I'm almost done grieving the loss of all my digital pictures from Mendoza. very, very sad! :(:(
I had hoped to show you the delicious food and wine establishments Mendoza has to offer anyone who likes to drink great wine and eat great food in an aesthetically beautiful environment. I might never get over losing those images. When I get back to SF maybe I'll try to find someone to help me retrieve them from the hard drive or wherever they're hiding out.
Moving on now.........
Logistically, getting to Mendoza was a nightmare. We traveled for 19 hours. First leg was Cusco to Lima. We needed to stay awake for the next leg - 1:00am - Lima to Santiago. Dunkin Donuts coffee tastes just as good in the Peru airport as it does back in the states. Another way to pass the time was mini backgammon. Thanks for the set, Cin! Josh's patience and skillful instruction (of course, what else would you expect from Teacher of the Year?) on the strategy behind backgammon got be too excrutiating for me. Since we still had 10 hours of travel time remaining we decided to end class and put away the game. The flight to Santiago goes down in history as the worst flight of them all (as of today we've taken 14 flights). You don't need to know the gross details, trust me. Our flight landed in Santiago at 6:30 am. We took turns sleeping in the Santiago airport until our last flight of the journey, the flight to Mendoza, departed at 10:30.
It would've been much easier to taste wine in Chile but something in Mendoza was pulling me in. I'm glad I went with my intuition. We stayed for 2 days but I could have easily stayed for 2 weeks.
The driver from Hotel Finca Adalgisa (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!) was waiting for us when we arrived at 11:30. Immigrations took one hour, oy vey! Thankfully the hotel was only 20 minutes away. We dropped off our bags in the room and went right back out for lunch. Sometimes the best way to beat jet lag is to keep on movin'. A friend of a friend of a friend, Ruy from Sao Paulo in Mendoza on business, met us at our hotel to take us to lunch in the area where we were staying, Lujan de Cuyo. We were too tired to ask where we were going and the drive was taking forever. It's not like Napa or Sonoma where you have neighboring wineries one after the other. Later in the day we bought a great map of this region as well as other wine regions within a 1.5 hour driving radius. Even if you have a map it's still not possible to navigate your way around the roads. Even locals told me they don't know where many wineries are located. The best thing to do is have your hotel hire a remise (driver) and just let them know which wineries you want to visit.
Finally we arrived at Familia Zuccardi Winery and Restaurant. Aside from the 1/4 of a roasted chicken and Dunkin Donuts coffee in the Lima airport we had not eaten a proper meal in almost 24 hours. Knowing what you know about me and needing to eat every 3 - 4 hours or else my head starts to do 360degree turns we chose to eat lunch over wine tasting. What a meal! What a meal! It was so good it deserves to be repeated. Easily the best meal we've had in the world thus far. It was a Sunday and most restaurants are closed on Sundays for the traditional Parilla with their family and friends (grilled meats, sausages, salad and wine). Luckily for us, Familia Zuccardi was open for lunch. I wish you could see the pictures :(:(
Lunch at Familia Zuccardi
Empanadas, Bread and Cheeses
Grilled sausages: Morcilla (blood) and Chorizo (pork)
Tomato Salad with Red Wine Vinagrette and Oregano
Bibb Lettuce Salad with Onions and Hearts of Palms
Bife de Chorizo (the prize cut of beef - rumpsteak)
Grilled Seasonal Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream
Wines at Familia Zuccardi
Torrontes (white varietal) - paired with empanadas and cheeses
2002 "Q" Malbec - paired with meat
2003 Santa Julia - blend of Merlot, Malbec, Tempranillo and Syrah
2005 Tardillo (late harvest) - 3 dessert wines paired with peaches and cream
2004 Malamado (viognier)
2004 Tinto Malamado (malbec)
Guide to show you the insiders Mendoza
Dolores Montero, Owner
Finca Adalgisa - www.fincaadalgisa.com.ar
Rural hotel, winery exclusively for hotel guests, swimming pool, homey cottages, german shepards and cats roaming the premises
Ruca Malen (great spot for prix fixe lunch with wine pairing)
1884 Restaurant - Chef Francis Mallmann