the nearby village of
Barrancas there are the remains of an
indigenous habitat with a complete set
of intact skeletons, and countess other
remains being discovered al the time.
Near total disregard for such things
by present day Argentinians means
that many potential discoveries have
been lost, however the archeological
and educational interests are being
made clearer all the time and now the
area has been recognized or what ii is
and there has been recognized as an
Archeological site of interest by the
local government who has ensured
essential protection and funding for
ongoing investigation. The map below
shows the area of archeological interest.
Unrelated to this history but also
of interest is that this area is on a
geographical fault line, the Barrancas
Fault Line, and has been the epicenter
of many earth tremors over the ages.
After the devastating earthquake of
1861 which claimed between 4000 and
6000 lives (depending on whose history
you read!), the geography of the area
was significantly changed, redirecting
the river and undoubted erasing many
archeological remains. In November
1936 and earthquake of 6 on the Richter
scale had its epicenter in Barrancas,
which caused no death or injury, and
again in 1985 there was another killing
6 injuring 238 people, and destroying
12,500 homes, according to the figures
provided by Los Andes newspaper.

Another reaching 5 on the Richter scale
hit in 2006 and it remains to this day
an area of frequent seismic activity, the
last tremor being in Jun 2012 which
reached 5.4 Richters.

It is a pleasure to see the place as well
a be shown around on a private tour
that any visitors are enthusiastically
given. If you are in luck you can be
given a taste of that year’s the freshly
made product, with the guide dipping a
wineglass into the top of the tank of the
wine not yet on the market. A special
treat perhaps unheard-of in most of the
wine producing world. The 2nd winery
is more exclusive still. Ran by the family
owners the wine is 100% organic and
made in such modest quantities that
there are no signs outside. Clients are the
local friends and friends of friends and
lucky few who have found out about
the place. As you must take your empty
glass beer bottle to buy beer in kiosks
and shops, so clients turn up with their
empty damajuanas (5 lltre flagons), to
have them filled up as they wait outside
of turn car around. The other clients
of the bodega are a certain number of
lucky, and presumably wealthy, private
medical patients from Mendoza city
center, whose doctors prescribe the
wine for its medicinal benefits.

So at this river crossing point a
community emerged. It was known
as La Riojita before the name was
changed to San Roque, certainly due
to its first inhabitants being from La
Rioja province. These people made
their living helping people and their
horses and wagons cross the river,
there being no bridge.
This was the key to the emergence
of the village and to the mentality
of the people. To this day there is a
proud exclusivity present among
the inhabitants, which is reflected
in the prices of some of the goods
sold there – among the highest in
Mendoza and perhaps the country for
some products. It is the furthest point
eastwards before crossing the river, so
the highest prices can be justified by
the tradesmen. (At least traditionally
this was the argument, and the idea has
never gone away.) This was legalized
extortion albeit in a very mild form.
There was undoubtedly an illegal side
to this, with tradesmen and travelers
undoubtedly held-up and menaced,
perhaps robbed or worse, all evening
and night before being to cross the river
the next morning. This is a tradition
which has remained in one way or
another since the infamous “viveza
criolla” or creole wiliness would have
been an essential part of making a
living for past generations. The present
day inhabitants have this in their blood
perhaps in even higher concentrations
than the average average Mendocinian.
The key piece of forgotten history, and
the true claim to fame for this sleepy
little settlement, is that in that on 7th
September 1814 General San Martin,
The Liberator of South America (a title
shared with Bolivar in the North), The
Father of the Argentinian Fatherland,
along with his Army of The Andes,
crossed the river at this precise point
on his journey from Buenos Aires to
Mendoza, before crossing the Andes and
defeating the last of those Imperialists
fighting for the Spanish Crown.
Exaggeratedly exulted across the
whole country, San Martin commands
patriotic fevour and a near monopoly
on names of main roads, schools, and
plazas. In San Róque there is not even a

whisper of his passing and this famous
event. In the plaza through which the
Generalissimo and his army marched,
infantry soaked up to their necks from
the recent river crossing, there is no
homage; not even a small plaque of
remembrance. They stayed overnight
in a winery (still operational today)*
further west in the hamlet of Santa
Blanca, where there is a rusty old sign
noting the place of as a point of interest
on the route San Martin. San Róque
and their inhabitants, however, are
mute. Perhaps resentful of the upstarts
from elsewhere coming though
without needing help the crossing and
paying their dues for using the pass.
The liberators of South America were
Invaders who didn’t pay the river tax,
and therefore ignored and forgotten
in this proud and peaceful place.
As the village flourished there was of
course other ways employed to pursue
a living, and being in Mendoza this
means principally wine production
and olive oil making as well as the
planting of crops. San Róque is the
location for many small wineries. On
the original village square where the
church is there are 2 wineries. The
1st is a delightful small scale familyrun establishment, Mi Terruño, who’s
previous owners own a ceramic factory,
and have decorated the place with
millions of small multicoloured tiles.

It is a place steeped in history, living in
a rural world privileged to be distinct
from the chaotic modern world, yet
very much still a part of it. Let us hope
it will not be long before all come to
find out for themselves what this idyllic
island of tradition can offer to them.
The more footprints the better.
23

TURNING
JAPANESE
Something fishy is happening
in the restaurants of this nation.
Matt Chesterton gives the raw
truth on the sushi craze.

Rapacious consumers of flesh and
fowl, Argentines are surprisingly
restrained when it comes to fish. This
strikes most visitors as odd. With
3,100 miles of coastline and a culture
rooted in Mediterranean habits, you’d
expect the catch of the day to figure
strongly on restaurant menus. But in
another way it makes perfect sense.
Immigrants who made it across the
Atlantic in the 1890s could be forgiven
for looking back at the ocean and
thinking, ‘You’ll never get me on one
of those again.’
So cattle it was and cattle it has largely
remained. The best beef in the world,
but a breakfast, lunch and supper
staple nonetheless. A varied diet has
traditionally meant eating different
parts of the cow at different times of the
day. There may have been an occasion
when an Argentine male has looked at
his plate, sighed, and muttered through
his teeth, ‘Christ, not bloody sirloin
again,’; but it’s not on record.
Times, however (and I’m sure you saw
this coming), are changing. Young,
fashionable, globetrotting porteños,
always keen to be individualistic so
long as they can do it en masse, have,
in recent years, made a conscious
effort to challenge their palates.
Chinese, Armenian, Scandinavian,
even English restaurants have
sprung up all over Buenos Aires, their
24

success underwritten not so much by
what they serve but by what they
don’t. An eaterie that doesn’t have
grilled intestines on the menu is, in
the eyes of the BA fast set, doing at
least something right.
In the vanguard of the anti-tripe
movement are BA’s many sushi
restaurants. This sudden switch
from overcooked meat to uncooked
fish seems startling, but is consistent
with the general Argentine suspicion
of incremental change. While it took
the English 500 years and a number
of bloody wars to realise that garlic
could be safely eaten by Protestants,
porteños have gone wasabi virturally
overnight. (There could be some kind
of cultural quid pro quo at work here,
seeing how passionately the Japanese
have embraced tango.)
The phenomenon is only partially
represented by sushi restaurants per
se. In addition, there are sushi stalls
in most major supermarkets, sushi
TV shows, sushi delivery companies,
sushi schools, and so on. And then
there is celebrity sushi. It’s imposible
to get anywhere in BA showbiz unless
you like sushi, allow yourself to be
photographed eating sushi and then
tell the journalist how much you love
sushi. Even if you’re just a backstage
ligger, don’t think you can mill around
at a fashion show or exhibition preview

without popping a couple of California
rolls and a few slivers of seaweed.
As crazes - out - of - Japan - that-have
- reached - BA go, this one is easier
to account for than, say, Pokemon.
Trusting in the axiom that you are
what you eat, porteños have long
searched for a cuisine as sexy and
sophisticated as they. Steak is just
fine for family and friends but no
food that comes with a side order of
toothpicks can ever be an aphrodisiac.
Pasta goes smoothly down the
throat – and smoothly down the
shirt. Pizza is cheap, delicious and
impresses no-one. Sushi, by contrast,
is stainless, odour-free, picturesque,
exotic, expensive and, if nothing
else, a great conversation starter. For
porteños, many of whom ponder the
art of flirting with almost Confucian
intensity, these are important
developments.
Oh, one minor point, barely worth
mentioning. BA sushi, with a few
notable exceptions, isn’t very good.
Style triumphs over substance and
imported Chilean salmon triumphs
over everything. Perhaps it needs
to go out of fashion before it comes
into flavour. Or perhaps the Japanese
got the best end of the deal?. Can
you guess who the world’s biggest
importer of Argentine beef is?. Next
month: steak and sake.

25

dining out
MENDOZA CITY

Grill Q

Located in the elegant Park Hyatt, Grill
Q serves up traditional regional cuisine
at a five star level. Sit back in the chic
parilla style restaurant amongst the
cowhides and local artwork, pick from
one of the many Mendocinean wines,
make your order and watch the chefs
at work in the open kitchen. They are
famous for their grilled meats and
gigantic empanadas, and serve hearty
Argentine classics such as ‘locro’ - a
stew which hails back to the early
independence days. Save room for
the stunning desserts. The Hyatt’s
other restaurant, Bistro M, offers a
more gourmet evening menu and
the most exuberant ‘lunch menu’ in
town. With a gorgeous buffet spread
of starters like squid and basil stew,
crispy calamari with cool gazpacho and
mezze style tapas, you’ll need to bring
your stretchy waistbands to fit in the
hearty and flavourful main options
and the sumptuous dessert buffet on
top. Put aside an hour or two for this
tempting lunch or make your way here
in the evening to try the Mediterranean
inspired dishes including delicious
pasta, fresh fish and some great cuts
of meat. Chile 1124. (261) 441 1225.
Avg. meal Grill Q $240 pesos. Bistro
M Executive Menu $270 with starter
buffet, main course, dessert buffet and
glass of wine.

Ituzaingo

Grill Q

Patrona

This cosy Mendocino restaurant has a
casual, rustic charm about it. A colourful
hub of activity on a quiet street, Patrona
attracts a crowd full of locals every night
of the week who come for the honest,
traditional Argentine food and friendly
and warm atmosphere. Classic dishes
like the hearty empanadas and sizzling
asado are worthy and popular fare but
the real star here is Patrona’s warm,
open sandwiches We recommend the
artichoke hearts and goats cheese;
roasted vegetables with white wine and
honey; or the more traditional pick of
rich glands cooked in lemon. A decent
wine list and some satisfying desserts
complete the gastronomy experience
but the key to Patrona is the cosy way
that they really make you feel at home.
Mi casa es Patrona casa! 9 de Julio 656.
Tel: (261) 4291057. Mon to Sat: 12.30pm
- 3.30pm and 8.30pm - close. Avg. meal
cost: $140/(including starter, main dish,
dessert+a glass of wine)

26

For an intimate, unusual and memorable
evening - Ituzaingo is one of the
city’s best kept secrets. A ‘closed door’
restaurant located in a historic house
in the bohemian quarter, Ituzaingo
has been receiving rave reviews from
locals, expats and travellers alike who
relish in the warm atmosphere, good
company, unique art, and good food all
accompanied by an eclectic music mix.
The maestro in question is Gonzalo
Cuervo who likes to welcome in up to 45
people in his attractive loft conversion
house or leafy summer garden, and his
chef Francisco can delight guests with an
eight course menu of Argentine flavours
catered to an international palate, or
simply relax with a glass of wine. This
is a real place to meet the wines, food,
art, music and hospitality of Argentina.
8 course menu of argentine cuisine with
3 glasses of wine and a welcome drink,
or you can order sharing plates and
wine by the glass. For those who like to
learn more about regional culture and
gastronomy Ituzaingo has the option of
an Argentinean Cooking Class which
is a lot of fun and educational. Prices
between 400 and 500 pesos per person
(wines included). Open Mon, Wed, Fri &
Sat from 8.30pm. Reservations essential.
Ituzaingo Resto, tel (261) 15 666 5778,
cocina@ituzaingoresto.com.a

El Mercadito

With an attractive fairy lit patio and
terrace outside, this is the perfect spot
for some lunch time sunshine or al
fresco dining. Run by three friends,
El Mercadito has a cool vibe and
relaxed music making it a favorite.
Opened recently by three friends,
El Mercadito is offering something a
little bit different to Mendoza. With a
cool vibe, relaxed music and attractive
waiting staff, this is quickly becoming
a favorite hot spot for a coffee, bite to
eat or evening cocktails. Opening in
the morning for healthy breakfasts
and antioxidant juices, El Mercadito
stays open throughout the siesta with
its light menu of sandwiches, big salads
and some Argentine classic meals.
Chow down to big healthy salads like
the ‘Langoustine’ with huge juicy
prawns, fresh avocado and green leaves
or tuck into one of their big toasted
sandwiches like smoked salmon and
cream cheese, or jamon crudo and
arugula served with chunky chips
and homemade BBQ sauce. As the sun
goes down make sure to try out one of
their yummy strawberry mojitos! El
Mercadito, Aristides Villanueva 521,
(261) 4638847. Avg. meal price: $ 150.
Chacras de Coria: Viamonte 4961, te:
4962267.

La Marchigiana

As the first Italian restaurant in
Mendoza, La Marchigiana has plenty
of history and traditional recipes to
whet any nonna`s appetite. Maria
Teresa Corradini de Barbera`s family
restaurant started off with only six
hearty Italian dishes but has grown
into a popular local fixture which is
always busy despite its curious lack of
ambience. The pasta is the best thing
here, maintaining original recipes
from over 60 years ago; we recommend
the huge stuffed ravioli. Check out
the Brad Pitt photo for celebrity
credentials. La Marchigiana, Patricias
Mendocinas 1550. (261) 4230751. Avg.
meal price: $160

Anna Bistro

Anna Bistro has been an important
restaurant on Mendoza’s food scene
since it opened 8 years ago, however
that doesn’t stop it from renovating
itself each year. This year Jerome and
his team have started smoking their
own salmon and cheese to add a bit
more flavour to some dishes and you
can try the rich salmon on delicious
brioche and go the whole hog with a pot
of delicious steaming, garlicky prawns.
Along with a handful of salmon dishes
there are a host of different foods on
the menu including classic steak, rich
lamb, creamy pastas and lots of lighter
options including big salads, sharing

platters and vegetarian dishes. While
lunch and dinner is still its main game,
the beautiful gardens and restaurant
are open for breakfast from 8am
offering unending treats from their
own French patisserie and the late
afternoon is perfect for sipping your
way through the extensive cocktail
list or take your pick from the arm
long wine list. Av. Juan B. Justo 161
Tel: (261) 425 1818. Everyday 8am till
late. Avg. meal cost: $190 pesos.

OUTSIDE CITY CENTER
Terruño - Club Tapiz

Tucked away among the sprawling
Maipu vineyards lies Club Tapiz
Resort and its lovely restaurant
Terruño. This handsome eatery
boasts an elegant interior, excellent
service and a wine list that is sure
to please even the most finicky of
wine snobs. Their chef compiles a
tantalising menu that includes top

notch lomo steaks, a rotating range
of salads and a savory ginger/honey
chicken dish that is second to none.
If you like what you see and taste,
book a room in one of their seven
Renaissance-style villas. Don’t forget
to call ahead for dinner reservations!
Ruta 60 s/n 5517 Maipú. AR$ 220.
Tel: (261) 496 0131. tapiz.com. Lunch,
everyday, 12pm - 3pm. Dinner, Sun
- Thurs, 8pm-11pm, Fri & Sat until
12am. Avg. meal cost: $370 pesos.

Los Negritos
Right in the middle of Las Vegas (in
Potrerillos, 80kms from Mendoza)
this restaurant stems from a story of a
family who came to live in here one of
the first weekend houses constructed
in the area. They named their home
‘los negritos’ a nickname of their two
young children.
Many years later, one of the ‘negritos’
(Enrique) decided to leave the bustle of
the city, moved to the mountains and
opened a restaurant with his wife,
in Las Vegas. The restaurant serves
lunch and dinner every weekend and
on public holidays and the cuisine is
flavourful and typically Argentine
with stews (such as Tomaticán and
mondongo) milanesas, humita and
homemade pasta - many of the
recipes used are old family recipes.
The restaurant has been recognized
as part of the ‘gastronomical route’
and is noted for its quality of cooking,
architecture and landscape.
Los Olmos ST, Las Vegas, Potrerillos.
(261)155697431. Avg: $130.

La Marchigiana

27

the winery guide
Nieto Senetiner

Dante Robino

The fine wine sister of Chandon Argentina
is a beautifully restored bodega with
well-appointed tasting room. Fav. Wine:
Cheval de los Andes. (0261) 488 0704/5.
Thames and Cochabamba, Perdriel, Luján
de Cuyo. www.terrazasdelosandes.com

Located in a beautiful old winery in
Chacras, Senetiner was founded in 1888
and makes a great range of wines and
sparkling wines and offers horseback
riding in the vineyards and asado style
lunches. (261) 496 9099, Guardia Vieja
S/N, Vistalba, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
nietosenetiner.com.ar

Founded in 1920, an atmospheric oldstyle winery with a modernist, lightfilled tasting room with excellent view
of mountains and vines. (0261) 488
7229 Ext. #2. Callejón Maldonado 240,
Perdriel. www.bodegadanterobino.com

Clos de Chacras

Melipal

Charming boutique operation with nice
history. A five minute walk from Chacras
plaza. Fav. Wine: Gran Estirpe. (0261) 496
1285/155 792706. Monte Libano s/n, Luján
de Cuyo. www.closdechacras.com.ar

Great Malbec and gourmet lunches
make Melipal one of the most exclusive
wineries to visit. (0261) 4790202. R.N.7,
1056km, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.
bodegamelipal.com.ar

Luigi Bosca

Mendel

The Arizu dynasty are the royal
family of Argentine wine and their
seat of operations is a handsome and
elegant 110-year old winery. Classical
architecture, ancient atmospheric cellars
and rich wines such as the Finca Las
Nobles range make for a fascinating
visit. (0261) 498 1974. San Martin 2044,
Mayor Drummond, Luján de Cuyo. www.
luigibosca.com.ar

An old style winery ran by one of
Argentina’s most famous winemaker
dynasties the De La Motta family.
(0261) 524 1621. Terrada 1863, Mayor
Drummond, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
mendel.com.ar

LUJAN DE CUYO
Terrazas de los Andes

Viña Cobos

Septima
A beautifully designed winery with
clear views of the mountains and a large
terrace used for sunset wine events
after 6.30pm on Thursdays. Owned by
the Spanish experts in sparkling wine,
Codorniu, they make fab sparkling
wine under label Maria. (261) 498 9550,
Ruta 7, 6.5km, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
bodegaseptima.com

Bonfanti
A lovely winery in a pastoral setting.
Up close and personal tours with the
owners themselves and a tasting room
set amidst the vines. (0261) 488 0595.
Terrada 2024, Lujan de Cuyo.

American winemaker Paul Hobbs
was one of the first to recognise
the possibilities of Malbec and his
Bramare label is possibly one of the
best examples of this varietal. (0261)
479 0130. R.N. 7, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
vinacobos.com

Pulenta Estate

Tapiz

Norton

Great wine lodge Club Tapiz, high-end
restaurant Terruño and an instructive
wine tour including barrel and bottle
tasting. (0261) 490 0202. Ruta Provincial
15, Km 32. Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo.
www.tapiz.com

Old-style cellars contrast with a hightech production line. Tank and barrel
tastings,and jug fillings on Thursdays are
popular with the locals. (0261) 490 9700.
R.P.15, Km 23.5. Perdriel.Luján de Cuyo.
www.norton.com.ar

Belasco de Baquedano

Benegas Lynch

Gleaming
modern
facility
with
fascinating aroma room and restaurant
with Andean view. (0261) 524 7864.
Cobos 8260, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
belascomalbec.com

Rich history and richer wines. Lovely
old bodega with lots of character. Fav.
Wine: Cabernet Franc. (0261) 496
0794. Ruta 60. Cruz de Piedra. www.
bodegabenegas.com

Catena Zapata

Piattelli

Navarro Correas

Showcase winery designed like a Mayan
temple overlooking vineyards and the
Andes Mountains. Rich, complex wines.
(0261) 413 1100. Cobos s/n, Luján de Cuyo.
www.catenawines.com

A lovely family owned winery done
in a Tuscan style. Enjoy lunch on
a deck beside a pond.Fav. Wine:
Oaked Torrontes. (0261) 479 0123.
Cobos 13710, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
piattellivineyards.com

The closest winery to Mendoza city, easily
accessible Navarro Correas is a modern
winery with great sparkling wines and
fun tasting options. (0261) 4597916. San
Francisco del Monte 1555, Godoy Cruz.
www.ncorreas.com

Cruzat

Caelum

A boutique traditional sparkling wine
producer with gorgeous bubbles that can
be enjoyed from their terrace overlooking
vines. (261) 5242290, Costa Flores, s/n,
Perdriel, www.bodegacruzat.com

Modern, medium size winery on the main
road to Chile just before the mountains
and has a nice family feel to it. Fav. Wine:
Rosado. (261)156992890. R.N.7 km 1060,
Agrelo. www.bodegacaelum.com.ar

Renacer
This Chilean-owned winery creates
the label Punto Final. Small, modern
operation with tour that includes a
hands-on lesson in blending. Brandsen
1863, Lujan de Cuyo. 261-524-4416 or 261524-4417. www.bodegarenacer.com.ar

Kaiken
This rustic 80 year-old winery houses a
new venture by the prestigious Chilean
winery Montes. Big and powerful wines,
destined for fame. TEL (0261) 476111114 INT 113 / Movile (0261-153 530 789) /
Movile (0261-155 509 453) Roque Saenz
Peña 5516, Las Compuertas, Luján de
Cuyo. Open from Mon to Sat from 8 AM
to 6:30 PM/SUN and holidays from 9 AM
to 1 PM. www.kaikenwin es.com

Alta Vista
Masterful mix of modern and
traditional. Tasting includes distinctive
Torrontes or single vineyard Malbecs.
(0261) 496 4684. Álzaga 3972, Chacras
de Coria, Lujan de Cuyo. www.
altavistawines.com

28

Cool minimalist design and rich
complex wines make this a winery
with finesse and style. Fav. Wine:
Cabernet Franc. (0261) 155 076426.
Ruta 86, Km 6.5. Lujan de Cuyo. www.
pulentaestate.com

REFERENCES
Restaurant
Lodging
Driving time from Mendoza City
Art Gallery

LOCATIONS REFERENCES
Luján de Cuyo

San Martín

Maipú

Valle de Uco

Mendoza City

Chandon

Ruca Malen

Carmelo Patti

The original foreign investor, Frenchowned Chandon has been making
great sparkling wines in Mendoza
since the 1960s. (0261) 490 9968. R.P.15,
Km 29, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.
bodegaschandon.com.ar

Excellent food, great guiding and firstclass wines. The pairings over lunch
make for an unforgettable culinary
experience. (0261) 5537164 - 2614540974.
R.N.7, Km 1059, Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo.
www.bodegarucamalen.com

Mendoza’s most famous garagista.
Carmelo Patti himself is often there
to show you around (in Spanish). Fav.
Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon from the
barrel. (0261) 498 1379. San Martin 2614,
Luján de Cuyo.

Dominio del Plata

Decero

Dolium

Argentina´s most famous female
winemaker Susana Balbo is creating
some rich and complex wines in the heart
of Agrelo. (0261) 498 9200. Cochabamba
7801 Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo. www.
dominiodelplata.com.ar

Attractive, modern facility with
spectacular views of the mountains from
the cozy tasting room. (0261) 524 4748.
Bajo las Cumbres 9003, Agrelo, Luján de
Cuyo. www.decero.com

A completely underground winery
with innovative design and top notch
Malbecs. (0261) 490 0190. R.P.15, Km 30
s/n, Agrelo. www.dolium.com

Lagarde

Estrella de los Andes
On a leafy road in the middle of Lujan,
this winery has a cool, retro diner with
well presented and tasty Argentine
dishes that won’t break your bank.
Open all day and a relaxed atmosphere.
Olavarria 225, Perdriel, (261) 464 9190.
www.bodegaestrelladelosandes.com

Tucked away in a restored winery in
Las Compuertas, you can taste single
vineyard and terroir blend wines from
both of these ambitious projects from
under one roof. Walk-ins welcome.
Roque Sáenz Peña 8450, Las Compuertas,
Luján de Cuyo. (261) 562 9134/35.www.
durigutti.com www.lamadridwines.com

Owner of the oldest white wine in
South America. Try the hand-crafted
sparkling wine made from 100 year old
vines. (0261) 498 0011 Ext. 27. San Martin
1745, Mayor Drummond. Luján de Cuyo.
www.lagarde.com.ar

La Madrid/Durigutti

Finca Agostino
This Canadian-owned winery out
in the far East of Maipu is worth the
extra 15 minutes in the car for
its fabulous views and playful
cuisine. Before tucking into lunch
or wine tasting, there are many
activities on offer so you can make
a day of it. Vineyard tours by
bike or foot are a popular option,
or you can get your hands busy in
the kitchen with a cooking class
where you get to harvest the
ingredients by hand in their garden.
If art is more your thing, the
art gallery is also worth a peruse
for its rotating collection of art
and sculpture.

Making a host of wines not just
from their Barrancas home, but also
from vineyards high in the Uco
Valley, you can taste through their
whole portfolio during a visit to
the winery but your best tasting
experience will be sitting down to
their playful pairing menu over
lunch. This winery eschews the usual
empanadas and steak and instead
offers something a little unusual,
creative and certainly memorable.

and Malbec; a chivito burger and
soufflé paired with a rich red blend,
just to mention a few… When you
are done with the taste parade, you
might want to head up to the
terrace and enjoy the rest of your
bubbles with a sweeping view across
the entire of Mendoza, framed by
the Andes mountains. This is
Maipu, but not as you know it.

Sit down to a five course fairground
of flavour and flair: Torrontes
with chilled gazpacho and basil ice
cream; beetroot in three textures

Carril
Barrancas
10590
(5517)
Barrancas, Maipú. (261) 5249358/9 - 524
9858/9. Open 7 days a week. www.
fincaagostino.com

By Amanda Barnes

29

the winery guide
Achaval Ferrer

Lopez

La Azul

Modern boutique close to Mendoza
riverbed. Big concentrated wines. (0261)
488 1131. Cobos 2601, Perdriel, Lujan de
Cuyo. www.achaval-ferrer.com

Popular, old-style winery with two
museums on the wine. Restaurant offers
gourmet cuisine with a panoramic view.
(0261) 497 6554. Ozamis 375, Gral Gutiérrez,
Maipú. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar

Simple, small production winery with
not so simple Malbecs and a small
traditional restaurant. (02622) 423 593.R.P
89 s/n. Agua Amarga, Tupungato. www.
bodegalaazul.com

Rutini / La Rural

Finca La Celia

Well-stocked museum with invaluable
antiques like cowhide wine presses and
buckets. Giant oak tanks stand in large,
cavernous halls. (0261) 497 2013 Ext.125.
Montecaseros 2625, Coquimbito, Maipú.
www.bodegalarural.com.ar

One of the valley’s oldest wineries. They
conduct excellent tours and tastings.
(02622) 451 010. Av. de Circunvalacion
s/n, Eugenio Bustos, San Carlos. www.
fincalacelia.com.ar

Cecchin

Designed like a temple to wine, this
ultra-concept winery includes a
modern art gallery, lodge, and chapel
set high in the Andean valley. (02622)
429 500.R.P 89 s/n, Tunuyan. www.
killkasalentein.com

Vistalba
Tasting room where one entire wall
is a subterranean cross section of the
actual vineyard clay, roots and rocks.
Fab restaurant. Fav Wine: Petit Verdot.
(0261) 498 9400. Roque Saenz Peña 3135,
Vistalba. www.carlospulentawines.com

Familia Cassone
A charming, family owned winery in a
beautiful setting. Try the jasmine tinted
rosé amidst the pastoral splendour of the
owner’s expansive garden.Anchorena
y Terrada. (261) 424 6301.www.
familiacassone.com.ar

MAIPU

A family winery using organic and
biodynamic principles where you can see
the entire process from the beautiful green
vineyards to the minimal intervention
winery. (261) 497 6707, MA Saez 626,
Maipu, www.bodegacecchin.com.ar

Carinae

Salentein

Clos de los 7

Argentina’s biggest winery is a mix of old
and new, traditional and industrial, and
has the old train tracks leading up to it.
(0261) 520 7666. Mitre s/n. Coquimbito,
Maipú. www.trapiche.com.ar

Small, charming, French-owned winery
offering personal tours and well-honed
wines. Surrounded by vineyards and
olive trees. (0261) 499 0470. Videla
Aranda 2899, Cruz de Piedra, Maipú
www.carinaevinos.com

In the heart of gorgeous Vista Flores,
you can visit premium French
owned wineries Monteviejo, Rolland,
Diamandes and Cuvelier de los andes
in one visit for tastings, horseriding,
art and lunch. (0261) 156 687680. www.
clos7.com.ar

Flichman

Tempus Alba

O. Fournier

Steeped in history and tradition. Charming,
pink-hued, colonial-style bodega, set in
the leafy vineyards of southern Maipu.
(0261) 497 2039. Munives 800, Barrancas,
Maipú. www.flichman.com

A fine modern winery set in the rural
lanes of southern Maipu. The rooftop
terrace overlooks the vineyard. (0261) 481
3501. Perito Moreno 572, Maipú. www.
tempusalba.com

Most architecturally innovative winery
with rich, concentrated wines. Excellent
lunches in the modernist visitor center.
(02622) 451 088. Los Indios s/n, La
Consulta, San Carlos. www.ofournier.com

Familia Di Tommasso

AMP Cava

Gimenez Riili

Officially the second oldest winery in
Mendoza and still run by Argentine
hands. Their charming and rustic
restaurant looks onto the vineyard,
just two steps away. (0261) 524 1829.
Urquiza 8136, Russell, Maipú. www.
familiaditommaso.com

Premium wines made from different
terroirs but all by renowned winemaker
Karim Mussi Saffie. Technical tastings
and a close proximity to the city
make it a recommended visit. Gómez
Adriano 3602. Coquimbito. Maipú - (261)
4813201/4668048

A brand new family run affair, part of
the exciting Vines of Mendoza project.
This is a modern winery in a stunning
setting.
0261-156317105/
0261153470392 - Ruta 94 (s/n), Tunuyán.
www.gimenezriili.com

Familia Zuccardi

VALLE DE UCO

Fascinating Italian job in the heart of
Tupungato with commanding views
and commanding wines, especiially
the Amarone inspired varietals and
unusual blends. Tel. (0261) 156539573.
www.masitupungato.com

Trapiche

A professional, far-sighted operation.
Attractive restaurant amidst the vines,
famous for its asado-style lunches and
generous wine pourings. (0261) 441
0000. R.P. 33, Km 7.5, Maipú. www.
familiazuccardi.com

Cepas Elegidas
Making real ‘vinos de autor’, US born
Brennan Firth makes his limited
production wines in a small winery
in Maipu. Exclusive and ultra high
end wines, a visit and tasting is with
the winemaker himself. To visit Cepas
Elegidas, call Brennan on (0261) 467 1015.

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Andeluna
The old-world style tasting room looks
upon dramatic views of vineyards against
mountains. (02622) 423 226 Ext 113.R.P.
89, Km 11, Gualtallary, Tupungato. www.
andeluna.com

Bodega Masi

SAN MARTIN

Atamisque

Familia Antonietti

This Uco winery has some great white
wines, a unique stony roof and they
breed their own trout which is served
in the charming restaurant.(0261)
156 855184. R.P. 86 (Km 30), San Jose,
Tupungato. www.atamisque.com

A family winery in San Martin where
you can have a tour with the owners,
try some of their sparkling wines and
stay for a homecooked lunch. (0261)
4390964/155688905. Pizarro s/n esq.
Zalazar, Chapanay, San Martín.

bars
inside Mendoza City
The list below has some great bars but if you’re looking to
browse, head to Aristides Villanueva Avenue, the nightlife
strip of Mendoza. It’s a continuation of Ave. Colon and
is simply referred to as Aristides by the locals. Pubs, bars,
restaurants and shops cram together from Belgrano to San
Martin Park to provide you with ample bar options. Get
your shut-eye before a night out because the clubs don’t
even get started until 2am, and call a taxi because they are
all located out of the city in Chacras or El Challao.
The Vines of Mendoza
As the first and only true tasting room in South America, The
Vines of Mendoza offers the broadest selection of premium
boutique wines from Argentina. Compare the wine notes
with one of their tasting flights or choose a glass from the
impressive list of limited production wines. Chatting with
their learned bartenders and sipping fabulous flavours makes
for a truly enjoyable afternoon. Belgrano 1194, Tel. 261 4381031. Mon-Sat, 3pm-10pm www.vinesofmendoza.com
El MERCADITO
Aristides still remains the busiest night spot in town and
this resto-bar has to be one of the coolest in town. El
Mercadito is run by three friends and it lets the good times
roll with healthy meals – including big salads, which are
a rarity here – antioxidant juices, decent brekkie, fresh
cocktails and a top music mix. Spend an evening here and
you’ll hear a few beats from across the pond and leave with
a light stomach and a few stars brightening up your vision.
El Mercadito, Aristides 521.
BELIEVE IRISH PUB
One of the few bars in Mendoza with a bar counter and
high stools to prop yourself up on. Kelly, the English partowner/pub-mascot is almost always there to share a chat

and a smile with the crowd; which is most likely a factor
in its notable popularity among expats and travelers. On
the menu is a great collection of draught beers, bottled
beers (try the Warsteiner) and surprisingly decent pub
grub. TV screens hang in every corner airing hit musicvideo montages or football games. Monday night is
International night and for their packed events DJ’s rock
the house. Colon and España 241. Tel. 261-429-5567. www.
believeirishpub.com.ar
ANTARES BAR
Aristides street would not be very complete without its own
micro-brewery bar. Antares is the real deal and a pioneer
in this respect with bars located across the country since
before it became trendy to brew your own grog. Its long
bar displays tempting casks of great quality beers such as
Scottish ale and Irish stout. This expansive bar packs them
in at night and serves decent pub grub too. Antares Bar.
Aristides 153.
Velvet
This hip new club and bar is located 15mins away from
Mendoza in Chacras de Coria. Boasting good cocktails and
great music, spread over a lounge bar and downstairs club
room, this is the best ticket in town for good times on a
Friday and Saturday night. Mision Alfoz, Viamonte 4961,
Chacras de Coria (261) 467 433.
Black Sheep
Just off the Alameda strip, the Black Sheep is an Americanstyle sports bar with big screen TVs and decent bar food
like nachos, homemade burgers and hot and spicy chicken
wings. While especially popular during sports matches, The
Black Sheep is one of the few bars to stay open everyday
from 12 till 4am so you can grab a pint whenever you like!
Maipu 131, Mendoza (261) 561 4283.

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USEFUL INFORMATION
AIRPORT Tel: 5206000 Accesso Norte s/n. El Plumerillo. SHIPPING WINE Ordinary post will not ship wine and a courier can cost at
least U$ 30 a bottle. The most economical way is send it with your checked luggage in a special styrofoam wine box, available at most
wine stores or at Trout & Wine, Espejo 266. CRIME Be alert. Mendoza does have crime. Hold on to purses on the street and at restaurants.
Avoid carrying valuables. Hostel lockers are not safe. Danger spots: bus terminal and internet cafes. BIKE TOURS IN MAIPU The
most economical way to do a wine tour in Mendoza. Take bus (171, 172 or 173) from Catamarca and Rioja to Urquiza street (see below)
where you’ll find several bike rental companies. Some are notorious for dodgy bikes. Check and double check you get a good mount
as a puncture can cause a mini nightmare. Head south, as north of Maipu is urban and not pretty. RECOMMENDED WINERIES
Rutini, Tempus Alba, Di Tommasso, Carinae and certainly Trapiche. When returning have a late lunch at the excellent Casa de Campo.
NIGHTCLUBS In most nightclubs you have to queue twice for a drink which can get slightly exasperating as the night wears on. It is
wise to buy several drink tickets at once for an easy, unimpeded flow of alcohol. Bathrooms are usually ill equiped so bring your own
toilet paper. Many nightclubs are 200 light years away in Chacras which can cause problems getting home. Clubs rarely get going
before 2am. MENDOZA EXPATS CLUB An organization which enables Expatriates to meet each other. www.mendozaexpats.org.
HAIR DRESSER English speaking and eccentric hairdresser Haisley will do your hairdo right. Paso de los Andes 997 (esq. Julio Roca),
tel (261) 641 6047. CHANGING DOLLARS - “Cambio, cambio” shout the arbolitos (money changers) outside Galeria Tonsa (San Martin
1173), the place to go if you want the best street rate. Larger denomination notes are preferred. To make sure you are not getting ripped
off check the current rate of the “dolár informal” on www.ambito.com. The Mendoza rate is generally 30 centavos less.

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