Hello wine lovers! Mendoza is so lovely in spring! I know that it’s famous for its autumn colors, and the harvest festival, and they really are beautiful, but spring makes you want to get out and do things. The sunny weather and warmer temperatures mean you just have to fill your lungs with fresh air.
A lot of the blossom here is pink (which reminds me of the cherry blossom at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I didn’t get to see it this year.) As the afternoons get longer, the sidewalks of the city fill up with little tables before the sun goes down.
Down here, the warm weather is still sometimes interrupted by frosts, and even snow up in the mountains, but the days of staying inside are over. It’s not like I needed another excuse but this really is the perfect weather for outings to wineries. And so, I decided it was a good time for visiting wineries in Tupungato and pick up where I left off.
My recent tours of Maipú and Tupungato encouraged me to go on exploring the area within a radius of between 30 and 90 minutes from the city, where you’ll find some of the most stunning landscapes in the province.
As visiting wineries in Tupungato can be quite an adventure, I chose only three wineries for this occasion, all of which I noticed on our last road trip to the area. Let me tell you about them, maybe they’ll inspire you to follow in my footsteps!
Visiting wineries in Tupungato: delicious wine and food
I found this place thanks to Anita, a friend of the girls, who showed me photos of a wedding she went to here. It didn’t take long for me to know that it would be the perfect base to start visiting wineries in Tupungato.
The vineyard, whose name pays homage to the blue of the sky, became my new home for a day or two. The guest house is run by the owners Shirley and Pablo, and that made a huge difference. They really made me feel welcome and spoiled me with wonderful meals every night. My favorite was a Middle Eastern banquet, one of the house specialties.
The accommodation is in the heart of the vineyard, next door to the owners’ home and also includes some new eco rooms (made from containers), a pool and a football pitch. I loved the modern architecture designed to blend in with the Uco Valley landscape with plenty of noble materials like stone and wood. And the vineyard… I just love them more every day.
I went for a walk with a group of tourists from the Province of Córdoba who were on a bachelorette party, wandering through pergolas of Bonarda and cordon trained Pedro Ximénez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc and fruit trees like peaches and plums, which just happened to be in bloom. It was lovely.
Two tips for visiting wineries in Tupungato: make reservations in advance and be sure to head out with a picnic blanket and a glass of Azul Reserva – a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon – to enjoy the colors and silence of the evening.
This winery in Gualtallary – a district in the Department of Tupungato, Uco Valley – was a treat for a hedonistic wine nerd like me. I loved every second of my visit, which was as informative as it was enjoyable.
The micro-climate of Tupungato is perfect for slow ripening of the grapes, which allows them to develop concentrated aromas and flavors. Also, the terroir of Gualtallary, at the foot of the Andes, lends wines a fresh, mineral profile you won’t find anywhere else. The combination of the cool climate, altitude and soil here produces extremely refined, intense wines with a unique texture.
Sophenia make their wines with grapes from the 130-hectare house vineyard, which was planted in 1997 and 1998, bottling them in situ. One thing I loved was their commitment to sustainability. Winemaker Joaquín Martín told us about their programs to reduce the winery’s environmental impact through organic viticulture, reducing the use of water and choosing environmentally friendly products. He also told us about their community outreach schemes which include providing supplies from the vineyard and winery to local farmers.
In addition to the Altosur and Sophenia labels, I treated myself to a tasting of the Karma line, the most innovative brand run by Eugenia Luka, the founders’ daughter, which involves a minimal intervention approach (she also has her own line called Es’Vino) and artistic labels. Look out for Karma Malbec Maceración Carbónica, a great wine for curious drinkers.
A sommelier friend of Juli and Tomi insisted that I had to add this to my wineries of Tupungato itinerary for a very special reason: here, they pay a lot of attention to Tannat, a variety rarely seen in Mendoza (and, indeed, Argentina as a whole). The girls and I organized a lovely trip, deciding to spend the night in one of the resort apartments – which have a panoramic view of the vineyards – so we could enjoy the spa, restaurant, open air meditation spaces and fitness circuits. A little exercise just adds another dimension to our dolce vita.
Getting back to the idea of the terroir, at Casa Petrini we found wines that reflect the influence of the Las Tunas River, which flows close to the vineyards at a height of 3900 feet, generating a unique climate.
During our tour, we visited the barrel hall of this young, boutique winery (75 hectares planted in 2013 with Chardonnay, Malbec, Tannat, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc), learning that it had never been planted before. The soils, says their winemaker Ariel Angelini, are diverse with significant deposits of basalt from the Tupungato Volcano, a magnetic rock. And that’s what makes the wines so special.
For your next dolce far niente ritual, I suggest having a bubble bath at home (or in a pool on a summer’s night with friends) putting on some bossa nova and enjoying a glass of Casa Petrini Rosé, an unusual blend of Malbec and Tannat.
I promise you I’ll be back soon with more news and travel tips. Tell me where you’re reading from and what wines you’re drinking to toast the new season! Until next time, cheers!