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On our first winery tour the other 2 people in our group had gone to 743 Bistro for dinner the night before and raved about it, so we had to try. As an appreciator of wine, I have to say it was one of the coolest dining experiences I ever had. The story goes that a group of local chefs from the area winery restaurants used to get together regularly to test out food/wine pairings on each other. One of them (Lukas) decided to turn it into a full fledged concept with the help of one of his friends. They rented a house and the restaurant is in the living room (only about 5 tables) facing a small garden. It´s a set menu of 15 mini-courses that changes each season. 3 Courses for each wine. After each course, diners are asked if they felt the pairing was correct and explained the chef´s rationale for matching that dish to the particular wine. It was really amazing how each course could make the same wine taste completely different. There is a strong emphasis on local ingredients as well as local wines. Start to finish it´s about a 4 hour meal. The portions are small and relatively light so you don´t leave feeling completely overstuffed. It´s a bit much to do after a day of tastings but if you can squeeze it in, I highly recommend it. Call ahead for reservations. About U$D40 pp.

My mom and I had a GREAT time in Mendoza. Mendoza is a hot destination so I recommend arranging your hotel in advance (unlike we did) in order to get a spot at one of the cute boutique hotels. We ended up in a sub-par hotel that I won´t bother to mention. The city itself is cute and nice to walk around in for a half a day, but there isn´t a ton to see or do in the city itself.
We arranged tours with Grape Vine Tours beforehand (My mom had seen them mentioned in a NY Times travel article). They were great, the groups were never more than 4 (unlike some other companies that use large tour busses). The guides were extremely knowledgeable and fun. The tasting lunches in the wineries were excellent (make sure your tour includes a lunch at Ruca Malen)! They took us to see mainly small boutique wineries (or micro-wineries). We did 2 one-day winery tours broken up with a daytrip into the mountains to see the Inca bridge, the national park to catch a glimpse of Aconcagua (the largest peak in South America) and Seven Colors Rock- also arranged by Grapvine.

My favorite wine is Melipal, which also is a great visit and the best tasting (sit down with olives, raisins and walnuts) but my other favorite winery visits were:

  • O.Fournier – a crazy space age facility with amazing views.
  • Tapiz – I´m not a huge fan of their wines but the tour is excellent and you really get to witness the whole process (tasting the grapes from the different varietals, tasting the wine during different stages of fermentation).

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