Mendoza is the region where the vast majority of Argentina's wine is produced. The climate is ideal, as it is very dry. In particular, a French grape, Malbec, which never did so well in France thrives in Mendoza, hence the massive industry that this city supports. Historically the wine in Mendoza was oriented toward table wine, however as the industry has developed, and customers tastes become more demanding, there is a premium wine industry that is emerging.
I spent my first day in Mendoza tasting wines in the Uco Valley. We visited 3 different bodegas - Salentein, Lurton and O'Fournier. The Uco Valley is at a slight altitude compared to Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu, the other main wine areas of Mendoza. However for me it was ideal, as the views to the Andes were spectacular. I was lucky enough to have a beautiful day.
The tastings at each bodega were also very generous, much more so than when I've tasted in Australia, however the system is a little different here. Even if you don't visit with a tour, the tastings cost about 25 pesos or so, and you need to reserve in advance for them. With the exception of Malbec, the varieties of wine are very similar to those grown in Australia, however there are some differences in the taste.
At the third bodega, O'Fournier, we ate a 3.5 course lunch with a spectacular view ahead of us to the Andes. The lunch itself was pretty impressive. The highlight for me was the Torrontes sorbet, made from a wine grown in the region to the north of Mendoza.
It was time then for a siesta on the way back to Mendoza, before tucking into yet more Malbec back at the hostel. It's exhausting, this caper!