Tips from a Local: Mendoza, Argentina
As a guide for Ampora Wine Tours, Jose has one of the best jobs in the world. Leading groups around boutique wineries, enjoying six-course lunches, and teaching guests about Argentina are just a few bullets in his job description. As a native "Mendocino" with thirteen years of experience in the wine industry, I had to pick his brain for some traveling pointers. Here is what he has to say about visiting Mendoza:
DESCRIBE MENDOZA LIKE YOU WOULD DESCRIBE A WINE.
Mendoza is friendly, relaxed, green and dry!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEAL TO PAIR WITH A MALBEC?
Even though it might sound cliché I think a good piece of steak is a natural pairing for our flagship grape, more so if it is Argentinean and grassfed beef! However I also like to pair Malbec with bitter chocolate at the end of a meal.
OUTSIDE OF WINE TASTING, WHAT CAN'T YOU MISS WHEN YOU VISIT MENDOZA?
There is a lot to do in the suburbs of the city. I highly recommend visiting the historical neighbourhood of Chacras de Coria, the residential part of Lujan de Cuyo County, which is only 25 minutes south of town.
Taking a drive up into the mountains on route 7 is a must. A very scenic road that takes you into the base of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. There are lots of things to do if you enjoy outdoorsy activities, such as rafting, zip-lining, hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing.
Also, exploring Mendoza’s nightlife by visiting Aristides Villanueva St., an avenue that has more bars and restaurants than you can count. If you happen to be wined out, there is a good array of local craft beer offered. Buzzing, lots of outdoor seating areas, great for bar hopping. Don’t miss happy hour from 7:30 to 8:30 typically.
WHAT ARE 3 ARGENTINIAN SPANISH WORDS YOU SHOULD KNOW TO FIT IN WITH THE LOCALS?
- Chau chau : bye bye
- Resaca: hangover
- Bodega: winery
ANYTHING YOU SHOULD AVOID WHen VISITING MENDOZA?
I tend to recommend staying away from some of the gigantic wineries, the big names. Sometimes the best experiences and most delicious wines are found in boutique, low-key wineries. I do suggest people visit our main park San Martin, it is stunning. So forested and green but also big. Therefore it is safe to stroll around the lake and areas where is more crowded. Do not wander off too much especially at night. Mendoza is quite safe, not a lot of violent crime, however opportunist pickpocketters target tourists at times!