Malbec and meat in Mendoza

Trip Start Jan 04, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
Los Varietals

Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, February 6, 2010

At last we arrived in wine country, where we planned on indulging in wine and the even more famous Argentinian BBQ. Our thirteen hour bus ride was not one of our best, only managing to sleep for a couple hours. Needless to say, we were looking forward to a nice bed ASAP. We had reserved a room at a hostel called Los Varietales and we were hoping that they would accommodate us with an early check-in (very early - 7am). Being optimists we gave it a shot but our best smiles and charm fell short. Our room would not be available untill twelve, which gave is five hours to kill.

We quickly decided a quiet park would be our best option so we packed our blanket and set off to find some greenspace. Just around the corner from our hostel was a park that looked perfect so we set-up shop and tried to catch some ZZZ's. What at first appeared to be a quiet park turned out to be a hub of activity. During our stay the sprinkler system turned on, a soccer practice started, a stray dog curled up and slept beside us and Shannon was being chatted-up by the groundskeeper. Anyway, we did manage to get some sleep and we were able to check-in at 12pm on the dot. The hostel was pretty basic, with really nice staff and a comfortable bed which was all we needed.

That afternoon we set out for some lunch and discovered the Argentinians also love their menu del dias just like Barcelonians (3 course meal for great prices). We knew right away that this was a city with great food, and even in a basic cafe we enjoyed some delicious roasted chicken and argentinian steak. That afternoon we enjoyed walking more through the city...beautifully lined with big leafy trees and lovely plazas. We had definitely entered a very different South American country vs. Peru & Chile., one with much more of a European twist.

That night, we checked out a restaurant called Azafran that came highly recommended by friends of ours (thanks Burton & Amber), as well as highly rated on tripadvisor. What first caught our attention was the fact that it didn't have a wine list but rather a wine cellar where you hand-picked your bottle, with the assistance of a knowledgeable sommelier. But even more impressive were our steaks, which is becoming a theme in Argentina.

Over the next couple of days we did a wine tasting bus tour and also rented bikes to jump from winery to winery. Argentina is mostly known for its reds so we spent most of our time tasting Malbecs , Syrahs, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Of particular interest, was a visit to a winery called Tempus Alba where they were featuring two wines, bearing silver and gold medals which they had won at the Ottawa Wine Show (run by a friend of the Downey family - Joan Culliton). At the same winery we sampled six wines and enjoyed a nice cheese platter on a terrace overlooking the vineyard. Afterwords our bike riding abilities were severely impaired but we managed to make it home safe and sound.

On our final night in Mendoza although Mike was suffering from a bit of a cold, Shannon still managed to convince him to have another nice dinner in Mendoza before moving on. We headed to a restaurant called Anna's Bistro that also came recommended on tripadvisor as well as in a wine magazine Shannon had read. The atmosphere was incredible with a beautiful candlelit garden terrace. Mike had steak (when in Rome) and Shannon had lamb roasted in Malbec for 4 hours. Soooo good! And extremely reasonable prices.

Our plan was to head to Buenos Aires the next day. We just had to make a choice between a 17 hour bus or 1.5 hour flight...let's see the price difference...
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Bruce on

Sounds like you guys are enjoying some well earned R&R after your adventures the last few weeks! Cheers!

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