ISSN 1853-9610

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MENDOZA’S FREE MAGAZINE

Nº74 AUGUST - SEPTEMBER 2015

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Pinot
Noir
What to
do in
Mendoza

BIODYNAMIC

WINES

THE LOST
CITY OF

QUILMES

Mendoza
Winery
Guide

www.wine-republic.com

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contents
News Republic
Exit Polls...................................................................... 6
Down Under Coffee..................................................6
Silver Lining............................................................... 6
Southern Noir
Learning about Pinot Noir ................................. 8
The Cosmos in a bottle
Grabbing biodynamic wines............................... 10
Wishlist
Biodynamic Wines................................................. 12

Cafayate
The wine town of Cafayate, Salta........................ 14
The Lost City
Ruins of Quilmes.................................................... 20
Out & About
Dining 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

Katharina - Entre Cielos
Restaurant

CREDITS
Issue August - September 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
Assistant Editor: Emilie Giraud.
Publicity and Publisher: Mariana Gómez Rus:
publicidad@wine-republic.com,
mariana@wine-republic.com
Design: Circlan.com .
Gimena Federici - Jona Conti. jona@circlan.com.
Printer: Artes Gráficas UNION
Contributing Authors: Emilie Giraud, Mariana
Gómez Rus y Sofia Elena
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
Exit Polls
This big election year in Argentina is particularly active
as it includes newly introduced primaries. Already
residents of Buenos Aires have traipsed 3 times to the
poll booths to decide their mayor and still have the
provincial and presidential primaries, elections and runoffs to endure. This means your average resident will
potentially vote 9 times this year on 9 different dates, all
of which are forced marches as voting is compulsory in
Argentina. This writer salutes such robust democracyin-action but also laments the fact that such a rush to
the polls has caused a literal landslide in his own wine
consumption. The sale of alcohol is strictly forbidden
on all election days and already we have endured three
days of closed wineries because of the polling. Next
to repealing the law, imposed apparently to prevent
rioting, we can only beseech the locals to get on with it,
and restart the flow of alcohol.

Down Under Coffee
Mendoza does not lack cafes but it does lack good quality
coffee houses with gourmet beans and professional
baristas. This is one of the reasons two Australians
transplanted themselves here and opened a slice of the
thriving Melbourne café world. The newly opened
Melbourne Coffee Co offers everything for the coffee
aficionado in a welcoming, elegant setting that includes
a courtyard with hummingbird. The bustling noise of
the traditional Mendoza café is replaced with zen-like
tranquility and the layout of the coffeehouse includes
private salons for those who want to work or chat in
peace. As well as delicious latte and iced coffee they
also offer sweet pastries and cakes.
Melbourne Coffee Co. Peru 1136, Tel. 0261 211 2100

Silver Lining
A snow storm in late July dumping almost 2 meters of
snow on the mountains has caused the usual havoc stranded tourists and angry truck drivers. However
such copiuos amounts of snow has also meant an
auspicious start to the ski season which has suffered in
recent years from lack of snowfall. The recent blizzards
- it snowed for three days non-stop in Las Leñas, has
been the best in 5 years and should mean lots of happy
skiers on the slopes for most of the season. Resorts like
Los Puquios and Penitentes are also reporting abundant
snowfall so fingers crossed it is a bumper season. Those
stranded tourists and truck drivers will just have to pull
out their ski gear and join the party.

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SOUTHERN
NOIR

Winemaker
Sofia Elena
goes to
New Zealand
to learn about
Pinot Noir.
The Pinot Noir grape did not have
the most auspicious of starts when it
arrived in New Zealand 40 years ago.
The first sprig was found in a and
confiscated by customs. It survived
and became known as the Gumboot
Clone. The rest is history. From those
humble boots, New Zealand now
exports 10 million liters of Pinot
Noir to every corner of the World.
Pinot Noir is the red grape variety
that many producers have chosen to
specialize in and that is not by chance.
The climate and weather conditions
in some areas such as Central Otago,
in the south island are very suitable
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for this grape: cool climates where
the grape can mature slowly, great
thermal amplitude between day
and night that keeps natural acidity,
very diverse free draining soil types,
hillside vineyards, no diseases nor
pests. Martinborough, south of North
Island, and Waipara and Central
Otago are the three areas where it is
said Pinot Noir was first introduced
in two waves in the early 1960s and
1970s. Since then clones of Pinot
Noir have had several years to adapt.
Those early, contraband sprigs were
probably “stolen” from the mythical
Romanée Conti vineyard “La Tache”
in Burgundy and have mutated and
developed to the point that they are
now considered a NZ clone.

“Those early, contraband
sprigs were probably stolen
from the mythical Romanée
Conti vineyard La Tache in
Burgundy.”
All winemakers agree Pinot Noir is
a very complicated grape to work
with mainly because it requires a lot
of work. Its thin skin and compact

bunches make it sensitive to diseases
and it normally requires a green
harvest to ripen evenly and achieve
better quality. It also ripens early
so it needs to grow in a cool climate
area to achieve the right maturity,
etc. To sum up, there are more than
200 different clones of Pinot Noir
that behave differently and produce
different results so they require
different management techniques. As
for winemaking, the grape requires
quite a lot of careful attention as well.
If grown and controlled correctly, this
grape can result in the most subtle,
elegant and complex type of wine
that will reflect the terroir in which
it´s grown. However the less plump
and fruitier but complex versions of
Pinot Noir are not for everyone. A
small producer in nord Côte du Rhone
once told me that wine consumers
evolution for taste normally finishes
in Burgundy, meaning that in order
to appreciate those wines, one has
to drink a lot of all kinds of wine
first. And there is no doubt the
masters at producing the best Pinot
are the vignerons in Burgundy. It
is no wonder as this grape has had

thousands of years of adaptation
and generation after generation
of vignerons in this region have
amassed a lot of knowledge about it.
The region of Central Otago, an area
with little or non-existent wine
culture but only a farming one, with
most wineries a little more than ten
years old, has already distinguished
itself worldwide as an important
area for Pinot Noir production. I
had the chance to work for one
of the hidden gems in the area,
Burn Cottage winery, an 11 hectare
biodynamic vineyard with one of the
top Pinot Noir producers, Ted Lemon,
from Sonoma as head winemaker.
He learned all about Pinot Noir in
Burgundy where he was the first
American to manage a domain.
Most of the wineries in the area are
small (around 10 hectares), and most
own land spread out in different
areas surrounding the town of
Cromwell, all of them with different
characteristics that result in different
wines. The aim for most of them is
try to understand this grape and its
behaviour in order to produce the
best Pinot Noir. And the comparison
with Burgundy is inevitable. Most
winemakers there are trying and
experimenting different things, such
as planting in diverse locations and
soil types, using different clones of
vines, planting vines on the hills or on
terraces, harvesting late or harvesting
early among various techniques.
And the trials happen also in the
winery such as the ones we did
which included co-fermentation of
different clones, different percentage
of whole bunch fermentation, using
indigenous yeasts, fermenting at low
or high temperatures, using open
top stainless steel or wooden cuves
fermentation tanks, different levels
of extraction using less or more
punch downs a day, short or long
post-macerations, etc.

they are open to discussion and not
holding any secrets because they
believe that the success of others is
also their own in helping to promote
the region.

“Both Patagonia region and
Central Otago find themselves
around latitude 45th south”
The scenario for Pinot Noir in
Argentina is quite different. Since
Malbec is our flagship grape, most
premium producers are dedicated
to making the best and most
diverse versions possible. Cabernet
Sauvignon is also a grape most
consider of great quality. But Pinot
is a variety very much in vogue
worldwide so new wine regions like
Patagonia (particularly San Patricio
el Chañar and Alto Valle de Rio
Negro) that have recently come up
in the wine map have decided to
focus on this grape. Conditions there
seem also suitable for it to adapt,
especially due to the cooler climate.
Both Patagonia region and Central
Otago find themselves around
latitude 45th south. And the weather
and topography is quite similar
in both places. Recently there has
even been a lot of buzz with some
wineries there like Bodega Chacra
getting amazing reviews, a winery
that has dedicated itself 100% to
Pinot Noir following the success of
other wineries such as Noemia and
Humberto Canale. Some producers
in Uco Valley where the climate is
cooler have also taken on the Pinot

Noir challenge with winemaker
Laureano Gomez, former Salentein
winemaker, being one of the best
small producers in my opinion. He
also had to learn about this grape
abroad, in Willamette Valley,
Washington State and grew very
fond of it. He also claims that it is
a complicated variety that needs
time to develop and the best
versions are the ones that hold
their aromas and flavour while in
the ageing stage. That means that
they will later explode and show
all their properties later in time.
The most common mistake is too
much use of oak for a variety that´s
very subtle and delicate.
Everyone agrees that this grape is
still in the process of research and
adaptation in Argentina and there
is still a lot of work to do. Most
believe a key factor to achieve a
great quality wine that can compare
to their French versions, is to learn
from the best producers at the best
sites where Pinot has had years to
evolve. The choice of a proper site
for it to grow is essential and then
a lot of time and work has to be
invested to learn how it is adapting
to the terroir it has been introduced
in. Once a good quality fruit has
been achieved, it also demands a
lot of attention and control in the
vineyard and the winery. Then, just
then, we might produce a Pinot that
will raise eyebrows in Burgundy
and New Zealand.

Central Otago - Pinot Noir vineyards - New Zealand

What I found remarkable is the
freedom with which winemakers
experiment and try things and are
also open to discuss everything
they do. Most of them believe that
to achieve quality wine and create a
local wine identity in Central Otago is
a long term investment and that they
are in the early stages of finding their
own style. But most importantly,
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THE COSMOS
IN A BOTTLE
Savvy winemaking or New
Age hokum? Emilie Giraud
grabs biodynamic wine by
the cow horns

“A New Age trend in Paris restaurant”,
“Heavy metal “, “Biological dynamite“
When I asked my friends what was
biodynamics, these were just some
of their creative answers. The father
of biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner,
also brought the imagination to
another level when describing his
philosophy. He claims that eating
potatoes is one of the factors that
turned humans materialistic and
doesn’t hesitate to compare the
bladder of a deer to the cosmos.
You might be inclined to dismiss his
theories as the thoughts of a farfetched lunatic.
However some 500 professional wine
producers worldwide have followed
his teachings when making wine and
have won accolades for doing so.
Steiner was an Austrian scientist
and philosopher from the 1920’s
known for having set the basis
of Anthroposophy, a spiritualscientific approach which aims
to restore harmony between the
human and the universe.
In 1924, after meeting a group of
farmers worried by the development
of chemical agriculture, Steiner
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gave eight lectures calling for a
more natural and holistic view of
agriculture that would take into
consideration the interrelations of
the natural cycles of plants, animals,
humans and planets.
To visualize how his approach
is applied to viticulture, and to
understand why anyone would
take seriously a man that links
materialism to a potato diet, I went
to visit a pioneer Argentinian
biodynamic estate named Alpamanta
or “ Love of Earth “ in Huarpe, the
local native language.

The Dung Thing
Located in Ugarteche, at 950 absl, the
35 hectares of Alpamanta Estate have
a flourishing ecosystem.
Walking in the vineyard, you will see
a lot of insects, but also free-roaming
animals like sheep, horses and hens.
They even have a mobile hen-house to
transport the poultry to the different
parts of the property. Apart from
eating the greens that can damage
the vines, the animals help disperse
the seeds and generate manure for
fertilizer. The estate also boasts an
organic herb garden, a home made

compost heap and vegetable garden.
One of the principles of biodynamic
farming is to consider the vineyard
as a self-sufficient organism where
fauna and flora are co-existing in a
complementary way. A biodynamic
vineyard is more like a self-sufficient
farm, a closed-loop system in which
things that are growing from the soil
will eventually go back to nurture it.

Magic Potions
With a biodynamic approach, the
soil is not an inert material. It is an
organic part, the micro-organisms of
which are the key to help the crop
synthesize the elements it needs to
grow. Supposedly, disease and pests
only appear when the microbiology
of the vineyard is unbalanced.
Human intervention should remain
minimal. It focuses instead on
vitalizing the soils and make the
vine more resistant by generating
greater concentration of good microorganisms through the application
of preventive homeopathic-like “
biodynamic preparations”.
In Alpamanta, those preparations
are kept inside half cut barrels in the
cellar, including dry plants and glass

jars full of minerals, herbs, and
some unidentified objects. Opening
up each barrel I went from surprise
to surprise and even suspected
witchcraft.
The first barrel contains some jars
mentioning “ Preparation 500 “
filled up with a earthy and smelly
material. Rocio, the manager,
explains to me that it comes from
the fermentation of cow dung put
inside a cow horn in the soil during
winter to concentrate its effect.
Twice a year, on a day that is not
rainy nor too hot nor to windy, after
4 pm, the resulting preparation will
be “ dynamized” in the vineyard. To
dynamize you must dilute it with
rainwater at the temperature of the
human body in very small doses.
Brewed for one hour it is then
sprayed in the vineyard.
According to biodynamic belief,
this key preparation favors the
microbiological
activity,
the
formation of humus, regulates the
acidity of the ground and stimulates
the seeding and even the vertical
growth of the root system.

Moonlighting
The best times for pruning,
composting, harvesting, making and
adding the biodynamic preparation
are determined by strictly following
a moon calendar.
Reading the biodynamic calendar
of René Piamonte is a little bit
like reading the horoscope of the
vineyard. It is based on the phases
of the moon and their relation to
constellations. The days can be,
“Root days; ideal to plough, Leaf
day; ideal for irrigation, Flower
days;ideal for pruning, and Fruit
days; ideal for harvesting. “
The influence of the moon has
always been important in farming
and its effect on the tide is high
school knowledge. As for water, a
full moon will apparently help the
flow of sap in the plant.

Good Eggs
Biodynamic agriculture is a kind
of extreme, new age version of
organic agriculture.

Another barrel, another potion.
Powdered quartz is buried in a cow
horn during the summer season.
Dynamized on the plant, it
strengthens the effect of the
sunlight and supposedly allows for
a better relation with the entire
cosmos. It helps to balance the
vegetative vigor of the plant, favors
its internal structure and resistance,
averting disease and increasing the
intensity of the grape´s aromas.

In the same spirit, the vinification
process should be as natural as
possible and also connected to
cosmic forces. That´s the reason
why
Alpamanta
wines
are
fermented in egg-shaped concrete
tanks. The shape creates a vortex,
a kind of energy arch, that allows
the lees to stay in suspension with
no need to stir, reducing human
intervention.

Steiner
created
four
other
preparations to enrich the compost.
They are made of petals, nettles and
dandelion flowers and fermented
into intestine of dead animals.

Stricter than the laws of organic
agriculture, the wines can only
be certified biodynamic if the
fermentation was made entirely
with the natural yeast of the grape.

“These preparations act as the
different
organs
facilitating
digestion,” explains Sebastian, the
agronomist of Alpamanta.
The dandelion, for example, whose
roots can reach a depth of 2 or
3 meters, demonstrates its great
capacity to find resources in the
soil. Added to the compost, it will
“teach” the vine how to grow its
root in the best possible way to
absorb nutrients.

area that still had leaves and had not
been so affected by powdery mildew
this year. Another winemaker made
the same point:
“ We don’t exactly know why, but
it appears that the biodynamic
vineyards suffered way less diseases
than others this year”.
Winemakers and wineries following
Steiner’s legacy are also quite
different from the image of the lunar
wizard or outcast hippie we imagine
of a person who talks about the
cosmic energy of a cow horn fill up
with poop. They bear such venerable
names as Bianchi, Catena and
Colomé. Biodynamic wines score as
high as 96 pts in Wine Spectator as
is the case of Noemia from Patagonia.
Even a cynic must recognize that
being involved in such a binding
approach reflects a deep interest
in the care of the vineyard and
for human wellbeing. Putting this
system into place requires small-size
vineyards and lots of commitment,
well- known recipes for great wines.
The wines produced by this method
are great ambassadors of their
terroir, providing the consumer with
a unique tasting experience while
fighting against the globalization of
winemaking and wine tasting.
To visit Alpamanta Estate
or contact them :
turismo@alpamanta.com
Calle Cobos s/n, Ugarteche,
Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza - Argentina:
Office : +54 (0) 261 420 3643
Sales & Tourism: +54(9)261(15) 3468398

A New Leaf
Your rational mind might still not be
convinced by this blend of esoteric
philosophy
and
homeopathic
treatment, but you might be
surprised by a few tangible facts.
Strangely enough when I visited
in late Autumn, the manager of
Alpamanta pointed out that their
vineyard was the only one in the

Rudolf Steiner

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WISHLIST - Biodynamic Wines
Luna Austral “Sintonia”,
Finca Aurea, La Consulta
Mario Toso and Alvaro Espinosa
produce both grapes and wines that
are certified biodynamic. The estate
in La Consulta, Uco Valley, is designed
around the Ying and Yang principle.
Only 1500 bottles of the Sintonia are
produced and this blend of Merlot and
Cabernet Franc has notes of asparagus
and strawberry jam. $300

Buenalma Malbec,
Finca Dinamia, San Rafael
Alejandro Bianchi produces Buenalma
(or Good Soul) at Finca Dinamia, a
14-hectare vineyard of Malbec-Côt
planted in Rama Caida, San Rafael.
The mix of oasis and the desert allows
for good concentration and colour
while the loamy soils add a nice touch
of minerality. $165

Alpamanta Estate Cabernet Franc,
Bodega Alpamanta, Ugarteche
Three friends have decided to follow
the rules of biodynamic farming to
make pure varietal “terroir wine”
from their Ugarteche vineyard
which they started from scratch in
2005. Their new creation, Cabernet
Franc Estate 2013, demonstrates the
great adaptation of this grape variety
in Argentina. $230

Doña Silvina Reserva Malbec,
Bodega Krontiras, Lulunta
Greek businessman and wine lover
Constantino Krontiras and his
Mendocina wife Silvina make wine
from a 100-year old biodynamic
vineyard in Lulunta, Lujan de Cuyo,
The nose has elegant notes of dried red
fruits, vanilla and cream. $300

Siesta en el Tahuantinsuyu
Malbec, Ernesto Catena
Vineyards, Vistaflores
The son of Nicolas Catena produces
wines from his biodynamic vineyards
Finca la Intensidad in Vistafores, Uco
Valley. Intense, complex and elegant.
$300

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CAFAYATE
OR BUST
Emilie Giraud
gives the
lowdown on a
high place – the
wine town of
Cafayate, Salta.
Located in the Province of Salta,
Cafayate is a lovely town of 11,000
inhabitants and the most important
settlement of the Calchaqui Valleys.
Nestled at 1680 m high, the town is
renowned for its high altitude vineyards
and for its Torrontès, a native white
grape that thrives in 360 days of sun a
year, cold nights and sandy soils.
Cafayate’s rich colonial and precolonial history as well as dramatic
landscapes in its surroundings makes it
a perfect destination to discover in the
Argentinian North.

For the Curious (or indecisive) type
Push the door of Chato’s Wine Bar,
next to Cafayate’s main square.

Quebrada de Cafafayate

Chato will receive you in his cosy bar
with impeccable English. More than
anything he is a passionate about wine
and if you encourage him a little bit,
he may unveil the secrets of his terroir,
tell you the history of Cafayate’s
vineyards and show you some of his
collectors’ bottle.
You will doubtless find the right
tasting option from a 200 bottle menu.
Food platters are also served.
Favorite Wine tasted: I had a crush
on a stunning Sauvignon blanc from
TUKMA winery, a 2670 meter high
vineyard in Humahuaca. Aromas of
asparagus and a beautiful intensity.
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Chato’s Wine Bar

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You are the Epicurean type
In the heart of Cafayate, El Porvenir
hides behind the adobe walls of a
traditional winery from the end of
the 19th century, renovated and
modernized by the Romero-Marcuzzi
family in 1999.
The heavy wooden doors open
onto a pleasant patio covered with
succulent plants and organized
around the shadow of an hundredyear-old carob-tree.
The atmosphere is somewhere
between tradition and modernity,
with a lot of elegance and subtlety.
The traditional barrels are made of
carob tree and the brilliant colors of
their modern counterparts decorated
by contemporary artists.
The winery produces
bottles per annum.

El Porvenir

200,000

Favorite Wine tasted: The Amauta
line has freshness an is not too oaked,
with notes of cassis and plumb with a
spicy touch.
For reservations:
adrianaelporvenirdecafayate.com
Taking some altitude in the
direction of Yacochuya, 8 kms West
from Cafayate, and after crossing a
most-of-the-year dry river, you will
reach Domingo Molina’s winery.
Built in 2009, the winery hosts the
haut-de-gamme project of three
brothers, Osvaldo, Gabriel and
Rafael descendant of the Domingos,
a traditional vintner family of
Cafayate.
Perched at 2000 m high, the
building offers a fantastic view of
the surrounding vineyards. The tasting of their high-altitude wines is
accompanied by some cheeses and
dried fruits.
Favorite wine tasted: I loved the
surprising and great value MalbecTannat blend “ Hermanos” .

Bodega Domingo Molina

Torrontès”, José Luis Mounier and his
Finca Las Nubes - literally the “ Cloud
Farm ” - where he produces 70,000
bottles a year only.
The idyllic place offers a panoramic
view of the town. Some vines are
cultivated on terraces and farming
practices are sustainable.

For reservations:
turismo@domingomolina.com.ar

A must see for Torrontès fanatics.

On the other side of Cafayate, 5 km
from the city center and on the route
to the waterfalls of the Rio Colorado,
go and discover the “ Master of

Favorite Wine tasted: The Torrontès
is generally not a grape variety
that is oaked or aged, but the 2010
Laguna Brava Torrontès aged in

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American oak is a rare gem. Great
structure, and slightly smoked, it
feels totally unique.
If like me you like concentrated and
spicy reds, try their Laguna Brava
Tannat fermented in oak barrels.

For the alternative type
Organize yourself a journey to
Amaicha del Valle, 60 km south of
Cafayate.
From there, visit the Ruins of Quilmes
with a native guide.

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2 kms away from the village of
Amaicha, the winery is the only
business owned by a native community in South America.
Brand new- the first harvest was this
year- , the winery was built collectively
by the community itself in a prehispanic style with dry stone walls
organized around circular patterns.
The project is based on the concept
of “ Buen Vivir”, a philosophy of life
which aims at respecting ideals of
cooperation, reciprocity and care
for the environment which has
become the political corner stone of
Amaicha Native Community.
The grapes are bought at a fair price
from 60 very small organic producers.
Favorite Wine: Uva criolla, a traditional
grape variety of the region.
For reservations: Note that the touristic
project of the winery is just about to
start, so contact the Cacique or the
native guide Sebastian Pastrana to
secure a visit.
informes@sumajpacha.com
For alternative wine tourism closer
to the center of Cafayate, you can
visit the organic winery Nanni and
the cooperative of small producers
Trassoles.
For reservations:
info@bodegananni.com.ar
coopvitivinicolacafayate@yahoo.com.ar

For the adventurous type
Go for an excursion in Quebrada
del Rio de las Conchas and try some
artesanal wines.

Cabras de Cafayate

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The Route 68 is a visual feast of natural
sculptures cut in red rock.
When you get thristy, try to spot on
the side of the road chalk-written
boards advertising for “ vino patero”
a generally sweet home wine I dare
you to try.
Reaching km 23, stop at “ La Yesera”
put your trekking shoes and go for a
beautiful and easy walk.
Further down the road, test the
acoustics of the Anfiteatro or venture
into “The throat of the Devil” (La
Garganta del Diablo).
On your way back, 15 min before
reaching Cafayate, stop at the
hamlet of El Mollar, find the house
of Jose David Gonza and try his Don
Caledonio Malbec, a very artesanal
and surprisingly good wine. Super
concentrated and spicy.

You are the non-drinking type
Don’t worry, Cafayate won’t let you
down.

Quebrada de Cafayate

You may appreciate a visit to the
Museo de la Vid y del Vino, explore
the terroir of Cafayate through video
installation in an old and charming
winery where it’s not necessary to sip
to feel at ease.
You can also indulge yourself with
a Torrontès or Malbec artesanal icecream from Heladeria Miranda, or
devour the goat cheeses of “Cabras
de Cafayate” .The place, owned
by Domingo Hermano’s winery is
surrounded by vines and the goats
are fed with grape skins and seeds.

Bodega de Amaicha

19

THE
LOST
CITY

Emilie
Giraud visits
Argentina’s
very own
Machu Picchu
– the ruins of
Quilmes
20

There is a famous saying in Latin
America: “The Mexican come from
the Aztecs; the Peruvian from the
Incas and the Argentinians from the
boats “. Visiting Amaicha del Valle, a
little village in the Calchaquì Valley,
Tucuman, I got to meet descendants
of a pre-Inca people, the Diaguitas,
and discover “the other history” of
the Argentinian North.
50 km from lush, green Tafi del
Valle and 60 km from Cafayate,

Amaicha is only mentioned in
touristic guides as a practical spot
to sleep before visiting the Ruins
of Quilmes. At the entrance of
the village, a welcoming billboard
boasts about Amaicha being the
place with the best climate of
the world with 360 days of sun a
year. The scenery is from a classic
Western – clouds of dust, carob
trees and huge cactuses. Sun
bleached cow skulls hang at the
entrances of some houses.

21

“At school we were told something
and at home, we were told a
different history,” admits Sebastian
and he invites us to see that other
history at the city of Quilmes, a few
kilometers away.
“When we are taught about native
people in Latin America, we study
a bit of the Maya, the Inca and the
Aztec civilizations. But you need
to know there were also very well
organized tribes before the Incas here
in Argentina.”

Rebuilt “ purca “ in Quilmes.. 

I was lured there with friends to
celebrate the summer solstice. In
Amaicha, you won’t find traditional
hotels but instead you can rent
rooms in family houses. That’s how
we settled in Amancay, the colorful,
traditional style house of my host
Sebastian Pastrana.
At dawn, our cheerful group walks
towards a piece of land deemed
sacred by Sebastian’s father Miguel.
The day star is just about to show.
While the sun rises in a magical
red glow at the rhythm of the
traditional flute and tambour, the
old man, ceremoniously wrapped in
a poncho, offers home-made wine,
cigarettes, medicinal plants and
water to the Earth, begging her for
our world not to collapse.
Like many Andean people, the lifestyle
and spirituality of the Amaichas
revolves around the figure of
Pachamama. Pachamama is more than
Mother Nature, it is the entire Universe.
They believe she gives us everything
and we are part of her. She requires
reciprocity and respect. One should
only use her resources reasonably and
honor her with offerings.
“20 years ago, those rituals were
considered Indian things, and
it was not something positive“
explains Sebastian. “I remember my
grandmother opening the mouth of
the Pachamama in the mountain,
curing it, cleaning it, perfuming it
with incense, leaving it ready for
offerings. Myself and my cousins
would fast and offer wheat and
corn, careful not to leave any mark
of the ritual behind. At the end, she
22

would send us away quickly fearing
that someone who did not share the
practice would pass by. At the time, it
was considered witchery “.
Nowadays, the day of the Pachamama
- the 1st of August, is celebrated
openly in the Andes and there is a
revival amongst the native people.
In Argentina however, scornful
references to native culture are still
pretty prevalent and “Indio” remains
a common insult in everyday slang.
Very little is said in history books
about pre-Inca people and the official
history assumes they have all died.
The winner wrote the history and
the loser has been denied its own
existence, and identity.

Sebastian explains that the Diaguita
culture, (the Amaichas and Quilmes),
was 60,000 people living in the
Calchaqui Valley up until the end of
the 17th century and their territory
stretched 25.500 sq km between
what are nowadays Tucuman,
Catamarca and Salta provinces. They
grew corn, quinoa and pumpkin
using irrigation and terraces. They
worked leather as well as gold, silver,
bone, bronze and made ceramics and
fabrics. Unlike the Incas, they were
not an expansionist civilization.
The Incas only entered the Valley
in 1480 and dominated this area
for 50 years before being defeated
by the Spanish. In 1534, the
Conquistadores arrived in the
region and imposed heavy taxes
and compulsory catholicism. The
spirituality and ceremonies of the
Diaguitas were prohibited along
with their language, the kakan.
Amancay House. 

23

“Two chiefs Calchaqui and Chelemin
united the tribes of the valley and lead
a 130 year-old rebellion against the
Spanish from 1534 and 1667,” recounts
Sebastian with pride in his eyes. The
last to resist were the Quilmes who
held out to the end in their city.
“This place has a very heavy history,”
he explains. “Entire generations lived
and died in a state of continuous war.”
Approaching the archeological site,
we can observe lots of dry stone walls
following circular or rectangular
patterns, extending from the plain to
the mountain. The circular buildings
used to be places of production and
the rectangular ones were houses.
The walls nearby the entrance were
rebuilt in 1977, under the military
dictatorship.

To see the original city better, we
start to walk up the pucara, the
Indian fortress. The oral tradition of
the Diaguitas says that the Sacred
City is divided in two parts - the
City of Peace and the City of War.
The City of Peace extended toward
the South. It is a flat area ideal for
farming, and where people would
normally live. The City of War is
the pucara, the triangular mountain
we are climbing on. The walls of its
houses served as paths to go up and
find refuge during invasions.

“The reconstruction work was neither
done with scientific rigour nor
historical relevancy, the work was
rough and made for tourist to take
nice pictures” according to Sebastian.

In 1667, after a century of war, and
the deaths of thousands of people,
a Spanish general called Villacorta
ended the rebellion by besieging
the fortress and cutting their access
to water and food. Fleeing women
and children were tortured and
killed, witnessed by the Spanish
bishop Bartholomé de las Casas,
who later denounced these acts as
“human butchery”. The siege turned
into a bloodbath and the city was
never ever inhabited again.

Interestingly enough, many workers
involved in the restoration were
descendants of the native people that
once lived there. They had accepted
the task in order to escape the harsh
work of the sugarcane factories yet
they rarely got paid.

After the native people surrendered,
the official history says that 2000
survivors were forced to march
1500 km to the city of Quilmes
in the province of Buenos Aires.
Only 400 people made it. In the
census of 1810, they do not appear

Spiritual Amaicha

24

anywhere. The archives explain
that women had made “a pact of
non-procreation”. From then on,
the official history considers there
is no more descendants of this
people. However in a 2001 census,
more than 30,000 people claimed
Diaguita origins.
Alternative research and the careful
study of the archives show that not
all the Diaguitas had been displaced
to Buenos Aires. Before the final
surrender at Quilmes, many had
been exiled to Salta, La Rioja,
Catamarca, Cordoba and Santa Fé
to work in vineyards, mines and
cotton plantations. There is even a
town called Calchaqui in Santé Fé
Province. During the siege, the last
Cacique, Ikin, is even said to have had
some Quilmes women and children
escape through the mountains.
A bishop crossing from Chile to
Tucuman in 1710 related how he
encountered tribes, suggesting they
came back to the area 50 years after.
In 1716, the Crown of Spain gave the
remaining Diaguita back 120,000
hectares, including Quilmes, under
the condition they let the mules
and sheep of the governor pasture
freely on their land. They also had
to convert to Catholicism, which
they accepted without never really
abandoning their own spirituality.

Government House of the Amaichas 

Finally reaching the top of the
pucara, I understand how strategic
the fortress was, protected by
the mountain on one side and
offering a spectacular view on
the Calchaqui Valley on the other
side. Contemplating the wonderful
scenery, I see a derelict hotel and its
huge empty swimming pool standing
right inside the surrounding walls of
the Sacred City.
In the 1990’s, in a wave of
privatization, the archeological site
was sold and developed as a tourist
resort. The native community of
Quilmes rose up and decided to
retake the site by force, closing down
the hotel. They now manage the site
and the money from entrance fees
go to micro-credits and educational
projects that benefit the community.
History has somehow managed to
repeat itself. The Amaichas-Quilmes
remain defiant and are nowadays
more organized than ever to protect
and value their rights. Quilmes is more
than a set of historical ruins but a
living example of one people’s ongoing
fight for survival and identity.

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.

Los Negritos

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

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: $120.

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

Los Negritos

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.

La Marchigiana

Katharina Restaurant
Suspended between Heaven & Earth,
in an idyllic setting that resembles
a zen garden, Katharina Restaurant
at the luxurious Entre Cielos Resort
is now open for breakfast, lunch, tea
time or dinner. Argentinian classics are
revisited with an international touch
and all the ingredients are organic and

locally produced with lots of vegetarian
and gluten-free options. Creamy
ginger and pumpkin soup, succulent
sweetbreads with malbec jam and a very
tender grilled lamb with orange flavored
chimichurri. A talented mixologist is on
hand to serve Prickly Pear Cocktail made
with the red fruits of cactus grown on

the property. Thursday and Sundays
are asado nights and cooking cooking
classes are available conducted by the
chef himself.
katharina@entrecielos.com /
Entre Cielos – Guardia Vieja 1998 Vistalba / +54 261 498 33 77

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

Dolium

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

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

Dominio del Plata

Decero

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

Lagarde
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

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

Casarena

Vistalba

A beautiful mix of old and new, this winery
mixes tradition and modernity in an
old style winery with a super modern
restaurant with splendid views of the
vineyarsd and mountains. Brandsen 505,
Perdriel. www.casarena.com.
Tel 2616967848.

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

Ojo de Vino
A modern winery in Agrelo, notable
not just for exceptional wines such
as the Malo Blend, but also the fact its
owner is the Godftaher of Techno, Swiss
musician Dieter Meier. The winery
restaurant Ojo de Agua, has a delighful
setting next to a vineyard lake.
Bajo Las Cumbres S/N. Agrelo. Tel
2615731688. hospitality@ojodevino.com

Carmelo Patti
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.

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

Estrella de los Andes

La Madrid/Durigutti
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

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

MAIPU
Trapiche
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

Ojo de Vino
Oh Yeah!
Anyone who grew up in the eighties
will quickly associate Dieter Meier
with the above title. But what you
may not be aware of however is that
that the very same Swiss artist has
invested in land, cattle and Argentine
Malbec. Ojo de Vino is a medium size
winery that produces organic wines
aged in oak barrels for between 6 and
24 months. The names, colors and
shapes of the bottles may leave you
somewhat bewildered but I suggest
you overcome your prejudices,
uncork, and let yourself be guided by
the purple fairies going out from each
bottle. Located down a dirt road
between vineyards and poplars with
the towering Andes nearby, the
winery’s restaurant “ Ojo de Agua”
offers lunches beneath a cane-roofed
gallery or in an outdoor setting next

to a pond. The chef Jaime Baeza serves
home-made dishes paired with wines
such as Puro, Malo and Super Malo.
Opened from Monday to Sunday. Bajo
LasCumbres s/n. Lujan de Cuyo. Tel:
0261-155731688,jaimeabaeza@gmail.com

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the winery guide
Trivento

Cecchin

Clos de los 7

Located in the bucolic splendour of
southern Maipu, Trivento is owned
by the Chilean Concha y Toro. This
modern winery has a beautiful deck
set amidst the vineyards and offers
bicycle excursions within the property.
Ruta 60 y Canal Pescara, 5517 Maipú,
Mendoza. Tel: 0261 413-7156. www.
trivento.com

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

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

Carinae

O. Fournier

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

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

Tempus Alba

Gimenez Riili

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

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/ 0261-153470392 - Ruta
94 (s/n), Tunuyán. www.gimenezriili.com

Flichman
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

Familia Di Tommasso
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

Familia Zuccardi
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

Lopez
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

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

Andeluna

Domaine Bousquet

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

Another French transplant to the
Andean foothills of Valle de Uco, this
sizeable operation produces high altitude
Chardonnay, Merlot and Malbec and
now has a popular restaurant serving
excellent tasting menu lunches. Ruta 89.
Tupungato. www.domainebousquet.com
Tel 2615274048

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.

Atamisque

AMP Cava

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

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

Rutini / La Rural
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

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Bodega Masi

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

La Azul

Finca La Celia
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

Salentein
Designed like a temple to wine, this ultraconcept 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

The Vines of Mendoza
There are not many wineries that can
claim 300 different labels, but then again
The Vines is no ordinary winery. It is best
described as a cooperative of wine lovers
around the World who have all bought a
vineyard plot each in Uco Valley and are
making their own wine in a central winery
with experts such as Santiago Achaval
overseeing. Add to this a fabulous 5-star
hotel and Francis Mallman restaurant and
Uco Valley will never be the same again.
Ruta 94, Tunuyan. Tel 261 461 3900

SAN MARTIN
Familia Antonietti
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.
MATIAS DOWN TOWN
Victorian style decor and multiple ales to choose from is
enough to soothe the nostalgia of any barfly foreigners.
Downtown Matias is part of a successful beer chain starting
in Buenos Aires in 1973 and now with bars as far as San
Martin de los Andes in Patagonia. Mendoza’s version is right
in the heart of beer street and ideal for a sidewalk stop-off or
some serious high stool imbibing inside. Aristides 198.
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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