Rich red Malbec pumps through the heart of Mendoza’s wine route: an intoxicating trail past vine-carpeted desert plains and Andean foothills. We’ve crafted an itinerary that crosses the most fertile terroir, with stops at a historic finca, forward-thinking winery and eco-friendly estate; so prep your tasting notes and get ready to rhapsodise about bouquets…
A fine vintage, Finca Adalgisa in Chacras de Coria has been tended by the Furlotti-Moretti family for more than 100 years. During that time they’ve refined their robust red and created a wine retreat ripe with old-school charm. The Finca’s yield of just 5,000 bottles a year is reserved exclusively for hotel guests, so try to attend tastings in the hotel’s bar as often as you can.
A la carte The scent of sizzling carne will float you to the communal asado (barbecue) like a cartoon character. Hot-from-the-oven empanadas and local cheeses and meats complete the feast. Tapas-themed cookery lessons are held here too, and take-home treats include handmade olive oil and jam.
The best of the rest A laid-back library to read (and drink) in, a pool with views and staff who’ll make you feel at home.
Just a 15-minute drive from Finca Adalgisa, Entre Cielos is a striking modernist monolith that sits comfortably alongside seasonally chameleonic vineyards and Andean peaks. The hotel owners’ label, Marantal – a passion-project trio of Malbecs (Young, Classic and Gran) – will keep you merry, or take your pick of poison from the 100-strong wine list. Viticulture goes beyond the bar here, with rooms classified like vintages, and wine-infused spa treatments.
A la carte Katharina Restaurant serves prettified, rustic Mendocinean and European fare. Goat ravioli, viscacha (chinchilla) ragout and baked apples with dulce de leche mousse sit side by side with Italian and French classics. Most of the fruit and vegetables are plucked from the estate’s orchards and gardens.
The best of the rest Hasten hedonism with a trip to the six-room hammam. The hotel’s vintage car can be hired for trips to local vineyards, and the Vineyard Loft (above) is a super-cool cocoon with 360° views and a discreet Jacuzzi on the terrace.
CASA DE UCO
Casa de Uco is a 90-minute drive south from Entre Cielos. Malbec-weary oenophiles will thrill to see the chartreuse and carmine tones of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir colouring the wine list. You’ll learn how to swirl, sniff and sip like a pro with a super Smith extra: a free wine tasting with Juan Pablo Nieva, a sommelier with impeccable taste.
A la carte The hotel’s kitchen garden is better stocked than your average Waitrose, with abundant veggies and a fragrant patch of herbs. These are added to fork-attackable fare such as cured duck with beets and quince, and giant eggplant raviolones in a leek sauce with shaved walnuts. Dedicated carnivores can take their cutlery to flame-licked steaks from the asado.
The best of the rest A Jacuzzi with panoramic views; on-the-ball staff; and elegantly idiosyncratic, eco-friendly architecture – we love the wildflower-scattered green roof.