16 May 2019
Posted in Food & Beverage, History, Tidbits & trivia

It takes a railroad.

And an influx of Europeans with experience in Old World wine-making. Together, the arrival of the railway and the immigrants transformed Mendoza, Argentina, from a modest wine region into the world’s fifth-largest wine-producing area. All this happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but lucky you: You can reap the benefits on a 21st-century visit to Mendoza to see (and taste) for yourself.

The grapes of Mendoza grow in the foothills of the Andes, with most vineyards at least 3,000 feet above sea level, some of the world’s highest.

The star among the grape varieties grown here is Malbec. For confirmation, peruse the “Argentina” shelves of your favorite local wine shop. The best of the best come from estates in the higher altitudes of Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.

Wine Folly has written a brief, handy guide to Malbec. “Malbec quickly became common as a blending grape in Bordeaux’s top five wine grapes,” it notes. “However, because of the grapes’ poor resistance to weather and pests, it never surfaced as a top French variety. Instead, it found a new home in Mendoza, Argentina, where a nostalgic French botanist planted it by order of the mayor in 1868.” The rest is history.

But you should know that Mendoza has so much more than wine and wine-tasting to offer. Think of the region as South America’s answer to Napa Valley—great wine and great food. And add in dramatic mountain peaks and gorgeous sweeping valleys. What more could you ask for?

Allow us to put you up in one of our favorite luxurious lodges, where an acclaimed Argentinian chef prepares his finest dishes on an open flame.

For more information, contact Jane Franklin, our Argentina specialist, at 888-490-8019, or email jfranklin@rcrusoe.com.

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