Hyatt Park Mendoza – top10 in South America

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Hyatt Park Mendoza is among the top 10 of the best hotels in South America per this January issue of Travel+Leisure Magazine.

Park Hyatt Mendoza Argentina

vines-of-mendoza Hyatt Mendoza ArgentinaOne of the city tastings on our wine tour will be at “Vines of Mendoza”  located within this Spanish style hotel.   The Hyatt Park Mendoza is located in front of La Plaza de Independencia, it is  beautiful to take an evening stroll through the Plaza and Plaza Independencia Mendoza Argentinawalk by the illuminated water fountains and trees.   It’s close to the downtown area with lots of great restaurants and walking distance to shops and coffee houses. After our tasting that eve we’ll have a myriad of choices for dinning – take a look at this for help on a few places.

The exquisitely outfitted Kaua Club & Spa   could be the treat to soothe your senses and give in to pleasures of relaxing in this South American setting.Kaua Club & Spa Hyatt Mendoza Argentina

If you click the map below it will show our hotel Bohemia Boutique Hotel and the distance to the Hyatt Park Mendoza. It’s 10 minutes, I’ve walked it and it’s gorgeous!

Map from Bohemia to HyattHave you joined the email list? Join us at South America’s Napa Valley – Mendoza!  Check out the itinerary here.


tanya@wellbeingOver40.com

Discover your inner Tango

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Yes, “Discover your inner Tango!” is one of the taglines that winesofargentina.com is spreading in preparation for World Malbec Day on April 17th.  Love it!Discover your inner Tango

I won’t tell you that I know Tango because I don’t.  But I will tell you that I grew up with Tango in the background of my youth and now, older, I appreciate it and enjoy it more and more.  The sensuality, the desire and the elegance of the dance is a bit magical to me. So sophisticated!

Many times in my travels to Argentina I’ve stopped to marvel at live street Tango dancing and is indeed something not be missed!

Take a look at this couple performance  — it’s playful, mischievous and fun.  In my opinion the feet work and fluid movements are hypnotic.  Go ahead, take a look!

That was Luis Castro & Claudia Mendoza performing a milonga to the song called Milonga de Mis Amores at Nora’s Tango Week 2008 Celebration Tango in San Francisco, California, USA on July 12, 2008

 

What you just saw is called the “milonguero” style and it characterized by a very close embrace, small steps, and synched rhythmic footwork. The style is based on the crowded downtown clubs of the ’50s. There are many other styles, this was just a taste… There are some new modern tango songs with fusion of sounds that are unique and intriguing – I’ll soon share those too.

WineTour.WellbeingOver40.comOn our wine tour in April, we have the evenings free and I strongly encourage enjoy a Tango show.  You’ll walk out having discovered your inner Tango and your heart and senses will be alive!Photo provided by Wines of Argentina

I, for one will not miss out on that feeling!  Have you joined the email list? Aren’t you joining us? Check out the itinerary here.

What is an Asado Argentino?

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Visiting Argentina and not taking part of a traditional delicious Asado is almost sinful.  It’s like going to Argentina and not experiencing Tango…..but that’s another post….asado

Oh, what is an Asado? It’s a BBQ, but not just a BBQ, it’s a celebration (that to my American ways seems like way too much work), but not to an Argentine – never!  They do it all from scratch. Starting with the fire – it’s with wood or coal – none of those shinny BBQs with propane tanks, no, absolutely not!  An Asado is a reason and excuse to get together with groups of friends and family and relax as you wait for it to be ready.Asado Argentino

The beauty of an Asado, is the preparation if it all, the manipulation of the fire and flames, the distance of the meats and the style of the “Asador”.  What is an “Asador” the person who prepares the asado – I couldn’t help it, I had to state the obvious ;-) .  An asado is magical… (If you are into beef) and Argentines are! We are talking about a half side of beef and of course it’s ordered ahead from your butcher friend….yes, of course they have butcher friends!  The long ritual of getting the pit ready, the wood or coal with enough heat just right, and then the placement and re-placement of the beef and then waiting and waiting so it comes out just so…is not called “work” in Argentina, it’s one of life’s pleasures! And believe me, you get caught up in the enjoyment.While the Asado is being masterfully prepared we must do something, right?  Well, we have “una picada” and what is that? It’s what you nibble on as you wait for the Asado to be ready. What better than to drink wine and indulge in salamines (salamis),  artisan breads, olives,  and an assortment of savory cheeses – very “Italian-like” – delectable!  PicadaBut, don’t forget about that half side of beef being prepared, so take it easy.   The whole thing is very festive, with fits of laughter, stories, jokes and lots of admiring remarks to the “Asador” with a few pranks here and there.

You will be rewarded with the most mouth watering, melt in your mouth beef that you have ever tasted.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that I am on vacation, the cows are still grass fed in Argentina, the love which the Asado was made with or a combination of it all — but to me, it is always a heavenly experience.   But watch out, when the Asado is ready, the food frenzy begins!

I found this video for us. I don’t know who they are, but they look like they know what they’re doing.  I love the house, the backyard and what they are going to eat.

The Asado prepared for our wine trip is going to be in Potrerillos, overlooking a lake after a day of adventure out in the countryside of Mendoza. Check out the itinerary here.

Flying to Mendoza, Argentina

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Several of you have emailed me asking about flights, routes, airlines, etc.  Here is a post to help you out.

I’ve been flying to Argentina for 10 years PLUS helping relatives and friends organize their flights. I’ll share information about what I know and  I’ll concentrate on Mendoza. Photo from Tripin.com

  • FACTS TO KEEP IN MIND
  • Airfare will range from $1100.00 – $1300.00 round trip and I’ve seen sale prices as low as $980.00.
  • The flight is long. It starts at 14 hours and if you have connections and stops, it can easily turn into a 20 hour flight or more – which is painfully long.
  • Miles between Los Angeles and Mendoza, Argentina are 5,640.
  • Mendoza is 5 hours ahead of Los Angeles – when it is 9:00 am in Los Angeles, it is 2:00 pm in Mendoza.
  • April means Spring in the U.S. but it’s Fall in Argentina. We’ll see the changing of the leaves.
  • AIRLINES
  • I always start with Cheap Air to compare prices.
  • Lan.com  - LAN’s flight via Santiago is my favorite route and I’ll pay a little more if I have to because there is more space, it’s the most direct but mostly because the service is great.LanChile
  • It has a direct flight from LAX to Santiago de Chile. It stops in Llima or Panama City for a short time.  Once in Santiago, you are a “in transit” and you have a new flight, with a different  plane to Mendoza. It is about a 30 – 40 min flight. DutyFreeSantiagodeChile
  • Santiago’s airport is nice, clean, spacious, lots a seats, TVs, several shops, and decent places to eat.
  • LAN also has routes within Argentina and it is a more reliable airline than the local one Aereolineas Argentinas.  Don’t get me wrong, its a good airline, they just go on strike a lot so they can be unreliable. We took on our honeymoon.  Yep, that’s me on my way to Patagonia for our honeymoon.Aereolineas Argentinas
  • American Airlines
  • They have several routes and can be less than LAN.
  • LAX – Dallas – Santiago – Mendoza or Buenos Aires
  • LAX – Miami – Mendoza or Buenos Aires
  • LAX – NYC – Mendoza or Buenos Aires
  • Delta Airlines
  • I’ve never taken  to Argentina but I found this route.
  • Lax – Atlanta – Buenos Aires
  • Despegar.com
  • They’ve been around since 2001
  • When we had a company importing handmade glass from Argentina we used this company a lot. They offered really cheap flights and since we sometimes had to go two or three times a year, it was good.
  • The website is based in Miami, but it’s in Spanish.
  • Their customer service # 1 866 234 0089 – someone can help in English if you call. It might be worth looking into.

We already bought our tickets for the Well-being Mendoza Wine Tour.  We got them from Lan.com a few of weeks ago!  Once we do BUY the tickets I always feel like the trip has begun, the excitement and anticipation starts…

 

Malbec World Day Celebration Video

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Yes, April 17th is Malbec World Day and that means we are only 4 months away from the celebration! The trade organization Wines of Argentina has posted on their website (in Spanish) something that goes like this;
“On April 17, we will have a glass of Malbec in hand. We will celebrate the World Day of the variety which has achieved first place in the preferences of consumers worldwide.”

 

Below is a video created by Wines of Argentina.  After watching it several times now…all I can really say, is I CAN’T wait to be there!   I may be a little bias (a little? HA, ok ok) but I love the air of elegance, refinement and adventure you see in this video. I would recommend having a glass a wine as you watch.

Malbec World Day from Wines of Argentina on Vimeo.

The grape leading the quiet revolution, which has enabled Argentina to gain recognition the world over. To celebrate, Wines of Argentina established April 17th as Malbec World Day, a global fiesta dedicated to Argentina’s finest grape.
On April 17, 2012 Wines of Argentina will celebrate their 2nd International Malbec World Day.  I do not doubt this will become an icon event in the food and wine world. For those of you joining us on the Well-being Mendoza Wine Tour, this will be very special and memorable vacation! Uncorking Argentina has special ties to the Mendoza wine trade and has prepared a spectacular wine celebration for our tour – see previous post here. On April 17th we will have the afternoon free to explore and participate in all festivities throughout Mendoza.

Celebrate Malbec World Day in Mendoza – click here for more info.

Cheers!

PS – 90 point wines under $20 at Wine.com. Shop Now!

Argentina’s Malbec Boom – Wine Spectator

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Yes, the December 2011 issue of Wine Spectator is all about Argentina’s Malbec Boom!  It is full of articles, spotlights and great information about Argentina’s wines.

So far I’ve read the article “Malbec’s Moment – How a forgotten grape has taken America by storm” it gives the background of the wine, Argentina’s economic downturn in 2001 and how it became the “perfect storm”. After the government defaulted on some of its debt and abandoned the peso’s parity to the U.S. dollar, the peso quickly lost three-quarters of its value.  Here is the good part though; Argentina’s wine export market began to surge. Heavy foreign investment came in and a gold rush began.  Wineries started using their new profit influx to promote Malbec overseas and invest in their facilities. This has created one of the most modernized wine regions in the world.

Also, Alberto Arizu, president of the trade organization Wines of Argentina states that their organization began to promote Malbec on restaurant wine lists at Argentine restaurants, then well-known steak houses and finally national chains of all types. Wines of Argentina continues its messaging via events such as International Malbec World Day on April 17.

A few other things I found interesting:

  • In 2010, Argentina exported more than 4 million cases of Malbec to the U.S. -  60% of its exports to the U.S. 
  • “The message was clear: Americans loved Malbec.”
  • The issue includes a guide of 700 Argentine wines – of those, 375 are 100% Malbec.
  • The beautiful cover photograph is by a local photographer from Mendoza, Gustavo Sabéz.

Visit our amazon store for magazine deals!

NOTE: When you join the our email list you receive both the Guide of 700 recommended Argentine Wines and the “Malbec’s Moment” article, among other fun Wine Travel info.

GRACIAS! I take this opportunity to recognize Wines of Argentina for their collaboration. Thanks to them we get to enjoy most of beautiful pictures on this website.  We are grateful for their collaboration!

Celebrate Malbec World Day in Mendoza – click here for more info.

Cheers!

PS – 90 point wines under $20 at Wine.com. Shop Now!

Argentina Eating, a Social Event

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One of my favorite rituals when I travel to Argentina happens during meal times. The fact that we have to set up for a large group (which is usually the case) does not interfere  in the meal activity at all, you chatter and gossip with each other as you set the table for many, it’s a big family, many will come. The “American” in me, of course, is thinking “This is going to take too long I don’t want to do it.” – Yes, I admit it, have those thoughts.  But I remind myself “What is the rush? Where am I gonna’ go?  I am on vacation in Argentina, after all.”Photographer Ignacio Gaffuri at Wines of ArgentinaWe usually go during summer, and often we get to eat outside under shady trees and with a very inviting hammock not too far away.  Whether we’ve spend all day cooking, or we’ve bought take out or we are eating a delicious Asado, the whole point is to be together, share, eat, drink wine, relax and talk. This will take at least a couple of hours…there is no rush, really.

Photographer Garcia Betancourt at Wines of ArgentinaOh, but it’s not all a Kumbaya moment, it’s also family time and that means….there is a little arguing, yelling at the kids, kids yelling back, complaining we are too fat or too skinny (yeah right), too full, etc. Then if you throw in a little nostalgia about the good ol’ days, you’ve got yourself an Argentine family meal.   Those who finish first and somehow dodge the clean-up will casually and playfully race each other towards the hammock. The lucky winner sleeps it off under the trees to the sounds of birds…really, I’m not kidding.  The rest slowly and quietly disappear indoors – yes, now it’s siesta time and time for your own private food coma.

This is not just a ritual of our family – it’s a national tradition to bring many to the table, eat the meal slowly and share the wine. The first time I went out to dinner in Argentina, we were a group 8. When we arrived at the restaurant (10 pm mind you), we were taken to our table and someone brought us bread and a jug of wine. To me, it seemed like they never came back to take give us menus but then no one was really waiting for them, they were drinking wine and chatting.  Eventually the menus arrived.  Again, to me, it seemed like forever before they came back to take the order AND when they did arrive, they didn’t take written notes…as I looked at the group, I realized, I was the only one paying attention to any of this.

Photographer Ignacio Gaffuri at Wines of ArgentinaThe food was brought out pretty quickly and to my surprise the waiter missed nothing, it was perfect – what do I know? The table became festive, loud and fun and we enjoyed the evening and delighted our taste buds with food and wine that kept coming.  When we finished and the plates were cleared, to my astonishment we started all over again with new menus for dessert and coffee.  Now, it’s been at least 1.5 hours since we arrived I am thinking (don’ they need this table of 8 for another party? – yes the American in me). The whole dance began again with the waiter not coming to get the dessert order. Again, no one cared or paid attention; they were all simply enjoying each others company.  The order is taken, the table gets excited about the desserts (like we’ve never eaten before) and we drink coffee and keep talking. Remember by now it’s 11:30pm (nope, no discussion about caffeine and not sleeping). I will not go into the scenario of asking for the check and then the paying part, you get the picture. About 2.5 hours later we walk out – full, satisfied and content!

These two quick anecdotes of breaking bread are normal in Argentina.  Though it takes me at least a day to stop the hyperness and sense of urgency which I arrive with from the US, I am quickly enveloped in the slow, relaxed way they live.  I start to really enjoy my vacation and remind myself, “What is the rush? Where am I gonna’ go?  I am on vacation in Argentina, after all.”

I hope you consider joining us in April for the Well-being Wine and Food Tour in Mendoza, Argentina – you will love it.

Cheers!

Photos thanks to Garcia Betancourt & Ignacio Gaffuri of Wines of Argentina

Celebration of Malbec World Day in Mendoza 2012

Thanks to the non-profit “Wines of Argentina” we get to celebrate the signature grape varietal of Argentina and have a party in Mendoza. Some 33 cities around the world will also celebrate on April 17, 2012, Malbec World Day.

Malbec World DayThe group of Wine enthusiasts that traveling to Mendoza in April 2012, are in for a festive atmosphere replete with wine and food tastings!  We will be in the midst of the many celebrations to honor the velvety Malbec wine.

I invite you to watch this 4 min video on from Alejandra de Miguel from the Canadian Winery, Vintage 1 who participating in the celebrations for Malbec World day 2012.  You’ll see the passion and excitement of what this day evokes. (Click on the picture to go to video page.)

Alejandra de Miguel Vintage OneHow will Well-being Mendoza Wine Tour pay honor to Malbec World day?  So glad you ask!

  • We’ll visit Vistalba Winery and according to our partner wine tour company “Uncorking Argentina”, we will go underground to see the stony beds from which their 100 year Malbec vineyard is grown.
  • We will taste and wine pair the Vistalba Wines
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  • An International Malbec World Day Luncheon with an amazing local agronomist.
  • Lunch pairings will be held in award winning vineyard restaurant, La Bourgogne, one of Mendoza’s premier restaurants.
  • A unique presentation of new “wine architecture”, by the prestigious award winning architectural firm, Bormida & Yanzon who have designed wineries such as the one below O’ Fournier Winery that our tour will visit – of course!

OFounier_TastingRoomAnd, finally you will be on your own to explore in Mendoza City. We’ll check into the small urban hotel, Bohemia, located two blocks from General San Martin Park and a quick walk to the elegant Mendoza downtown where you will find pubs, restaurants and shops.

Are you joining us in April 2012?  Please visit the tour options

Sources: Wines of Argentina, Vistalba Wineries, O’ Fournier Winery

 

Where does a Foodie eat in Mendoza, Argentina?

What a great question!

Just like the Bordeaux region of France and Napa in California, in the modern and laid back city of Mendoza, it’s all about wine. But in addition to being the main wine producing region of the country, Mendoza is also a haven for foodies.

Something that sets Mendoza apart from other wine regions is the food pairing passion that accompanies you everywhere.   The city’s backdrop of the towering Andes is a retreat for foodies to indulge and feast their palates with their cuisine.

Before we talk food, let talk Siesta….Mendoza takes a Siesta (nap) from approximately 1:30 pm to 5pm everyday. Downtown stores and restaurants ARE CLOSED at this time. The owner will open at his/her leisure AROUND 5pm and some not until 8pm.  Argentines eat late!  Restaurants won’t start to get crowded until 10pm and it’s very common to see families with children dining at this hour – it’s normal there. At 11pm, restaurants are a hub of activity and have lines out the door.

See? This is why you need a Siesta!

Here are 3 top restaurants I recommend – all their wine lists are grand:

  1. Azafran – I walked by this restaurant and did not have time to go in.  I have heard great things about it and MUST go next time I am in Mendoza.  They serve a variety of eclectic dishes using ingredients from all over Argentina including deer and lamb. Reservations are recommended. Azafran Restaurant, Mendoza Argentina
  2. 1884 Chef Francis Mallman’s signature is restaurant called 1884 is one of finest restaurant for meat in this meat country. He blends French essentials with local staples and turns the meal into a rustic, earthy delight…so I’ve heard. It is located in Romanesque building with a bodega called Bodega Escorihuela. Many dishes are cooked over an open fire or in a clay oven AND the portions are very generous.  It has been recommended to me many times and I have yet have the pleasure of enjoying a meal.  Soon…very soon!1884 Restaurant - Mendoza Argentina
  3. La Estancia La Florencia – This was walking distance from my hotel last year (2010) and I ate there many times and loved it. It your typical Argentine Parillada (BBQ) Restaurant – the food and the service kept me coming back.  It is a more down to earth out door/ indoor restaurant where you will find locals hanging out, talking and laughing as they share a meal and several bottles of wine.

Two more sites for Foodies!
NY Times Mendoza Restaurant recommendations (11/06/11)
Where to eat in Mendoza – Mondo Explorer

Tantalizing, delicious and appealing – right?

Cheers!

What is Malbec Wine?

I am no sommelier but I can tell you that Malbec wines are delicious and that the first time I was introduced to one…it was love at first sight.  Besides that, I can tell you Malbec wines are grown in Mendoza, Argentina. It is a mellow easy-drinking wine. It is aged in oak barrels and it is a deep ruby red, fruity and full-bodied.

In Mendoza the sun shines more than 300 days a year and the dry Andes mountain winds keep the vineyards clean AND the vineyards are fed by melting snow from those same mountains. According to wine experts, the climate produces a rich, lush wine, more than the one grown in France with the same grapes.

Sycamore Tree-Lines Streets MendozaI tasted my first Malbec during my honeymoon in Argentina in 2004. Mendoza is nestled in the foothills of the Andes which provide a picture perfect snowcapped view most of the year.  The city is full of tree-lined streets, plentiful parks and plazas and delicious restaurants. Last year, when we visited, I was happily surprised to learn the WHOLE city is a Wi-Fi hotspot and we had free Wi-Fi everywhere and we swirled away Malbecs.

One of the wineries we will visit on this food and wine tour is Bodegas Salentein – take a look at their website, the winery is splendid.  We briefly visited it last year and were very impressed, but it was too short.  I am so happy that on the 5th day of the tour with Uncorking Argentina we will be staying there overnight and not only that, in the afternoon we have a hands-on cooking class at their posada’s outdoor kitchen.  Food and wine pairing included, of course!

Salentein Reserve Malbec 2009A recommendation? Ok, here you go. I found the Salentein Reserve Malbec 2009 to be a mellow wine with an intense color of violet purple. It has rich aromas of blackberries, floral scents of violets and vanilla. Wine Spectator gave it 87 pts on 9/30/11.  I say $15 bucks is a great deal! Give it try and let me know what you think!

Cheers!

 

 

 

Special thank you for Photos to:
Sycamore Trees – Travelpod
Salentein Malbec – WineandStringWine