New finds and 4 legged friends in Uco Valley

Trip Start Mar 07, 2013
Trip End Mar 25, 2013

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Flag of Argentina  , Mendoza,
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A cool, grey morning gives hints of days to come. Thunder and lightning over the hills during the night provided a dramatic light show though no rain touched the vineyards around Club Tapiz. On the road with our terrific driver Victor Hugo the route today takes us out of the Mendoza Valley and south, closer to the pre-Andes to Uco Valley
The drive brings a view of locals leading horses along the roadside, indicating our arrival into countryside. We are surrounded by vineyards and farm communities. The first stop today is both our first tasting and our lodge. Salentein is an amazing large-scale winery with a gorgeous tasting hall, restaurant and grand walkway leading to the winemaking facility itself. The winery guide leads us from floor to floor, through the gravity fed tank and barrel rooms. A multi-story building uses gravity to advantage: wines can be racked or pulled off the skins with syphon in huge hoses, rather than pumping wines which can bruise the liquid. Our tasting of the results includes the Salentein Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Merlot. The white is vinified in stainless steel tanks, preserving the acidity. Both reds are fermented in tank, then aged in french barriques. The finale of the tour circular barrel room with the baby grand piano in the center. Twice a year music festivals in the Uco Valley includes a concert here.
Just across the property from the winery is the Posada Salentein, our hotel for the next 2 nights. Lunch is served on the lawn under the huge trees near our rooms. Platters of local jamon, sheep and blue cheese, and amazing empanadas are spread on low tables near comfy chairs and benches. These are accompanied by the Salentein Sauvignon Blanc and a new red, the lovely Reserve Pinot Noir.
One offering at this gorgeous location above the valley is horseback riding. Six of us mount up with Louis, our gaucho and head up through wooded trails and clearings for views of the Andes and vineyards.
Dinner is at a winery which is the opposite of Salentein. A family operation that is a garragiste or wines made in a facility the size of a garage. We have sold their wines a lot in our shop and now have even more enthusiasm for these guys. On arriving we see the winery and then assemble in their outdoor asado or barbecue area for cooking lessons. The Kutays surprise us all with new Wildland Adventures aprons just for the class. Then we are fed BBQ and good foods by the whole family. Hospitality from such a place is hard to imagine being any better.
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