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Drinking Up Mendoza

Entre Cielos resort

Photo by Florian von der Fecht

View of the garden and vineyard at Entre Cielos resort.

With picture-perfect Andean scenery, a lively capital city, diverse dining and wineries aplenty, Mendoza has grown into a destination for all kinds of travelers. Located in Argentina, the fifth-largest wine producer in the world, Mendoza is home to more than 1,200 wineries and is responsible for 66 percent of Argentina’s wine production. As one of the “Great Wine Capitals,” along with other wine destinations such as Bordeaux, Napa Valley and Porto, Mendoza’s wineries range from renowned winemakers of award-winning malbec to simple garage and foot-press producers. Located in Maipú, Trapiche is Argentina’s largest exported premium brand, and it’s a four-time winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition Argentinian Wine Producer of the Year award. Consisting of more than 1,000 hectares across several vineyards, the winery features an estate that dates back to the late 1880s, when it was originally founded. A tour of the facilities shows the historical quality of the winery, including the glass floor in the tasting room that gives a view into the barrel room below, but also insight into how Trapiche stays modern as it incorporates the latest technology and equipment for the production of its wines. Along with the wine and history, there’s also a few llamas and sheep roaming throughout the backyard of the estate.

With breathtaking views of the Andes from a rooftop terrace, Septima is a young winery that is part of the Codorniu Group from Spain. Located in Luján de Cuyo, Septima makes a range of wines, including a malbec, a cabernet sauvignon blend and a chardonnay. Plan a visit during lunchtime for a delicious five-course meal and wine pairing at the winery’s Maria restaurant. Nearby is the massive Norton Winery. Offering make-your-own-blend activities and cooking classes, the winery—owned by the Swarovski family—lets visitors experience the evolution of the wine industry over the past hundred years through its facilities. Visitors are greeted by one of Norton's specialized guides, who will take them through the winery, offering tastes of some malbecs from the tanks and oak barrels as well as the final product.

In Mendoza city, the Escorihuela Gascón Winery is a traditional winery that was established in 1884 by Spanish immigrant Don Miguel Escorihuela Gascón. It has original stonework that lends a historic and romantic ambiance to the place, as well as a beautiful central garden. Within the estate is a bar that offers a range of unique liquors (such as a matte gin) and 1884 restaurant from renowned chef Francis Mallmann.

In the midwest part of Mendoza is the Uco Valley, an Andean oasis where the sun shines nearly 300 days of the year. Within the valley, in the district of San José de Tupungato, are Routes 86 and 89, known together as the “Wine Route.” Here you’ll find the Atamisque estate and winery. With a golf course, lodging, a trout farm, a restaurant and nature excursions such as horseback riding, Atamisque is a destination in and of itself.

WHERE TO STAY: Tucked away in Mendoza, the luxe Entre Cielos is a contemporary boutique wine resort and spa based at the foothills of the Andes. On the 20-acre grounds of the resort is the main building with 15 rooms and suites, each with its own unique design and theme reflecting different categories of wine. Don’t miss the traditional Argentine asador each week, in which a dozen different meats are cooked outside on an open fire. There’s also a traditional hammam spa onsite, the first and only one in Latin America, which features services such as a grape-seed exfoliation and a grape extract wine bath.

WHERE TO EAT: Near Entre Cielos is Brindillas restaurant, which features a diverse menu of local and international cuisine as well as sophisticated and chic décor. And in the city of Mendoza at 1884, Francis Mallmann’s restaurant in the historic Escorihuela winery, you can enjoy a range of tasty fare cooked in the courtyard grill and clay oven. Mallmann and head chef Dan Alterman focus on grilled meats and fish, such as slow-cooked Patagonian lamb, that you can enjoy in the lovely space.

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