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Mendoza has been a long time on my bucket list because it’s one of the best wine regions in Argentina. Every year I have a conference in Buenos Aires and this year I decided to go to Mendoza (and Cordoba) for a few days of leisure. Mendoza has been on my list mainly to visit the wine region and in more particular the Uco Valley which produces high-end wines. I did a private wine tasting tour with Ketek Tours and I visited two wineries for tasting and the third, Casa de Uco Vineyards & Resort, would be my home for the night.
Uco Valley Wine Tour
The Uco Valley (or Valle de Uco) is the top wine region of Argentina. It is located near Mendoza along the Tunuyan River at the food of the Andes. The region has a rich soil, water supply from the Andes, good temperature year round and many sunny days. This makes the grapes ripe with high concentration sugars, deep colors and a rich aroma. This is ideal for producing top quality wines. The main grape in the Uco Valley is the Malbec but also other grapes are grown in the region. Each winery in the Uco Valley claims they produce top quality wines, time to test their stories.
Bodegas Salentein Vineyard
Bodegas Salentein vineyard located in the Uco Valley was the first one on the program today. I arrived there after a 90 minute drive from Mendoza. Salentein was founded in 2000 by a Dutchmen and the wines were served at the wedding of Maxima & Willlen-Alexander, now queen and king of the Netherlands. As I’m from the Netherlands this winery was a must visit for me. History of one of the vineyards dates back to the time of the Jesuits. Its history dates back to the 17th century and Salentein continues to make history at the place today.
At Bodegas Salentein vineyard they produce premiums wines of the Mendoza region, like many of the Uco Valley vineyards. Their winery’s architecture is taken care off with lots of off thoughts. It is constructed in a cross where each wing is actually a small winery by itself. The top floor has stainless steel tanks with French wooden vats for fermentation. From this level the wine can flow by gravity to the lower level where the French oak barrels are for aging. All the wings come together in a circle which serves as a theatre. After a tour of the winery it was time to taste the wines; maybe the most important part of the Uco Valley tour.
In the tasting room there were four wines prepared. One white and three reds. All of them where of the reserve or primus collections, which are the better wines. Salentein also produces a range of young wines which I did not try. I liked the Primum Malbec the most as it had deep colors and a very intense taste. If I had the time I would have liked to taste even more wines but I had to continue to the next vineyard to have lunch. Before I left I had a quick look at the art gallery of Salentein which contains also a nice collection of Dutch art.
Bodegas Andeluna Vineyard
Next on the program was Bodegas Andeluna vineyard. Here I would have a 6 course lunch with accompanying wines. After a short tour of the winery I entered the restaurant with open kitchen. The table was prepared with all the glasses needed for the tasting. The 6 course menu was outstanding with quality ingredients which you can taste in the dishes. In the open kitchen the chef prepares all the dishes. When she prepares them you can see that she does it full of passion. Thank you so much for the great lunch in the Uco Valley!
The accompanying wines where three of the entry-level, two special ones and finally a rose. Each single wine was outstanding. Each had good color, smell, taste and fitted perfect with the dishes. I’m not a big fan of rose wine but it was a really good one full of flavor.
Lunch, from top left to bottom right:
Pineapple and coriander on a green “salmorejo”
Pink salmon on dill & lemon brine with green sprouts salad and orange sabayon
Crunchy philo dough with spring unions and Portobello mushrooms over roasted garlic butter sautéed spinach
Beef with a union and Turkish lentils chutney and a vine leaf
Pear cold soup with mint mousse and toasted almonds
Hibiscus & strawberry curd tart with rice & tapioca dough and meringue
After an hour or two I finished all the courses and it was time to continue to my final destination today. I would sleep the night in the middle of the Uco Valley vineyards overlooking the Andes at the Casa de Uco Vineyard & Resort.
Casa de Uco Vineyard & Resort
I arrived at Casa de Uco around 4PM and would stay there the night (read my review). Here I could do also the activities which I wanted to do in the Uco Valley. They offer horses for horseback riding and mountain bikes for all their guests. The day I arrived I just relaxed at the hotel enjoying their magnificent views! I did a bit of SPA time and a delicious dinner in the evening. Casa de Uco produced two wines till now, I had the privileges to try the 2012 Malbec. Even though it’s just one it has a deep color, a great aroma and taste. It’s a top wine. The Casa de Uco Vineyard & Resort is just a few years in business. They are scheduled to start full production of various wines this year.
After a long sleep I woke up naturally to have a nice a la carte breakfast again with a beautiful view over the vineyards. When I finished breakfast I did a small bike ride around the resort to see a bit of the architecture, landscape and the nice views.
Before I had to go back to Mendoza I went on a 90 minute horseback riding tour around the acres and acres of vineyards and original desert vegetation. Spring was just starting there around this time of the year but even without the green vineyards it’s a beautiful ride. First through the vineyards and then through the original desert vegetation of the Uco Valley. I enjoyed this relaxation a lot; getting one with nature. Like a real gaucho!
At 4PM it was time to return to Mendoza where I had a last stay at the Sheraton Mendoza (review). My trip in this region with Ketek Tours came to an end and I went further to Cordoba city, the last stop during my Argentina trip. I can highly recommend Ketek Tours for a private or group wine tour. You don’t want to drive yourself with all this alcohol consumption.
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COVID-19 (Corona virus) update for Mendoza: Make sure to check IATA list of affected entry and transit restrictions for this country. Also check with your airline for options to re-book or re-route. The Corona virus will go away eventually for sure. Make sure before travelling if Mendoza is a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) area and if restrictions apply before travelling.
Did you visit Mendoza too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!
Gallery Uco Valley Wine Tour
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