Hello, wine lovers! I’m writing from the Land of Sun and Good Wine, as Mendoza is rightly known in Argentina, where I’ve decided to stay on a while as I continue to lead the life of a digital nomad.
To tell the truth, as much as I’ve seen people say it’s an option, I never really considered working or studying remotely until I got here and found there was so much to be discovered.
So, I’ve decided to extend my viticultural adventure and stick around the Andes to explore world of Argentine wine from top to bottom.
Winter hasn’t held back; you really do need to wrap up warm, but I’m used to the snows of New York so I’m fine.
Down here, it’s snowed a few times in the mountains already but apparently it’s not that common in the city. What you can be sure you’ll see every day is the sun, which shines right into the evening, even with the days growing shorter. It’s like Juli says: “el solcito nos da un changüí”, which means that the sun is giving us a freebie, a little more time to be outside and enjoy the fresh air in spite of the cold.
As you can imagine, I’m visiting all the wineries I can, meeting people, getting the most out of every conversation and learning from the local experts. I’m pretty used to making new friends at every turn, scheduling future “juntadas” (which means friendly gatherings) and getting tips about the bakeries that make the best Mendozan buns until I’ve found my absolute favorite.
On weekdays, I’m usually on my own while the girls are at work so I’ve been exploring everywhere I can get to without a car: by taxi, on foot, by bike or taking public transport.
Today, I’m sharing three wineries in Mendoza city I went to in the past month, each very close to the center and an essential stop for its own reasons:
Wineries in the Mendoza City
When I arrived, Juli and Tomás wrote me a list of nearby places to visit when they weren’t around to be my guides. This was the first city winery to feature: I looked it up on Google Maps and realized I could walk there down Avenida San Martín.
What most surprised me about the Escorihuela winery was that it was built in the 19th century in Florentine style, and that it’s survived as the urban center of Mendoza grew around it, meaning that it’s surrounded by homes, businesses and schools.
And so I got an idea of what wineries were like over a hundred years ago, when vineyards surrounded the city, long before most moved their headquarters out into the country. You need to see the historic barrel room and taste their organic, biodynamic wines from Agrelo and El Cepillo. Personally, I loved Escorihuela Gascón Organic Vineyard Malbec, which is wonderfully smooth and fresh.
I decided to come here at lunch time because Abrasado, the winery’s restaurant, is a great hit with its aged meats and I got a lot of recommendations to go from locals, backed up by my research on blogs and Instagram.
Los Toneles is one of the wineries in Mendoza city, about 10 minutes from the center, so it’s easy to get there by taxi or ride sharing app.
The tour is full of contrasts, combining a historic, century-old building with cutting edge technology and trendy design. It has all kinds of traditional architectural details typical of the Cuyo region like vitraux and the gallery.
It was good to learn that it’s a family enterprise that specializes in colorful names for their wines: Mosquita Muerta (Dead Mosquito), Perro Callejero (Stray Dog), Lobo con Piel de Cordero (Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing), Pispi and Sapo de Otro Pozo (Frog from Another Pond, which is a similar saying to ‘That’s a whole other kettle of fish’).
It was Alex, my friend from the wine store in Brooklyn, who sent me the profile of this “unconventional” boutique project, saying I had to go.
Casa Tano is an urban winery run from an old chassis and paint shop that used to belong to the family of one of the partners. It’s a very special space decorated with murals that depict the winemaking process, so art and wine sit side by side in a really relaxed environment.
In addition to tours, tastings and sales of limited-edition wines (they have a collection of varietals from different places whose label is a cassette, the kind you used to play in Walkmans, while they sell the house wine in growlers direct from the barrel) and I loved the fact that you can buy a barrel or help make your own wine.
It’s an exciting, original concept that offers a first hand, a la carte wine experience. Of course, I chose a very special souvenir for my beloved guru… But don’t tell him!
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing more new discoveries and adventures from the foot of the Andes. If you’ve been to Mendoza and have any wine related tips, share them in the comments! And if you haven’t, I hope that my travel diary of wineries in Mendoza City inspires you to come soon. See you when we next pop corks!