CATHY BROWN’S EXPERT ADVICE ON MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
48 hours in Mendoza – where to stay, eat and explore?
I would head straight to Valle de Uco and check-in to a 1-bedroom villa at The Vines of Mendoza. In a whirlwind 48 hours, you could eat an expertly cooked ‘ojo de bife’ (ribeye steak) at Francis Mallmann’s Siete Fuegos restaurant, do a very fun and hands-on wine blending class with a Vines wine expert, bicycle or walk to nearby bodegas such as SuperUco and Solo Contigo for tastings, and venture into the Andes for a sunset horseback ride. You would still have time to unwind in your private outdoor stone bathtub overlooking a lagoon, with frogs and crickets serenading you as you sip on a crisp Recuerdo Torrontes.
Perfect initiation into the flavours of Argentina?
A leisurely 4- or 6 -course dinner at Gimenez Rilli, the small Valle de Uco restaurant of a fourth generation winemaking family. Very traditional Argentine foods are incorporated into the tasting menu, such as grilled provoleta, asado, and corn empanadas – simple and reflective of Argentine culture, and paired with incredible wines throughout.
For wine connoisseurs, how do you impress them in Mendoza?
I would send them straight to Matervini, the fairly new passion project of Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso (who in the past worked together to create the mind-blowing wines of Achaval Ferrer). They’ve since sold Achaval Ferrer and teamed up to push the bounds of the Malbec grape in a very playful way. They are growing Malbec in surprising terroirs and altitudes, just to see what happens. They have the unquestionable expertise to then craft from those grapes some of the highest quality, unique Malbec coming out of Argentina. While they are both huge names in the wine world, you can often find them lounging at Matervini, sharing stories and making themselves genuinely available to guests.