During my adventures through South America this January, I knew that Mendoza, Argentina was definitely a place that I wanted to visit. I love wine, and I LOVE Malbec. I could picture myself sipping Malbec all day, gazing out at the vast landscapes and beautiful Andes mountains. It was exactly as I had envisioned it.
We stayed at an absolute gem of a place in the Uco Valley, which is two hours south of the actual city of Mendoza, where the airport is. Casa De Uco is a vineyard and wine resort located at the foot of the Andes. It's quaint and quiet, yet modern and inviting. The staff was extremely attentive and personable. And come on, the views are stunning. When we drove up through the vineyards and saw the resort, we were immediately excited and greeted with warm smiles.
The staff at Casa De Uco basically work with you to personalize your stay based on the things you want to do and experiences you want to have. Apart from the many wineries around the Uco Valley, you can picnic in the resort's vineyards, wine taste in the cellar, bike ride or horseback ride through the vineyards, pamper yourself at the spa, or relax in the jacuzzi with some sparkling rose. There are many fun things to do to keep yourself occupied.
My absolute most memorable day in Mendoza started with the delicious breakfast and coffee at Casa De Uco. The staff set up a driver for us that took us to two different wineries. The first was Domaine Bousquet. We had a six-course lunch and wine tasting that was out of this world good. They paired each of the wines we tasted with each course, and it was one of the best meals I've ever had. And it was very affordable based on the food and experience. This place is a must! After Domaine Bousquet, we drove to a larger winery called Salentein where we tasted more delicious wine with amazing views of the Andes.
One thing that I realized after visiting some of the wineries in Mendoza is that you should call ahead. I'm used to wine tasting in Napa Valley where you can just show up to the different wineries you want to taste at, and thats all you have to do. We were told by the staff at our resort that the wineries aren't always open and that appointments should be made ahead.
As if the day couldn't get any better, when we got back to Casa De Uco, we had a wine tasting with the sommelier in the cellar. The night may or may not have ended with a dance party in the cellar!
After our stay at Casa De Uco, we drove back up to Mendoza and spent the night in the city to dine at 1884. I'm not sure if you've heard of Chef's Table, but it's a short series on Netflix that highlights six chefs from around the world who are doing something amazing in their field. One of those chef's who was featured has a restaurant in Mendoza called 1884, and my husband made absolute sure that we ate there. He went as far as emailing the restaurant to ask if he could cook with Francis Mallmann himself. Side note, although it didn't happen in Mendoza, we went to another one of his restaurants in Punta Del Este, Uruguay, and low and behold, Francis Mallmann was there the night we dined. We had the pleasure of sharing conversation and champagne with him on the day of my birthday. It was amazing! Anyway, our experience at 1884 was a delicious and memorable one. We were able to choose our wine after visiting the cellar, and the meat was insanely good. Mendoza was a definite highlight of my time in Argentina!