Argentina – Wine Testing in Mendoza & Horseback Riding in Cordoba
Mendoza by Mai 10, a Virtuoso affiliated tour company, was our host for this portion of the trip. During my three days in amazing Mendoza, I followed Mendoza’s wine-route, tasted the famed Argentina wines, indulged in the finest culinary, and experienced fun outdoor activities at the Foothills of the majestic Andes. Region of Mendoza has so much to offer; over 900 wineries, fabulous landscapes for outdoor activities, great weather – with 320 days of sun a year- and very friendly people are just some of the irresistible aspects of the region.
I arrived in Mendoza from Santiago on LAN Airways which was short 45-minute flight. The first stop was Cavas Wine Lodge, the charming Relais & Châteaux property, located just 26 miles from the airport.
The lodge has a prime spot in Luján de Cuyo and it is set in its own 55-acre vineyard with stunning view of the mountains and vineyards. The main building is a luxurious combination of dining areas, a comfortable lounge, small pool, wine tasting room and spa. Private adobe-style villas are scattered among vineyards and have everything for clandestine relaxation.
All rooms face west with spectacular views of the Andes Mountain Range and amazing sunsets in the evening. After a lovely afternoon at Cavas which included a cooking class where we learned how to make empanadas. We then proceeded to Uco Valley known particularly for its Malbec red wines. Then we departed for Case de Uco, which was a one-hour drive.
Casa de Uco is eco-friendly modern hotel, sheltered in a 320-acre vineyard estate overlooking the snow-capped Andes Mountains, this 16-room resort is an oasis of modernist concrete-and-glass exteriors and interiors, filled with wood, auburn leather, and sand-colored linen.
The hotel offers wide range of indoor and outdoor activities; cooking classes, wine and olive oil tastings, mountain biking, trekking, sunrise horseback ride in the Andes, paragliding, net fishing and white-water rafting. Everyone can find something exciting to do.
One of the more memorable activities was Vineyard wine tasting and harvesting which is a very hands on activity. Although my favorite activity was a morning bike ride throughout the vineyards. If you are meat lover their Sunset Barbecue at the vineyards should not be missed!
After two nights at the Case de Uco, we have arrived at the amazing Vines Resort and Spa. It is only a 10 minute car ride or 20 minute bike ride, which was my preferred transportation (luggage arrived by car). The Vines is a top resort in Uco Valley, very modern with fabulous amenities, state of the art winery, fabulous villas, and amazing views.
Their spa, gym and pool are excellent. The 22 villas, One Bedroom and Two bedroom are big and luxurious, have spacious living rooms, spa-style bathrooms, modern kitchenettes, and outdoor patios with electric pits.
Dinning at the Siete Fuego (Seven Fires) Restaurant was a feast at the enormous chef’s table on the scenic patio among the seven fires. You can dine indoors or out, or enjoy a front row seat in the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs creating inspired regional dishes, showcasing Argentina’s famous beef and exceptional wines. Our lunch and dinner were both amazing!
The Vines offers variety of activities within the resort and outside. I truly enjoyed wine blending including label making, it is fun and great learning experience.
Cordoba by Aliwen Incoming, was our host for this segment of the trip. We arrived in Cordoba from Buenos Aires. The flight is 1 hour 15 minutes. Cordoba is located in the center of the country and it is the name of the province as well as its capital. Main purpose for my visit, to this part of Argentina, was Estancia Los Potreros. Estancia is a family owned authentic working cattle ranch, located about 45 minutes from the airport.
Estancia Los Potreros has an ideal location for a horseback riding trip. It is a 6,000-acre ranch secluded on top of the Sierra Chicas at an altitude of 3,000 feet and located between the pampas and the Andes in the heart of the Cordoba region. It has remained in the same family for four generations. Our hosts and owners of the estancia Kevin and Lou were extremely welcoming. Their motto is “Nothing Without Friendship” and you feel you are among friends. Kevin’s family is originally from Scotland, so the estancia has a very European feel. The property has seven bedrooms with private bathrooms, authentically decorated giving the place a special atmosphere. Lunches and dinners are taken together at a ‘family’ table and are hosted by Kevin or Lou or both. Dishes are European in style, varied and delicious, with local flavors. You’ll get to experience the traditional Argentine ‘asado’ or barbeque, plus freshly baked bread and homemade dishes All supplemented by the estancia’s beef and organically grown vegetables, fruit and free-range eggs. Afternoon tea is served on the veranda.
If your passion is horseback riding, bird-watching, exploring scenic walking trails or simply relaxing among local tradition and culture you are in right place. I spent most of my time riding horses, moving cattle between pastures, learning about day to day gaucho life and playing Polo for the first time in my life!