Just Back From: Argentina
The blue skies combined with a big celebration sent us straight from New York to Mendoza. It seemed dauntingly far, however the overnight flight from New York to Buenos Aries couldn’t have been easier, then the quick transfer up to Mendoza. The Vines is magically nestled at the foot of the Andes in the Uco Valley, a gorgeous hotel surrounded by vineyards and vegetable gardens. Truly stunning and picturesque, the hotel is a modern serene experience. Each room is a private villa scattered around the main hotel building. Hours can be spent sitting at the pool, sipping some of Mendoza’s finest wines, many of which are made on site. If you were ever interested in owning a vineyard, the Vines makes this simple. Once deciding your level of involvement you may choose to grow your own grapes, bottle your own wine alongside of some of the most sought after Argentinian wine makers. If however, you are like us we just enjoyed the fruits of other’s labour.
Our mornings were filled with exercise and hiking and wine tasting. We hiked with the very knowledgeable Eduardo at the foot of the Andes. He knew everything about the flora and fauna, as well as being a very knowledgable garage wine maker. (Meaning he actually produces good drinkable sought after wine from his actual garage.) Lunch was at Andeluna, another perfectly positioned vineyard where we were able to pair delicious wines with lunch. Over the course of a few days we visited several vineyards, all of which ran us through their different specialities. The wines mostly concentrating on Malbec and if we were lucky the Cabernet Francs, we tasted at the Lujan de Cuyo, Benegas, Salenteine and Ruca Malen Vineyards were delicious. If you do go to Ruca Malen do not miss the tasting pairing menu, its quite an experience however perhaps try not to do it the same day as the Siete Fuegos Experience back at the Vines. Both of Francis Mallmann’s tasting menus are exceptional and neither should be missed. But be warned, don’t expect to be able to do too much else if you do end up doing both on one day. The “Siete Fuegos” or Seven Fires experience is Mallmann’s collection of open flamed cooking techniques inspired by the Argentine gauchos where he showcases 9-hour slow grilled rib eye, salt encrusted salmon, and grilled fruits just to mention a small sample of what we actually ate. Every mouthful was exceptional, Mendoza was truly a culinary experience.
After three nights in Mendoza we headed back to Buenos Aires for two nights, where we stayed at the Palacio Duhau Hotel, based very centrally in the fashionable Recoleta district. The Palacio owned by the Park Hyatt has everything one needs, good gym, great pool, big breakfasts and even better cocktails. From here we did a private three-hour city tour arranged by the hotel which was very worth it. Sometimes these tours seem unappealing but this one was a good way to get to see the city’s highlights. From the hotel we were able to walk around easily after the tour finished and walk up to visit the Cemetery, this was one of the highlights of the city tour. The Cemetery is quite extraordinary with thousands of mausoleums in many different states of repair. There are even a few you can see into the cracked and open coffins which was quite fascinating. The theme of eating and drinking continued as expected. By far one of my favorite eating experiences to date was our visit to Tegui, an under the radar fine dining experience in Palmero. Behind a nameless metal door we sat and ate some of the world’s best food and drank more phenomenal wine. Note that the Cheval Andes, dubbed the Grand Cru of the New World is not to be missed. Floreria Atlantico, a flower shop by day and a speakeasy by night, and The Harrison a members only speakeasy, hiding behind the doors of a Nicky NY Sushi should make your list too.
All I can say is Go! The one catch is that you may need to book yourself a wellness retreat afterwards.