No visit to Mendoza, Argentina would be complete without enjoying the more than 1200 bodegas (wine yards)…
So I stayed at a wine yard (Villa Nueva) and also visited two other wine yards for tastings. At Villa Nueva, it was kind of private lodging, and the young and very pleasant couple took good care of me – I was the only guest for the 2 days (one night)… So we had a true argentinan dinner with guacamole and bread as starter, a 500g beef steak prepared over open fire as main course – of course in the company of the house own wine from the very wine ranks a few meters away, and pancakes with dulce leche (caramel) as dessert…
We had a great time, and talked into the wee hours… Highly recommended. The house is old, but this is a MUST DO experience in Mendoza.
The wine tasting was two very different experiences: Alta Vista – a small wine yard, but very good wine. And Norton, a mainstream wineyard – now owned by Swarovski – yes the guy with crystal jewelry…
Alta Vista was a great small wine yard, and phenomenal wines. Their top wine, ALTO, gt 95 pts. of of 100 by Robert Parker and is ranked as top 5 world wide! I tasted it, and understand, why the charge USD 70 per bottle directly at the winery… There are only 2000 bottles made yearly. Alta Vista also have other wines, and produce a few million liters per year total.
Norton is big. Very big. They produce 15 million liters yearly, and are known for reasonable priced wines – here in Argentina you can buy one in a restaurant for app. 6 USD – and it is good too. At Norton the tasting has a few surprises:
1. We first tasted a very young wine – directly from the steel tank. The wine was just made and had aggressive alcohol and tanin
2. We then tasted the wine after 6 months on a wood barrel. Again using a pipette to get the wine from the barrel. Fun. The taste was much better
3. Lastly we tried the same wine after full 12 months of ageing in the wood barrel. This time from a bottle… Spectacular (for the price; USD 7)
After the 6-7 glasses of wine, I became very tired… And good too, for I still had to enjoy lunch. My guide – with danish decend and who spoke fluently danish, arranged a true Argentinan parilla for me… All the meat I could eat.
DEAL: I got all kind of weird things, like the jaw of a cow, intestines, saussages, ribs, rib muscle etc… A fun and somewhat different experience.