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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Sun Will Come Out, Mañana...

At least we hope it will.  Although now that I'm writing this the sun is actually poking it's nose out for the first time this week.  It has been a dreary, windy, cloudy few days and although the temperature hasn't been too cold (around 55F) the way people are bundled up it's easy to see that it's wintertime in Buenos Aires.  Why so concerned about tomorrow's weather?  That's because bright and early we're flying out to Mendoza for an action packed weekend of winery and Andes Mountain tours and our agenda has no wiggle room for the kind of weather delays we experienced the last time we flew out of Aeroparque Jorge Newberry.

I received so many great tips from people that had already visited Mendoza that we were not able to fit all we wanted into our 4 day trip, so this post is a compilation of all of the recommendations we received, and which ones we decided to book for ourselves.  I will certainly post my personal recommendations after our trip, until then, here's the whole kitten caboodle.

Mendoza is located ~650 miles west (and slightly north) of Buenos Aires right next to that crazy strip of land some call Chili.  For those (like me) not particularly great with their South American geography, the Andes Mountains provide a nice dividing line between Argentina and Chili, so Mendoza is also situated right in/next to the Andes Mountains.  This area of Argentina is best known for it's production of over 70% of Argentina's wines, like all of those delicious Malbecs that are oh-so-popular in the US these days.  This is the main reason that we chose this destination.  Add in the amazing mountain views, skiing, white water rafting, climbing, shopping and an adorable quaint city and you get a whole boatload of reasons to visit Mendoza. 

I'll start with our plans:

We arrive in Mendoza (the airplane gods willing...) on Thursday morning and  check into our hotel at the Plaza Italia B&B.  Our friends Anso and Paul stayed at this quaint B&B in May and had wonderful things to say about the accommodations, the owners and the location of this hotel in the center of town. 

After we check-in, we begin our first tour with a company called Uncorking Argentina.  Uncorking Argentina was a raving recommendation from another expat family, Heather and Jonathan, that just made this trip earlier this year.  So far the owner, Carolyn, and our contact, Gilda, have been ambitious and accommodating.   My original email was to request a 1-day mountain tour and they wrote me back with a full 4-day itinerary including transfer to and from the airport.  We worked with them to trim and alter the agenda to fit our needs and they have happily accommodated each request.  We have a full day of touring wineries with them on Thursday and another full day tour of the Andes Mountains.  Our bodega (winery) tours this day include Luigi Bosca, Terrazas de los Andes and Catena Zapata. They have also made arrangements for us to go stargazing, zip-line canopy touring, attend a wine and tapas party at the Hyatt and to have a chocolate and wine pairing class - delish! 

We will spend Saturday with Javier, the Plaza Italia owner's son.  He has chosen 4 bodegas for us to visit with him:  Domaine St. Diego, Achaval Ferrer, Ruca Malen & Norton.  This tour was also an Anso & Paul recommendation.

Other things that were recommended that won't work out this time:
  • Skiing/Snowboarding with any company/shop on Las Heras Street.
  • White Water Rafting and Jerome's Brewery with Uncorking Argentina.
  • Fly Fishing, Mountain and Wine Tours:  Trout & Wine
  • Renting Bikes through Mr. Hugo.  Apparently there are a zillion bike rental companies but Mr. Hugo is the best.  I really think it's just a dude that rents bikes - that's not even a company name.  
  • Anything through the Vines of Mendoza
We also found some great bodega reviews through the Wine Republic a free magazine and website in English that tells you about each bodega, its distance from town and their rating of each place (the ratings are in number of wine glasses, of course). 

Needless to say that we are super excited about this trip.  We will have lots of pictures and information to share when we return.  Cheers! 

1 comment:

  1. Stank and BlakelyJuly 8, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    We hope you have a great time!!