While the delicious wine in Mendoza often steals the show, its culinary scene definitely deserves more love. Head over to South America to sample sumptuous meals, paired with exquisite wines in this picturesque town in the foothills of the Andes. By Shrimayee Thakur
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Argentina’s biggest wine region, Mendoza, is well-known for the Malbec wine it produces, in three wine producing areas, the Uco Valley or Valle de Uco, the newest wine region in the area, Maipu, which is the wine region closest to the city and Lujan de Cuyo, which is considered to be the region where wine began in Mendoza. All three have excellent wineries, such as Achaval Ferrer, committed to producing small quantities of fine red wine, and Ruca Malen, which is a delight to visit at lunchtime, where visitors will be treated to a five-course meal with wine pairings in Lujan de Cuyo; Salentein, built in the shape of a cross, and Andeluna Cellars, offering special tastings of their Reserve, Limited Reserve and Grand Reserve wines in Valle de Uco; Trapiche, which has won awards for its excellent wines and is known internationally, and Bodega Tapiz, which offers a horse-drawn carriage ride through its vineyards in Maipu.
All three regions produce slightly different varieties of wine, adding a touch of uniqueness to the produced wine. Public transports to many places are not available. Visitors can rent cars or choose from various wine tours offered by tour companies.
Apart from its wine, Argentina is also known for asado, a grilling technique that involves slow-cooking meat over glowing embers. Requiring a lot of patience, as there is no gas or lighter fluid involved, it is very different from a barbeque in its technique. One of the best places to sample this would be the Siete Fuegos restaurant at the luxurious Vines of Mendoza Resort in Valle de Uco. This is where Francis Mallman, one of South America’s leading chefs, and his crew blend seven rustic ways of cooking with fire. One of the specialities at Siete Fuegos is a nine-hour slow-grilled ribeye. He also has another restaurant a little outside town, called Francis Mallmann 1884, which infuses local cuisine with a modern twist.
Another great place to visit is Bodega Casarena, where once a week at 9 PM on Saturday, South Korean Chef Mun combines Asian and Argentinian flavours to produce a delectable five-course meal, served along with Casarena wines.
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Great food, excellent wine and a breathtaking view of the Andes come together in this charming cosmopolitan city to create a vacation experience like no other!