Mendoza is the largest wine-producing region in South America with over 1,200 wineries in the three areas you can visit: Luján de Cuyo, Maipu, and Valle de Uco. It is hard to choose which ones to visit so here are our top 10: Vistalba, Ruca Malen, Melipal, Norton, Terrazas, Salentein, Andeluna, Catena Zapata, Trapiche, El Enemigo.
The city is also a short trip away from Aconcagua, the highest peak outside Asia. You won't be able to get too close to the mountain (unless you are willing to walk a lot. I mean, A LOT... just take photos) but the beautiful road and the view from Horcones lake are good enough.
If you are feeling adventurous we highly recommend a sunset horse ride. It is a beautiful journey that ends with asado and wine. We hired Los Pingos Horse Riding but there are several options.
Finally, you can't leave without visiting one of the olivículas. It is more interesting and tasty than it sounds. We went to Laur, named the 3rd most important olive oil factory in the world, and we were not disappointed.
Francis Mallmann is one of the most renowned chefs in the world and he has a great restaurant in Mendoza: 1884. However, our favorite experience was at Azafran.
It had to contain wine, of course. Amaro (Italian for bitter), cherry vanilla, and rum are a sweet contrast to the full-body taste of the Malbec.
2 oz. Red Diamond Malbec
2 oz. Rum
1/2 oz. Amaro
4 Drops of cherry vanilla bitters
Garnish: orange peel
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. strain into a chilled couple glass. Express orange oils from peel and drop peel into cocktail.
Gotan Project's music style can be called Neotango and they have released three great albums.
Even though only one of the band's members is from Argentina their sound is the perfect soundtrack for a trip to Mendoza.
Ojo de Bife
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup finely chopped parsley
3⁄4 cup finely chopped oregano
1 1⁄2 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 lb. boneless rib eye
Bring 1 tbsp. salt and 1 cup water to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan; let cool. Whisk parsley, oregano, chile flakes, oil, vinegar, garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Stir in a saltwater mixture; let chimichurri sit for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to high; bank coals or turn burner off on one side (see “Grilling 101“). Pat rib eye dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill on the hottest part of the grill, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, 15-20 minutes. Move rib eye to the cooler side of grill; continue to grill until cooked to desired doneness, 25-30 minutes more for medium rare, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak reads 125°. If the outside starts to burn before the steak is fully cooked, move to the cooler side of the grill until done.
Rest meat 20 minutes before slicing; serve with chimichurri.