Back in 2008, after living in Costa Rica for about 2 years, we got the itch that it was time to move on. But where to go?? We decided to leave our home during the rainy season and check out South America hoping something would light the spark in our minds for where to move to next. It sure did and we ended up moving to Buenos Aires about 6 months later. This post, first written in 2008, tells of our winery tours during our first trip to Mendoza!!
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The main purpose for picking Mendoza as an area to visit while in Argentina was simple. Mendoza, according to Fodor’s “is the heart and soul of Argentina’s wine country, where European settlers introduced the ancient craft of winemaking in the 19th century.”
We knew this was a place for us.
Alberto & Maria Gracia, the husband and wife team of proprietors of Casa Glebinias, helped arrange a driver for us and also made reservations at a number of wineries in the Lujan de Cuyo area. The following morning our driver, Fernando, arrived promptly and we were on our way.
As these were to be our first tastings in Mendoza, Alberto and Maria Gracia highly recommended lunch and a tour at Ruca Malen as well as a stop at Alta Vista. We decided to add a third bodega for the day and chose Louigi Bosca, a wine we have even tasted and highly enjoyed here in Costa Rica.
While the grounds at Ruca Malen were beautiful, this was really all about the food. We took a short tour around the bodega but the highlight truly was when we were seated at our table which overlooked the vineyards. With the sun and shadows on our faces, we enjoyed the gorgeous views of vineyards, mountains and white puffy clouds, all while enjoying their exceptional food.
On the menu were the following courses, each paired with one their signature wines:
1. Yauquen Chardonnay 2007 served with rolls made of grilled onions, fresh cheese and lemon, parsley and olive oil.
2. Yauquen Malbec 2007 served with warm croquettes made of grilled pumpkin with Malbec sediments.
3. Ruca Malen Merlot 2005 served with sun dried tomato and carrot risotto with pesto made of dried figs, nuts and fresh parsley.
4 & 5. Ruca Malen Carbernet Sauvignon 2005 and their Kinien Malbec 2004, both served with the grilled beef tenderloin served with a sweet potato puree, potato chips and eggplants with a black pepper and rosemary sauce.
Over dessert of a delicate mousse of Dulce de leche and cream cheese we started talking with the table next to us. And before you knew it. . .we were running late. I think we were in mild food comas and were feeling a bit lazy. It was just so easy to finish our wine and enjoy the view. But not too lazy to buy a bottle of the Ruca Malen Cabernet 2005 on our way out. Unfortunately the bottle never made it home. We actually drank it one night while still as Casa Glebinias. 😀
We still had two more wineries on our agenda that day.
Unfortunately we spent too much time eating, drinking and babbling at Ruca Malen that we missed our scheduled tour at Luigi Bosca. Since Luigi Bosca had been one of our favorites before we even arrived in Argentina, we figured it might still be worth a tasting.
They wouldn’t let us join the tour in progress but they did let us into the tasting room. We tasted the Gala 1 which is a Malbec, Petit Verdot & Tannat blend and a Finca Los Nobles which is a Malbec and Verdot blend. While we didn’t buy any bottles there, we still enjoyed our “pours”. And even without a reservation, we still managed to poke our head around for an impromptu tour.
We were still full from lunch at Ruca Malen and a little buzzed from our tasting at Luigi Bosca, but we had one last stop on our agenda for the day.
This time we were sure to leave with plenty of time as we didn’t want to miss another tour. Next up was Alta Vista.
Alta Vista is part of Edonia, a French family company engaged in the production of high qualities wines in France, Argentina and Hungary. Pretty good lineage. Sounded good to us!!
From a wine, vineyard and tour perspective, it was our favorite of the day. Florencia was our tour guide and she spoke excellent English as well as having a great knowledge of both wine and the bodega. We ended up tasting 5 different wines and even bought 3 bottles for the trip home.
As a matter of fact, the Alta Vista Los Escasos Cabernet 2005 was the first bottle we opened once we got home. We drank it on election night! It was a very tasty celebration.