Mendoza, Argentina

With some difficulty we found our hotel, Finca Adalgisa in the suburb of Mendoza, Corea de Chacras. Leaving Valle Fertil, one has to find Mendoza - no easy task in Argentina, as virtually no road signs exist, and not even many road numbers. Anyway after a few stops to ask the way, we got to Mendoza. It then transpired that our hotel was in a suburb 12 km from the city centre. Then, having found the suburb, and the road that the hotel was in, we found that the hotel did not have a hotel sign up - tricky. But we found it eventually, and had to convince the receptionist that we really did have a room booked. Once we got past that point, then things started looking up.

It was a lovely hotel, with very good staff. They sorted us out with 3 good suggestions for winery visits and booked them for us.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to get a larger photo

Finca Adalgisa Boutique Hotel

This charming boutique hotel is the original family home of the present (and hands on) owner, converted into a small hotel, and set in a 2 hectare vineyard. They produce their own wines.

Our room, in the Stone House, was large, and had a separate sitting area with a open log fire (they lay it for you each day, you just light it when and if you want). It was warm, and well decorated. A pleasure to be in.

Breakfast was first class, with lots of fresh fruits, breads, cold meats and cheeses. The coffee was freshly made for you (it really should not be necessary to say this, but most hotels fall down on this simple thing, but not here)

They supply a really good tapas and glass of wine each night (included in room price). You enjoy that in the bodega, in front of a roaring wood fire ( actually the room has 3 fires, so you get your own fire to sit at)

We had their barbecue one evening - it is by local standards expensive, but is authentic, includes all you want to drink of their excellent wine, and I thought represented excellent value for money. The meat is grilled over charcoal, and brought round a plate at a time for you to have or decline each time a different cut is ready to serve. You sit at a big table - there were 8 of us there that night - and it was a really nice setting and opportunity to meet fellow travelers.

The staff are particularly good/friendly/helpful. They tell you which vineyards you might like, based on what sort you want to see (we wanted to see small ones) and will phone through to get a reservation and a time for you to visit.

It is not an easy place to find - you need to download instructions from their web site. The suburb of Mendoza in which they are situated is 12 km from the centre. Then you have to find their road, and know the number of the road that is their address (they are discreet to the point that there is no sign to say they are a hotel) When we finally arrived, they seemed a bit chary about admitting us - however once admitted, things ran very smoothly

Carinae Vinedos & Bodega. I have visited wineries in just about every wine producing country and found Carinae particularly interesting and informative. In addition they have a "passion" for what they are doing, and this came across in the tour. Another plus is that Brigitte, the owner doing the tour, speaks Spanish with the most wonderful French accent, but I digress.

We went round with 2 couples from Buenos Aires, who knew little about wine, so it needed a certain amount of skill by Brigitte to keep us all entertained.

With the tour and the tasting we were there nearly an hour and a half. You can chose your own selection of wines to taste, and price depends on quality of wine chosen. I enjoyed my tasting and thought that it was well presented

As we were off back to Europe the next day we could not buy much of their wine, but have brought back a bottle of their sweet wine, which we hope to enjoy soon in Spain.

I would certainly recommend this winery for a tour

Bodega Pulmary . This bodega has the advantage of being actually in the town of Chacras.

Pulmary winery is a boutique (40,000 bottles/year) organic winery that looks very nondescript from the street.  Our tour was with Diana, the owner/winery director.  The tour started with an introduction to their concrete fermentation tanks, which was followed by a tasting glass of Malbec pulled directly from the tank spigot.  We followed that up with a similarly drawn Cab Sav.  We spent about an hour and a half with Diana who was very knowledgeable on wines, vineyard production, and winery operations. We had a few doubts about the suitability of their son to take over the operation: when we saw him he gave the impression that he really did not like tourists walking round the place.

       

Clos de Chacras. We had their tour of the bodega, and followed this with lunch in their excellent restaurant

The tour is a bit on the commercialised side, but is well done. For example they have restored the old cellars, and very atmospheric they are too. I guess one of the problems with wine tours in Mendoza is that the punters have had an overload of tours, and need perhaps a different form of entertainment as this winery provides. Our guide was very knowledgeable and gave us a good tour

With the tour complete we retired to their very comfortable restaurant, and selected their 5 course tasting menu. Each course comes with a different one of their wines, and the waitress explains both the food and the wine to you. Although it is expensive by local standards, it was exceptional value for money.

I thought that the quality of the food, the wine and the presentation were exceptionally good. I really enjoyed my meal here and would recommend the restaurant without hesitation. .

El Mercadito. We needed somewhere to eat on the Sunday nightwe arrived, and we ended up eating at this restaurant which was near our hotel. We were probably put off by the indifferent reception we got when we arrived. The staff were certainly well short of "charming", and in fact did not really seem to like customers. They certainly did not live up to their motto "Friendly and Fresh"

The food was average. In other words nothing to complain about, but nothing memorable either. The decor was average, and the music loud (we had to ask for it to be turned down)

Overall average. There are better places to eat in Chacras de Corea than El Mercadito

And from Mendoza it was back over the Andes to Chile and Santiago Airport

Holiday in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina