MENDOZA VALLEY MALBEC: A WINE LOVER’S PARADISE IN ARGENTINA
MALBEC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD: MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
In western Argentina lies the province of Mendoza nestled in the foothills region of the Sierra de Los Paramillos, a secondary range of the imposing Andes Mountains. Mendoza City is the capital of the province and is one of the most beautiful cities in Argentina, ideal for casual strolls along tree-lined streets and favorable weather in the Mendoza River Valley. Additionally, it is also home to the most famed grape in wine-making history, the Malbec, having gone from near extinction to an incredible comeback to one of the most beautiful regions in South America.
Nowadays, when you think Malbec, Argentina is the first to come to mind. Why is Malbec such a favorite in these parts? In this specific area of Argentina, the long and warm days with little rain help develop the Malbec grape’s best traits unlike anywhere else in the world. As one of the most beautiful wine destinations in the world, the Mendoza and Uco Valleys are favored and Mendoza’s vineyards are also planted in some of the highest altitudes in the world, some of them at 36,000 ft asl.
The Mendoza wine region was originally called Cuyo, representing an area of France where it was once produced in. Of course, this was before the Malbec winemaking boom that put Argentina on the map in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was actually a grape known to have grown all the way back to the times of the Roman Empire. Nowadays, Mendoza is the most important Malbec wine-making region of Argentina, producing over two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production. The upsurge in popularity made Argentina the fifth-largest wine-growing region in the world, not to mention the largest in all of Latin America. Therefore, it is all that much easier to sip on endless glasses of Malbec while visiting this enchanting region.
Essentially, the Malbec grape is known for its deep purple color and full body. Although its origin was in France, it was brought to Argentina in 1868 after having gone extinct due to unexpected freezing temperatures during the winter months. As it began to grow in Mendoza, the small grape became thicker skinned and produced a much more fruity wine with medium tannin levels than those compared to the Malbec version of France.
Thanks to these warm and sunny days and cool nights in the valley, the grape grew to its best potential, surprising everyone. And if you need more reason to visit Mendoza for this specific Malbec, allow yourself to think about the plummy and soft textures that can only be found in Argentina. For example, the Argentine Malbec is best known for savory notes of leather, oak, vanilla, smoky tobacco, dark chocolate, black pepper, and coffee while highlighting darker fruity flavors such as blackberry and plum. Meanwhile, back in France the grape is mostly known as a blending grape for Bordeaux wines and is much more tart and savory.
In general, your Malbec experience begins just as soon as you set foot in the city of Mendoza with many restaurants highlighting local producers of Malbec. While dining you can ask for the best pairing suggestions and later purchase your own bottle of your preference. Days of leisure are easily enjoyable at the Parque San Martin, Central Park, or Piazza Espana, and you can learn more about the city and its artistic side at the Mendoza Museum of Modern Art. Along with the city highlights, enjoy the many festivals that are held here throughout the year. One of the most memorable is the harvest festival, held yearly in March with the spell-binding colors of Autumn in the air, one of the most lovely times to be in the region.
As Mendoza sits in one of the many Andean valleys, there are many micro-climates adding to the variety of wine produced and even more areas to explore. Mendoza seems as though it is beckoning you in with a warm welcome as the wondrous landscapes surround you. The agricultural flatlands and vineyards seem to go on for miles and as the surrounding Andes Mountain Range comes into view, picturesque panoramas will blow you away. What’s more, the diversity of the entire region allows for many different opportunities for both thrill-seekers and leisure enthusiasts.
For instance, Mendoza is a favorite if you love to connect to the great outdoors and nature. For example, it is easy to escape on breathtaking excursions like trekking in the valleys with impressive views making the day hikes more than worth it. The easy access to the Andes offer treks that range from day excursions to multiday adventures. Furthermore, if you are seeking a stimulating experience, take advantage of the Mendoza River and the incredible rapids that offer white-water rafting unlike anywhere else.
Of course, given the setting, relaxing getaways are plentiful with gorgeous vineyards and fancy eateries. Hot-air balloon rides, horseback riding, picnics, and bonfires are just a small handful of laid-back and highly enjoyable activities available. Much of the wine exploration offers tours highlighting the entire wine-making process, others offer wine tastings and pairings, most often with the exceptional variety of Malbec.
Speak to one of our specialists to start designing your perfect trip to discover Malbec in the heart of the Mendoza Valley region.
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Author: Deb Davad