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Mendoza is one of the most attractive provincial cities in Argentina with elegant tree-lined avenues, well-kept parks and a good selection of shops, restaurants and evening venues. The city prides itself of its historic heritage, the excellence of its wines and the beauty of the surrounding Andean landscape.
They say that Mendoza's beauty begins once you leave the city and head out into the countryside. There are countless vineyards and bodegas in the towns and villages that are spread throughout the region. Lush green vineyards stretch for miles against the stunning backdrop of the Andean mountains and you can spend days just travelling around sampling the wines of each bodega.
For the more adventurous, the surrounding landscape is an outdoor enthusiast's dream with lots of activities including trekking, horse riding and fishing. One of the most popular activities is white water rafting as the Mendoza and Tunuyán rivers offer the perfect mix of class 3 to 5 rapid courses.
The centre of Mendoza is relatively compact and it's an ideal place for walking around on foot. The vineyards take about half an hour to reach on a day tour from the city. For this reason, most people prefer staying in the heart of the vineyards where you can stay on selected bodegas or wine lodges and completely immerse yourself into the world of wine.
Temperatures in Mendoza are generally warm throughout most of the year so anytime is a good time to visit. The beginning of March is the harvest festival and availability during this week can be difficult.
Alternatively call our Travel Specialists on 020 3820 3341.
A little historical background illustrates how this region, has become something of a legend in the wine-growing world. When the Spanish conquistadores arrived in Mendoza, the region was occupied by the Huarpe native Indians in the Valle de Uco and the Northern region. The Huarpe tribe, pacific, agricultural and orderly in their lifestyle, impressed the Spanish with their ingenious irrigation systems in the Huentota valley which permitted them to cultivate corn and potatoes where the city of Mendoza now stands. As time passed, the irrigation system was expanded and the Spanish began to import other vegetables and fruit, including vines to plant in the region, developing a significant agro-industry at a time when there was little other agricultural activity of this nature taking place in the country.
In 1811, the Spaniard Don Antonio Solanilla came to Mendoza bringing with him an image of the Virgin seated on a small cart with the baby Jesus in one arm and a bunch of grapes in the other, who, as tradition had it, once appeared to impoverished miners in the Spanish province of Aragón. The Virgin and her bunch of grapes quickly became popular in Mendoza, and indeed, the legends tell that one night of terrible hailstorms the vine growers in desperation took her from her Chapel to the vineyards, whereupon the storms immediately died down. Thus, she became the patron saint of the Vine.
In 1884, the Mendozan authorities decided to attract specifically those immigrants who knew about wine-growing and sent a representative to Europe to recruit specialists and workers from Italy, France and Spain. The initiative brought many wine-growing families and entrepreneurs to the region with their treasured vines, families whose names now grace the labels on many a bottle. However, no variety has enjoyed more success than the flagship Malbec, originally a French grape of little distinction which arrived in this country at the beginning of the 20th century and flourished beyond expectation under the Mendozan sun. In the early 1980s, the Malbec underwent a revival when the trend for blended table wines turned towards single-grape varietals and the taste for Malbec as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc took off, together with the budding community of wine-enthusiasts. Twenty years later, these grapes have been joined by other new-world favourites such as Syrah, Bonarda, Tempranillo and Viognier as well as the fruity local white Torrontes, winning prestigious international prizes and glowing recommendations from the worlds top wine-writers.
Worthy of note is the wine harvest festival, la Fiesta de la Vendimia, the most important event on the Mendozan calendar which takes place in March and lasts a week. Spectators are treated to folksong and dance performances from local and invited artists, floats and processions in honour of the Virgin of the Vine and the election of the National Queen of the Wine Harvest. The province of Mendoza now boasts 550 wineries, from small boutiques to large-scale exporters, many of which are included in the recently-created Rutas del Vino, or Wine Routes, open to the public for a tour of their installations and a wine-tasting led by their wine-makers.
Alternatively call our Travel Specialists on 020 8546 6222.
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