Chacras village has exploded over the last couple of years. Twenty minutes south of the city, this used to be a small village but now Chacras homes over 7000 people and has some of the best hotels and accommodation in Mendoza.
Plaza de Chacras: The heart of Chacras is around the small plaza in the centre of the town. With a pretty white church on one side and outdoor bars and restaurants all around, this is the real hub of Chacras and you can easily idle away a few hours drinking coffee or just people watching from a plaza bench. On Sundays there is an antiques market on the plaza and later into the evening the plaza starts to take on a bit more romance as it fills up for an outdoor milonga (tango).
Casa Fader: This gorgeous home/art museum houses some of the attractive murials and artwork of the late French artist Fernando Fader. The house is filled with his Post-Impressionist paintings and also boasts a rotating exhibition of other fine arts from Argentina and an attractive sculpture garden. Open Tues – Fri 8 – 19hrs, Sat & Sun 15 – 20hrs, San Martin 3651. www.casafader.com.ar
Clos de Chacras: One of the most accessible wineries in Mendoza, Clos de Chacras is a few blocks from the Plaza and offers an insight into historical winemaking in the region. Chacras used to be a village full of vineyards and agricultural activities and on visiting this boutique winery you can start to imagine what it was like before. A charming pink building, this quaint family bodega makes busty red wines and has a restaurant by the fishpond. Mon – Sat, Monte Libano 1025, www.closdechacras.com
Wine and Dine
Casa Margot: If you have a taste for something a little bit out of the ordinary, Casa Margot is idyllic. This restaurant, sparkling wine bar and micro-hotel is a real find. The cherished house of the late-artist Eliana Molinelli, it exudes personality, creativity and style. Constructed with recycled furniture from the local dump, this unique building has a vaulted ceiling and lots of intimate nooks to explore. During the afternoons, the old workshop has been converted into a sparkling wine tasting room where you can quaff bubbles from around Argentina and at the weekend, the restaurant is open for intimate dinners (max 12 people) where guests are welcomed in with a show of trapeze or live music, and then can nestle down for the evening with a three course wine paired dinner. Casa Margot, Italia 6016, (261) 496 1877.
Nadia OF: This restaurant has been voted one of the best in Argentina more than once and with good reason… Spanish chef Nadia Heron is a genius in the kitchen making creative, colorful and salubrious dishes using local produce and maximizing the use of Mendoza’s bountiful vegetables and fruit. You can either BYO or have your dishes paired with O Fournier wines. A romantic, intimate restaurant perfect for gourmet foodies. Italia 6055, Chacras (261) 496 1731. www.nadiaof.com
El Paso Tapas & Wine: If you want to mix a bit of art, wine and tapas, this intimate little wine tasting room, tapas bar and gallery is the perfect spot for a friendly bite. Less than a block from the plaza, Fernanda – an art enthusiast and homemade chef – whips up a couple simple but flavourful tapas dishes while you can try Dolium wines by the glass or bottle (make sure you check out their white blend and late harvest Malbec). Montadito style tapas (on mini toasts) toppings include marinated mushrooms; anchovy and red pepper; and Jamon Serrano. Vinos y Tapas Al Paso, Aguinaga 1337, Local 3, Chacras. Open Tues – Sun, (0261) 507 3786.
Hand of God Tasting Room: Just off the Plaza this new restaurant and wine tasting bar has a dark and inspired décor filled with artwork by local painter Gonzalo Anton, quirky furniture and mood lighting. Take a table inside or on the sunny patio where Hand of God and Archaval Ferrer wines are offered in guided wine flights or by the bottle or glass. The menu is a mixture of tapas style starters, tasty flatbreads, or main courses such as succulent Chicken breast stuffed with artichoke hearts in a cheese and mustard sauce. The real delight though are the desserts – perfect presentation and playful concepts like red fruit hair (jelly), strawberry paper and a chocolate volcano bring a big smile to your face especially after a few glasses of wine! Open Tues – Sun, Italia 5572, Local 2, Chacras. (261) 457 3055.
Lares de Chacras: If you can’t quite pull yourself away from Chacras, try out this luxury boutique hotel for a private getaway. Rustic furnishings, a cosy fireplace, an outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, courtesy bikes and a traditional Argentine restaurant give guests plenty to do and a bit of five star luxury in the middle of Chacras. Larrea 1266, Chacras, (261) 496 5167 www.laresdechacras.com
Finca Adelgisa: This manor house has 11 guest rooms, a vineyard, small winery and beautiful gardens with an outdoor pool. Make sure to pass an evening or two wine tasting in their attractive restaurant and book yourself into a cooking class with their chef to learn the essentials of Argentine cooking. Pueyrredon 2222, Chacras, (261) 496 0713. www.fincaadelgisa.com.ar
Aires Andinos: Chacras is always a few degrees cooler than Mendoza city, making it ideal to sit in the garden and lounge by the pool and with two pools and a large garden, this boutique posada is an ideal retreat. Well appointed rooms, wifi and a BBQ area help to make your stay comfortable. Longone 2710, Chacras, (261) 496 2751. www.airesandinos.com
By Amanda Barnes
Published in the October/November 2012 edition of Wine Republic