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The Bodegas of Mendoza: our top picks 

Picture an Andean backdrop of snow-capped mountains whilst sipping on some of the finest red wines in the world. Add faultlessly cooked local cuts of first-class beef to this image, prepared over an open fire right in front of your eyes.

Welcome to Mendoza! Discover the bodegas and restaurants that caught our attention, along with where to lay your head after a long drink-fueled day

Argentina is a country of extremes; from the spectacular mountainous region of Patagonia to beach side towns. Home to Buenos Aires, one of South America’s most up and coming capitals and even the highest mountain in the continent (Aconcagua). Many say that Argentina has it all, and honestly, we’d have to agree. 

As the eighth largest country is the world, Argentina is blessed with a wide range of climates, elevation and temperatures that all amalgamate to create supreme wine growing conditions across the nation. However, experts have named Mendoza as the ultimate destination for wine, producing over 70% of the country’s most cherished nectar. 

Located by the eastern base of the Andes Mountains on the Diamante River, Mendoza is positioned 2,500 ft. above sea level, which combined with a hot climate has created ideal conditions for certain grape varieties to flourish in, including one of the worlds most beloved grapes; Malbec. Though be sure not to cast aside its lesser known yet luscious cousins of Semillion, Bonarda and the white grape Torrontés, that are not to be overlooked on your visit.  

Yet beyond wine, Mendoza offers an alluring host of activities, spectacular scenery and of course, incredible food. No trip to the country is complete without experiencing at least one asado; Argentina’s answer for a BBQ, yet to the locals it’s much more than a that. This cultural, often weekly event can be found in every house hold and reunites friends and family around an open fire. Every cut of beef is roasted to perfection, maté is passed around incessantly (a caffeine-rich infused drink made from dried leaves called yerba, mixed with hot water), and the finest wine is shared.   

In the last few years, an exciting surge of restaurants and chefs have flocked to the province, bumping Mendoza up into a close second place below Buenos Aires with its variety of ‘must visit’ restaurants and thriving culinary scene (and as of 2023, surpassing even Buenos Aires with the most Michelin stars in the country). “It (Mendoza) is the show window of Argentinian wines,” says Maximo Rocca, Commerical Director of Bodega Otronia who shared some of his favourite eateries and bodegas in the province. “It’s an incredibly diverse region in terms of terroirs, that creates perfect conditions to grow vineyards.”

With three main regions to consider; Maipú, Luján de Cuyo – both close to the city of Mendoza – along with Valley de Uco, Mendoza has a varied offering for every budget and schedule. We have also included San Rafael, two hours south of Valley de Uco and worth a visit if your agenda allows. After exploring the finest restaurants, bodegas and lodges in the area, we pulled together our favourites to help plan your next trip to the land of wine and steak.  

Maipú

Grab a cab and drive just 15 minutes south from Mendoza’s city centre and you’ll soon find Maipú, the oldest of Mendoza’s three wine growing regions. Here, you’ll discover some of the biggest wine producers in the game, including Zuccardi and Rutini. Becoming known for its olive farms, the ‘Olive Road’ has become a new attraction in the area. Perfect for visitors on a budget, one of the best ways to discover this region is by bike – we recommend Wine and Ride, where you can stop by vineyards and grab a glass of wine for well under £5.  

Exploring vineyards on the ‘wine route’ – Best for low budget wine tasting

Get exploring and rent a bike to visit vineyards on the wine route, perfect for those on a more conservative budget, or that simply prefer to feel the breeze in their hair. Sample a few glasses of wine for as little as £2, and enjoy reasonably priced meals for less. Backpackers and low budget vacationers can revel in this economical option to explore Mendoza. Some of our favourites:

Tempus Alba – Wine tasting & a great value five-course lunch on a lower budget

Bodegas Lopez – Free tastings and tours, or try wines from higher-end labels for under £15

Casa Vigil (El Enemigo) – Best for a long, lazy lunch 

Casa Vigil (El Enemigo)

A list consisting of the ‘best in Mendoza’ just wouldn’t be complete without El Enemigo. Created by renowned wine expert Alejandro Vigil; also recognised as the Messi of wine, Casa Vigil has become a must visit when travelling to Maipú. Enemigo takes inspiration from the iconic Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s most celebrated poem, ‘Divine Comedy’ with a non-traditional art gallery suggestive of Dante’s fantasy kingdom. The rustic dining rooms offer a modern menu that brings local, seasonal ingredients from the region together. Make sure you try the tomatoes, grown by Vigil’s mother María Sance. 

Posada Verde Oliva – Best for a luxury stay 

If a serene stay amongst olive trees and vineyards is to your taste, choose to stay in a ‘rural mansion’ from the nineteenth century. With only 10 rooms, a pool and spa, this hotel is the perfect pick if you’re looking for some tranquillity after a long day drinking in Maipú. Rooms start at $140 (USD). 

Posada Verde Oliva

Other notable mentions: 

Familia Zuccardi – For a traditional wine estate in Maipú

Luján de Cuyo

Not far from Mapiú is Luján de Cuyo, a region full of spectacular landscapes, history and architecture. With a fertile, earthy soil, this region produces a slightly fruitier wine – giving Luján its identity as the land of Malbec. If you’re looking for the postcard perfect Andean views, Luján should be a non-mover on your visit to Mendoza 

Canvas Wine Lodge – Best for a luxury stay & delectable food

Canvas Wine Lodge
Canvas Wine Lodge

Indulge in the very best with this exclusive boutique hotel for a stay that will be nothing short of perfection. Sitting on a 35-acre vineyard, book one of 18 available suites, that each come with a patio, plunge pool and 360-degree view of the vineyard. Discover their underground wine cellar, vinotherapy spa, stroll through their magnificent grounds and enjoy unparalleled service. 

Catena Zapata – For traditional Argentinian Malbec

As one of the oldest bodegas in Mendoza, Bodega Catena Zapata is known for its pioneering role in resurrecting Malbec. Founded by Nicolás Catena Zapata in 1902, Zapata has become known for changing the Argentinian wine. A stunning and instrumental vineyard, worth a visit. 

Fogón Cocina de viñedo – Best for dining amongst the vines whilst enjoying delicious food

Appreciate local cuisine whilst dining around centuries-old vineyards at this choice. Using various fire cooking techniques, including grill, flame and ovens, sample flawlessly cooked dishes. Serving lunch, dinner and up to seven course meals, choose Fogón for a special visit. 

Other notable mentions: 

Lujan de Cuyo B&B – Best budget stay

Vico wine bar – Best the best all round wine tasting experience

La Gloria – For gloriously good food

Clos de Chacras – For a gorgeous winery in Luján

Brindillas Restaurant – Best for luxury dining

Bodega Vistalba; Bodega & restaurant – For a stunning vineyard visit to a family run bodega  

El Mercadito – For a reasonably priced, delicious lunch

On a budget? Wine and ride is also available in the Luján region

Mendoza city centre

Before we continue south, we thought it only fair to include some unmissable restaurants from downtown in the city of Mendoza. In-between your visits to these unbeatable wine regions, be sure to check out some of the finest restaurants in the capital. 

1884 restaurante

La Barra Vinos y Carnes – Best for a traditional asado

Looking for an eatery which serves the finest steak paired with gorgeous red wines? Look no further than La Barra, that ticks all the boxes. Take a seat outside on their extensive patio, where you can enjoy watching chefs prepare dishes in the outside parrilla, where steaks are grilled to excellence. With a superb wine selection, this restaurant is one not to miss. Be sure to bring cash, this eatery does not accept card – well priced. 

Location: Av. Belgrano 1086, M5500BZF Mendoza, Argentina

1884 Restaurante Francis Mallmann – For a luxury visit

Highlighted in the Michelin Guide, this hotspot has gained wide recognition since it was founded in 1884. Located inside the bodega of Escorihuela Gascon, the cuisine pays respect to both local and traditional cooking methods found in Mendoza. From the Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann, if the purse strings allow, a visit to 1884 would be no short of exceptional. 

Other notable mentions: 

Azafrán – Best tasting menu 

Pez Globo – Best for budget travellers & great Asian food

Francesco Ristorante – Best Italian downtown

Centauro Restaurant – Best for sampling local, Mendoza focused dishes, with great vegetarian options – featured in the Michelin Guide

Soberana – Another fine dining experience; one for the steak lovers – also featured in the Michelin Guide

Valley De Uco

Don’t miss what has been recognised as the most ‘upmarket’ region of Mendoza, where you can visit an array of premium, modern bodegas. The arid and more rocky terrain of Valley de Uco has led to more mineral tasting wines in this rural region, located around 2 hours from Mendoza city. Historically a region of orchards, 30 years ago vineyards did not exist in this territory, making all bodegas in the area new. But don’t let this put you off, if you have the time you can unearth some exquisite vineyards and gorgeous views in this district. 

Bodega Azul – Best value lunch with live music 

As one of our favourite locations of the trip, Bodega Azul provided everything we were looking for. Enjoy a 3 or 4 course menu with wine pairings, whilst a live saxophonist plays the soundtrack to your lunch. If you’re looking for an unpretentious venue paired with live music, great food, superb wine and sunshine, Bodega Azul is our top pick. What more could you ask for?

Bodega Azul

La Vigilia – Best for wine tasting

Enjoy a guided tour of this relatively new, female led winery – but don’t let the novice label put you off. With supreme wooden interiors running throughout, wine enthusiasts will relish at a sneak peak of their science lab before trying a selection of red and white varieties, paired with local cheeses. Wonder down to their restaurant Rope and enjoy lunch or dinner whilst enjoying views of the vineyard. 

La vigilia

Domaine Bousquet – Best for organic wine 

This organic winery is deep-rooted in French history, owned by the Bousquet family in the South of France, that have four generations of history in winemaking. Located in one of Mendoza’s highest viticulture regions, this vineyard was planted on virgin land by Jean Bousquet after its purchase in 1997. Choose one of their English tours available after dining for lunch. A wine favourite was the Premium Chardonnay-Torrontes blend. 

Other notable mentions: 

La Morada Lodge – Best for sublime views of the Andes; a luxury stay

Solo Contigo – Best for exploring a small batch winery

Bodega Andeluna – For an enchanting a vineyard lunch

San Rafael

Continue south for two hours from Valley de Uco and you will soon arrive at San Rafael (around 3 hours from the city). At a lower altitude, San Rafael tends to be typically warmer and along with the predominantly sandy soils, provides great everyday drinking wines. Producers in the area have tried to add this region to the wine map, yet it is often overlooked. So, despite being a little further afield, this region is certainly one to include only if you have a longer trip on your hands.

Bodegas Bianchi – Best winery in San Rafael

Born in Italy, Valentin Bianchi travelled to San Rafael in Argentina back in 1887, thirty years later to fulfil his dream of opening what has now become known as the Bianchi bodega. As the most recognised and prestigious bodega in the area, this gorgeous vineyard is worth a visit. 

Bodegas Bianchi 

Algodon Wine Resort & Chez Gaston Restaurant – Best for a luxury stay

If you’re looking for a tranquil stay on a vineyard with the highest service and top quality food, head to Algodon resort. Enjoy a tennis court, golf course and swimming pool, all whilst being surrounded by vineyards, with unmatched service whether you choose to dine or stay

Other notable mentions: 

Finca y Bodega Rubio – Best bodega visit to try classic Malbecs

Casartero Eco Posada – Our choice for an economical stay

Words by Miranda Bunnis

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