Posted by: Dave | February 20, 2009

Mendoza (Wine Country) & Back to Buenos Aires

Aconcagua - the tallest peak outside of the Himalayas - towers over the Andes and Mendoza

Aconcagua - the tallest peak outside of the Himalayas - towers over the Andes and Mendoza

Mendoza is a great city.  And the wines of the region are great. And cheap. That´s actually been a consistent theme in Argentina – food and drink are on the (very) cheap side. At Alta Vista winery, one of the most well respected in Argentina, their very best wine – a 95 Wine Spectator ranking – goes for only US$90.   But the real value is seen in the fantastic wines that we have been buying for 30 Pesos… or US$8-9. Amazing Malbecs and Cabernets for what would easily be US$60 or so in the States. The food is similarly priced. Last night (now back in Buenos Aires) we visited a neighborhood parilla… which basically is an all-you can eat steak and meat fest… with a price of ARG$31 (US$9)!!! Of course, that doesn´t include the beverages… and our great bottle of wine was ARG$26 (US$8) and it was buy one get one free. HA! I can´t imagine what a $4 bottle of wine would be at home… Boone´s Farm?

Wine tasting was an adventure.. we drove to some wineries and did a bike tour to others. The experience differed from vineyard to vineyard and I think our collective favorite was Norton, as we got a private tour for no apparent reason. We did a tasting in the wine cellar… and, of course, the wines were phenomenal. Wine tasting tip of the day: go late in the day, and the guide will bring out a glass for herself and choose a better wine for you/her to drink. 

The private collection at Norton.

The private collection at Norton.

Plenty of vino aging in Norton´s cellars

Plenty of vino aging in Norton´s cellars

Norton´s barrel room

Norton´s barrel room

1974 Malbec. For sale possibly later this year. Such a special year... nothing bad could have been born that year.

1974 Malbec. For sale possibly later this year. Such a special year... nothing bad could have been born that year.

In an attempt to avoid the wino designation, I will point out that we left Mendoza early to head back to Buenos Aires. The motivation was primarily fatigue. Mendoza was an overall great experience – awesome city, great wines and a fantastic hostel – but all that time on the road in Patagonia took its toll.  Before jumping ahead to Buenos Aires, here are a few more pics from the time in Mendoza. Yes they mostly revolve around wine.

Vines everywhere...

Vines everywhere...

This is a normal street in downtown Mendoza

This is a normal street in downtown Mendoza

Hamburger for lunch in Chacras de Coria, outside of Mendoza. Yes that´s an olive, an egg and ham on the Hamburguesa Especial.

Hamburger for lunch in Chacras de Coria, outside of Mendoza. Yes that´s an olive, an egg and ham on the Hamburguesa Especial.

I realize that these photos don´t have the drama or aesthetic quality of some of the others that I´ve posted previously. The weather wasn´t perfect in Mendoza for stunning pics of Aconcagua and there wasn´t much beyond the city and the vineyards, but that doesn´t take away from Mendoza.  It´s definitely a city I would recommend to anyone traveling to Argentina.

But then back to the craziness that is Buenos Aires. It was a 10 hour drive, but at least this was on paved roads and highways.  I need to write a post about driving… it has been in adventure in Argentina.

The return to Buenos Aires brought a return to humidity. Yesterday was 95 and humid and today there is a full-on thunderstorm (hence all the time in the internet cafe).  I took the opportunity yesterday to walk down to La Boca, a neighborhood that is known for colorful buildings and as the home of  arguably the most popular soccer team in South America – Boca Juniors. Argentina is the home to many European immigrants and their decendents, most of which of Italian or Spanish decent. La Boca was a popular destination for Italian immigrants, and their work in the shipyards often led to bringing home extra cans of paint with which they painted their homes and gave the cartoonish feel that has been maintained today.

On the street of La Boca.

On the streets of La Boca.

Cafe in La Boca.

Cafe in La Boca.

Kids playing soccer in La Boca, just a block from La Bombonera.

Kids playing soccer in La Boca, just a block from La Bombonera.

Homes in La Boca

Homes in La Boca

More La Boca homes

More La Boca homes

La Bombonera, which means "The Chocolate Box" - home of Boca Juniors.

La Bombonera, which means "The Chocolate Box" - home of Boca Juniors.

This afternoon I start another adventure… an 18 hour bus ride to Iguazu Falls, way up in the northeast corner of the country, near the Brazilian and Paraguyan borders. I´m really excited about this part of my trip… I´ve been looking forward to going to here since I first learned of the falls on Planet Earth a couple of years ago. If you´re not familiar with Iguazu Falls, click here, or just wait for my post and pics. Hopefully I get good weather and get the chance to get some great photos. I´m really excited about this.

I return to Buenos Aires on Tuesday, then leave Wednesday for Cusco, Peru to get ready for the trek to Machu Picchu.

Thanks for checking in!

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Responses

  1. mmm winerys and toon town! love these pics!!

  2. No Boca home game in town? Looks like the trip has been amazing so far; I’m officially jealous… : )

  3. I was in Mendoza last summer, and I have to say that the wine prices are extremely cheap, if we compare with the prices in US, but anyway prices is not the only “impresive thing” in Mendoza. They have amazing landscapes, excellent food and of course high quality wines wherever you go.
    I enjoyed a lot the trip thanks to Mendoza Holidays, , a boutique travel agency, who specializes unique, high quality, intimate wine tours. I definitely recommend them.


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