You’ve just arrived in Mendoza and are anxious to hit the ground running when it comes to wine tasting. However all the tour companies have already left for the vineyards and the choice of half day wine tours in the afternoon is very poor.
Plus to your horror you have discovered all the better wineries need booking ahead.
What do you do? Here are five suggestions that should sate the most eager wine beaver.
Los Toneles – 5 minutes from city
You can literally jump off your long distance bus from Buenos Aires and take a short five minute walk to Mendoza´s only city center winery. What Los Toneles lacks in vineyards, it more than makes up for in history and excellent cuisine. The motorway side road approach may look unappealing, but once you enter this large, expansive property, you’ll find a beautiful, atmospheric property and gorgeous restaurant.
Clos de Chacras – 30 minutes from city
This pretty winery is 14 km from the city but who cares as it has a well maintained cycle path with lots of shade that starts at the end of Aristides Street. You can meander safely amongst the locals and cycle past suburban plazas and glitzy shopping malls for an hour until you reach a little pocket of vineyard paradise, close to Chacras de Coria Plaza and its quaint Spanish style church.
Weinert – 20 minutes from city
This Old World winery is one of the most prestigious in Mendoza and one of the few bodegas with a deep and extensive supply of library wines. Huge oak barrels and concrete fermentation tanks show that Mendoza is the New Old World when it comes to making wine. The winery is a short taxi ride south and well worth the visit.
Kaiken – 45 minutes from city.
With a team of enthusiastic guides and a gorgeous winery to show off, Kaiken are more than willing to accommodate the last minute winophile. Owned by the prestigious Chilean winery Montes, wines include the excellent Kaiken Ultra and can be tasted outdoors with beautiful views of vineyards and mountains. Be sure to keep the taxi-cab running as there is very little passing traffic when you step back out.
Carinae – 45 minutes from city
French winemakers Brigitte and Philippe have been producing excellent Malbec and Syrah from the ancient vines of Lunlunta for almost twenty years with a little help from superstar winemaker Michel Rolland. Popular with cyclists, this quaint property is one of the few establishments to remain open seven days a week and does not require reservations. Make sure to try the top label Prestige.