Exteriors - Achával-Ferrer, Mendoza, Argentina


Rather than obsessing over the perfect blend, Santiago Achával wanted to make wine that would serve as the purest expression of a particular terroir. Achával-Ferrer, born in 1999, is best known today for its unusual single-vineyard Malbecs: Altamira, Bellavista and Mirador, each named for the individual vineyards whose harvests produce them—vineyards that, despite being situated within a few miles of each other, have their own nuanced microclimates and soil composition. The winery's luckiest visitors are received by Achával, himself, a gregarious former accountant and Stanford business school alum turned Malbec maniac.

Exterior View - Bodega Benegas, Mendoza, Argentina

Bodega Benegas

This laboriously restored turn-of-the-century winery is noteworthy for its fabulous collection of antique ponchos, its gallery of heirloom winemaking machinery and its romantic family history. Owner Federico Benegas is a descendant of one of Mendoza's oldest winemaking families—a family that found itself compelled, as a result of an economic downturn that struck the region during the 1970s, to liquidate and sell off its holdings parcel by parcel. In 1999, Federico, who had left wine country to work in Buenos Aires, returned to his native Mendoza and purchased a vineyard originally planted by his great-grandfather, Don Tiburcio Benegas, patriarch of the Benegas clan and one of the Argentine wine industry's 19th-century visionaries. Today Benegas produces three lines, with the youngest "Estirpe" (or "lineage") wines named for favorite family characters.

Exterior View - Bressia Casa de Vinos, Mendoza, Argentina

Bressia Casa de Vinos

In 2003, after a long and fruitful career in-house with some of Mendoza's biggest names, seasoned winemaker Walter Bressia opened his own shop. His winery in Luján is now a small but vibrant family business, known for masterful blends, premium sparkling wine and grappa. Visitors are earnestly welcomed, often by his own children, who are involved in every aspect of the winery's day-to-day operations. On the morning of my visit, it was Walter Jr. who served us wine directly from the tanks and showed us to the cellar, where bottles are hand-labeled with the elegant Bressia cherub. We were tasting "Lágrima Canela" ("Cinnamon Tear"), a Chardonnay-Semillon blend, when he excused himself to answer the phone; it was his father, calling to apologize he hadn't been able to welcome us personally.

Aerial View - Clos de los Siete,Mendoza, Argentina

Clos de los Siete

Pegging the Uco Valley as the next viticultural promised land, the infamous French wine consultant Michel Rolland founded Clos de los Siete in 1998 as an enclave of partner wineries that would bring Bordelais techniques to Argentine terroir. After visiting some of the valley's boutique producers, their cavernous tank rooms manned by lab-coated analysts can feel a little bit cold, but the project's role in bringing Argentine Malbec to international renown is indisputable, and there's no place like Monteviejo's sunlit roof terrace to enjoy unobstructed mountain views with your Malbec.

Hiking in the Andes

An active morning in the outdoors can do wonders to offset the repercussions of eating, drinking and lounging for hours on end. The precordillera (as the front range of the Andes is known) offers treks suitable for all fitness and energy levels, so if you can't imagine snowshoeing to Aconcagua base camp, opt for a scenic ramble and a picnic in the shade of poplars and willows. With any luck, you'll see condors, guanacos and mountain faces riddled with scars from departed glaciers.

Areial View - Indagare Tours: Best of the Wineries , Mendoza, Argentina

Indagare Tours: Best of the Wineries

From tiny family-run vineyards to industrial wineries and many variations in between, Mendoza and the Uco Valley are ripe for private tours, and Indagare knows the best guides. The breadth of options can be daunting and without guidance on what’s worth a visit, you may not experience the top producers of Argentina’s wine country. Contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour

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Musicians at Casa de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Indagare Tours: Day at a Ranch

One of the best experiences to be had in Mendoza is a visit to a working estancia or ranch, where you can meet real gauchos, have a proper asado and go on a horseback ride or hike in the Andes. From 10,000 feet up, you’ll have a view of the surrounding valley and the ranch’s gorge, where a family of condors regularly takes flight. Contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour.

Editors' Picks
Bike for ride at Casa de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

Indagare Tours: Mountain Biking

Mountain biking at the foothills of the Andes could mean anything from a leisurely ride around a glacial lake to a more arduos journey through craggy, uphill terrain. Contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour

Indagare Tours: White Water Rafting

Mendoza is surrounded by excellent opportunities to go white-water rafting on a glacial river fed straight from the snow on the Andes. This two-hour adventure on Class 3 rapids goes from heart-stopping action to leisurely coasting and ends with a hearty asado back at base camp. Contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour.

Aerial View - Sunrise Horseback Ride,Mendoza, Argentina - Courtesy Kahuak Adventures

Sunrise Horseback Ride

A 4:30 am wake-up call is never pleasant, and if you're sleeping off a steak dinner that didn't even begin until 10:00, you'll need supernatural fortitude to face the morning. But adrenaline quickly takes over on the trail—a series of hushed switchbacks your horse will somehow navigate in absolute darkness, and when daybreak finds you sipping yerba mate around a bonfire at 9,000 feet, watching the eastern horizon bloom with color, you won't be wondering whether it was worth it. Just make sure to don a poncho (or two—the wearable blankets favored by the gauchos layer well) to guard against the dry desert cold. For those who prefer to saddle up at a more civilized hour, daytime rides through the vineyards are easily arranged.

Vines The Vines of Mendoza Tasting Room, Mendoza, Argentina

The Vines of Mendoza Tasting Room

After touching down in Mendoza, guests of the region's premier wine lodges are still about forty minutes away, at best, from checking in and kicking back. Those who would rather have a Malbec in hand within minutes of collecting their luggage should consider a pit-stop at the Vines Tasting Room in town. The shop stocks, serves and ships small-production wines that are hard to track down outside of Argentina. Sample a range of Mendocino Malbecs or have an orientation flight to get acquainted with the region's other popular varietals.

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