The Uco Valley has recently been labeled as the up and coming Napa Valley. Despite the fact that this is a newly established wine region, the stunning spot is quickly blossoming with vineyards. To visit some of the wineries in this Argentinian valley, it is best to book a driver in advance of your trip. Many hotels in the region are happy to do this on your behalf, and it is much more economical than going through a tour group. Also, of note, almost all of the wineries require reservations, so make sure to arrange those ahead of time. Due to the fact that the operational hours of the wineries are limited, three wineries are probably the most you can fit into one day, which is more than plenty as the pours for the tastings are very generous. If you only have a short time in the valley, my top three are featured below.
The Vines of Mendoza
If you are interested in making and bottling your own wine, The Vines of Mendoza is the place for you. The idea here is to invest in a small plot of land on the property, where you grow various types of grapes to produce quality wines with the help of a winemaker and agronomist. But even if you are not in the market to invest, this location is a great stop for a tasting. There are three different tasting flights you can choose from that have variable price points to fit your budget. My recommendation would be to do the tasting that is featured in the middle with respect to the prices. This tasting specifically features eight wines (mostly Malbecs), including the Recuerdo Gran Corte 2012, which received a ranking of 92 points by wine advocate, Robert Parker. Additionally, if you are planning to stay an evening in Mendoza, be sure to check out the property’s resort and spa, which opened in early 2013.
After indulging in the generous wine pours at The Vines of Mendoza, food is in order. Head over to Andeluna Cellars for an exquisite six-course lunch, which is paired with some of Andeluna’s top wines. The menu is seasonal so the courses may vary based on the time of year; however, the dishes are superb. I have included images below of some of the plates that were being featured on the Fall Menu of 2017 in order to get an idea of the type of cuisine to expect. Overall, the price of the meal is certainly worth it and a must-do when visiting the Uco Valley.
To properly end your wine-tasting extravaganza, make your way to Salentein. Not only does this vineyard have an amazing selection of wines, the location is unique in that it is the highest vineyard in the region. Given the various levels of altitude (between 3,500 and 5,600 feet) in which the grapes are planted, the vineyard is able to produce a diverse selection of wines utilizing the contrasting “microclimates” found at the different elevations. The varietals of the vineyard include Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Also while visiting the property, be sure to check out the barrel room which is laid out in the shape of a cross. This formation not only is a representation of the religious roots of Argentina, but also serves as a way to facilitate the winemaking process by limiting the distance the wine needs to travel between the separate steps in the production.
Heads up: All of the aforementioned wineries accept credit cards; however, there are still some in the Uco Valley that do not. If you plan to attend other wineries in the area, be sure to check that in advance. Additionally, most of the drivers are paid in cash (pesos), so be prepared to have this available when it comes to payment. Lastly, as I previously mentioned, the majority of the wineries in the valley require reservations, so it is best to do your research and make those in advance, if necessary. Of note, the three wineries I have featured for this post do require reservations.