Magical Mendoza: How to catch the best of it
-By Guest Blogger, Jane Trombley of 3 Score & More. See the original post here.
Mendoza is often associated with the other Argentinian M-word: Malbec. The region is indeed the heart of Argentina’s prodigious wine production and the focus of many a trip. The wine tasting was certainly high on my list and I did plenty of it.
But there is more to explore: Mendoza is sophisticated yet laid-back; beautiful parks reflect the regions’ rich history and Spanish heritage. Culinary expertise pairs nicely with the renown wine. Traveling with the expertise of Yampu Tours, here’s how two friends and I caught the best of Mendoza, from Malbec to aflajores.
Where we stayed…
With Yampu-arranged pickup at the airport (this part is pure heaven) we were whisked to Club Tapiz lovely small hotel and bodega (winery) in Maipú, a town just west of Mendoza, toward the Andes.
It’s worth noting that Maipú is arguably ground zero for Malbec grape production in Argentina. More on that later in the post, but we were definitely in the right place.
Tapiz is set in a 1890´s Renaissance villa surrounded by 10 acres of vineyards and olive groves. It’s a bit rustic in the best sense of the word: a quiet, country atmosphere simply decorated yet with all the creature comforts at hand. Great breakfasts – robust continental or other options to order.
The restaurant is open to the general public and destination in itself.
Upon arrival, Alesandra had kitchen rustle up a fresh salad to tide us over.
The Malbec rose was just what was needed to rinse off the road dust, so to speak, and acclimate to the region.
Believe me, nothing restores body and soul than a lovely afternoon and a sparkling rose.
Dinner didn’t get underway until 9 PM, “early” for Argentines yet a tad late for U.S. habits. We fell into the local custom with nary a murmur.
The flank steak was served with the freshest of grilled vegetables; I was assured that a spoon was the only utensil needed.
Really? In what universe does that happen? This one. We all slept like ninos.
TIP: Even if you don’t book into Club Tapiz to stay, carve out a night for dinner.
For a night in town, I recommend Maria Antoineta. It was suggested by Club Tapiz manager who kindly arranged a cab. She was right and for the most part, these reviews agree.
Fresh and inventive Italian – pasta dishes are stand-out – and the buzz of this bistro was zippy and fun. Nice to mix with the Mendoza millennials as well as tourists.
On a beautiful early autumn morning our guide Martin, arranged by Yampu, picked us up in his spotless Toyota for a day exploring Mendoza and a few local bodegas (again, winery). Martin was a personable, dapper young man with excellent English and a passion for his home town of nearly 2 million.
Mendoza is a city full of public spaces created in the 19th century as Spanish colonial rule ended. Inspired by Enlightenment thinking and by the American bid to gain independence from Great Britain, parks were created to both beautify and commemorate. Here are some highlights:
Plaza Independencia is the city’s center, a rambling park of exquisite mermaids playing in fountains….
…and bright pink dancing waters falling back into a raspberry pool.