Argentina, along with its neighbour Chile, has long been known for its wonderful beef. What better way to accompany some of the best steak in the world than with a beautiful deep rich red wine.
Luckily, the Argentines’ other famous produce is that of the beautiful valleys in the wine-growing region of Mendoza which produce smooth red Malbec wines to savour and whose boutique wineries can be explored on a self-drive itinerary in a very unique way.
Mendoza is a perfect paradise for wine-lovers but also those who like to explore independently among some truly beautiful landscapes. The city of Mendoza itself is reached easily from Buenos Aires by short flight and has some lovely leafy avenues and pretty parks.
I would definitely though head straight out of the city towards the rows and rows of vineyards that dot the landscape here in the shadow of the Andes that border with Chile.
Once you are here, there are some truly unique boutique bodegas to visit where you can taste and purchase some very original vintages. Malbec is a smooth and complex rich red that pairs beautiful with a range of foods.
Not only will you be able to taste some exquisite wines but you are in for a treat with a chance to sample some of the country’s best dining. Francis Mallman and other very well-known Argentine chefs have created some cutting edge restaurants and dining experiences here that are simply not to be missed.
A new fun and flexible way to explore the many wineries of this beautiful area is by taking a self-drive option (as long as one of you doesn’t mind driving – or else you can of course arrange a driver!) in a very unique and nostalgic car.
Take your classic French Citroen 2CV Charleston painted and lovingly restored, pack up the boot with a gourmet picnic and blanket and head down quiet little country lanes to visit some pretty wine estates and soak up the panoramas.
Find a beautiful spot to stop for an alfresco lunch or you can book in to a delightful local winery restaurant for a leisurely meal. Roll down the roof on a sunny day (which is pretty frequent) and meander along as the mood takes you.
After exploring the countryside by 2CV, you will want somewhere to stay to perhaps savour a glass of that wine you bought today on your private terrace or just relax and enjoy a swim or spa treatment before a sumptuous dinner paired with beautiful wines.
There are some absolutely gorgeous lodges located on wine estates of their own that offer you really incredible views, beautiful pools for a refreshing dip and of course, some incredible dining. Local hosts at the lodges can also recommend other ways to explore the vineyards, whether by bike or on a leisurely hike if you want to work off that steak and wine.
Serious wine buffs can follow their tour of Mendoza by continuing across the border to Chile. Complete a wonderful winery circuit by heading across the Andes via a stunning view of Aconcagua, the cordillera’s highest peak, to Santiago’s Central region to sample the Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Sauvignon Blanc varieties of Maipo and Casablanca Valleys for which it has justifiably become famous.