Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wine Tourism in Mendoza

(Para leer esta nota en castellano, haga clic aquí)

Forbes Magazine claims that the “American elite” no longer are seeking to go to the traditional vacation spots (London, Paris, Rome, Hawaii). So where are they going now? Argentina!

“In Argentina, the cognoscenti indulge their oenophile instincts in Mendoza, a vineyard-rich region about two hours by plane from Buenos Aires. With Argentina's wine receiving international attention and luxury hotels like Cavas Wine Lodge, which opened in late 2005, offering upscale accommodations, travelers are finding this a worthwhile region to visit.”

The trend-setters were of course the oenophiles and “sophistonauts” who already knew Napa like the back of their hand and had been to France and Italy. The combination of the peso’s devaluation in 2002 and the dollar’s continued weakness in comparison to the euro has created the opportunity to get to know a new part of the world and a new wine region. Entrepreneurs in Mendoza have responded with more upscale accommodations tailored to the sophistonauts. The Forbes article mentions Cavas Wine Lodge, but I thought I’d mention a few others that offer a luxury experience.

Most wine tourists who travel to Mendoza want to spend a couple days in Buenos Aires. I can highly recommend 1555 Malabia House (pictured at the left), located in the trendy Palermo SoHo neighborhood. My brother stayed there last December and absolutely loved it. The staff is extremely friendly, breakfast is made to order every morning, it is within walking distance of a lot of great restaurants, and the rooms are very nice. It is also an excellent deal, with their smallest rooms going for US$140 a night.

If you’re an oenophile, you might want to try the Mansión Vitraux boutique hotel and wine lounge in San Telmo. I don’t have any personal experience with it, but its relatively new and is in a neighborhood that is within walking distance to the Plaza de Mayo (home to the Casa Rosada, the Central Bank, the Economic Ministry, the original town hall, etc). There are also some good restaurants in San Telmo and the best antique shopping in Buenos Aires.

One other boutique hotel I’ve heard good things about is Bobo, which, like 1555 Malabia House, is in Palermo.

For the most comprehensive English-language restaurant reviews in Buenos Aires, check out Dan Perlman’s Saltshaker blog. In addition to running one of the new family-style, closed-door restaurants, he is also a sommelier, which is evident in his reviews.

Once you get to Mendoza after the two hour flight, you have a number of options. The most luxurious is the aforementioned Cavas Wine Lodge (pictured at the right). If you aren’t willing to spend 300 dollars a night for a double, don’t go to their website because you will be tempted to make a reservation. There is a vineyard on site and rooms overlook the Andes. It looks spectacular.

A good website to check out is This is a collection of high-end hotels, wineries, and restaurants that have formed a loose alliance. You can’t go wrong with any of the places that are listed there.

To conclude, here's a quick rundown of some of the "Best Of Mendoza":

Hotel Piscis Las Lenas
If you are a ski bum, come here in July to carve the southern hemisphere snow.

Estancia Rancho’e Cuero
If you want to feel like a gaucho during the day and be pampered at night, this ranch is for you.

Bodega Salentein
For those who want to sleep with the vines (pictured at the right).

Park Hyatt Mendoza

Located in the city of Mendoza, you can’t go wrong with this beautiful hotel.

Article: "Status-Symbol Trips." By Shivani Vora. May 23, 2007.
Image 1: 1555 Malabia House.
Image 2: Cavas Wine Lodge.
Image 3: Bodega Salentein.


Anonymous said...

I'd also include in the Mendoza list a lunch at Carlos Pulenta. I dream about their Sauvignon Blanc & Malbec Rosé :)

Your post made me think of all the wine bars in BA that have come & gone. It seems to be a trend that never really took off here. Of course Gran Bar Danzón is still around, but most of the other places have tanked. I can think of 4 in the last year off the top of my head. Winery is the only place that has had some success. I'd love to see another Milión-type place open with better service & a good wine list. You should do that :)

Jess said...

Hi!I'd also considered a private wine tour around one of Mendoza's hottest wine regions, Luján de Cuyo, organized by Mendoza Holidays (, a local travel agency who specialized on intimate wine tours. Don't hesitate to contact them and be ready to experience the authentic savor and aroma of Mendoza wine country!

Camila said...

If you go to Mendoza, you will find the best wine in the world. They say that it is even better than the one made in California. The good thing is that if you go there, you can stay in an "estancia", which is a place in the middle of the field where you can see the grapes grow and how they turn them into wine. When I went there, I felt that after so much nature I needed a little of urban life so I rented furnished apartments in buenos aires and felt more like at home. Though I did buy some wines in Mendoza that I took back home in order to show people how good they are!