The Toast of Argentina
Bordeaux, Napa Valley, and Tuscany, make way for Mendoza! Surrounded by the towering Andes, the province has emerged as a world-class—but astonishingly affordable—wine destination. And did we mention the impromptu tangoing in the streets?
Once I've settled in, she plops down next to me on the couch and tells me about her grandparents, who bought the vineyard in 1936. The couple used the sandy soil to their advantage, growing some of the best malbec grapes in the area. To keep the Furlotti legacy going, Gabriela bottled the family's first estate wine, Finca Adalgisa Malbec, in 2004 and built the hotel and a private eight-room guest cottage.
Chacras de Coria still has plenty of farmland to snap up—at least for now. Furlotti's latest project is Soluna, a fair-trade winery she hopes will jump-start a trend in Mendoza. With a partner, she's been traveling from finca to finca, negotiating with vegetable farmers to join her collective and harvest grapes. "Our natural resources shouldn't just benefit foreign investors," she says. "I want to make sure the children of these farmers have a future on this land."
At dusk, Furlotti encourages me to stroll into the village—and to bring my dancing shoes. Sure enough, there's a group tangoing in the tiny plaza to accordion music playing from a boom box. An older man offers me his hand. "Muy bien," he says politely as we whirl. A couple pantomimes raising wineglasses for me. That's when I realize that even though I came for the superb wine, I would come back for the people.
Villaggio Hotel Boutique
25 de Mayo 1010, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-524-5200, hotelvillaggio.com.ar, from $130
Pueyrredón 2222, Chacras de Coria, 011-54/261-496-0713, fincaadalgisa.com.ar, from $235
Sarmiento 765, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-429-4200, entrées from $10
Belgrano 1069, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-420-4322, lasalrestaurante.com, entrées from $6
Vines of Mendoza
Espejo 567, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-438-1031, vinesofmendoza.com, tastings from $3
Ampora Wine Tours
Sarmiento 647, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-429-2931, mendozawinetours.com
Cruz de Piedra, Luján de Cuyo, 011-54/261-496-0794, bodegabenegas.com
Bodega Elvira Calle
Alberti 154, Luján de Cuyo, 541/388-5223
El Lagar Carmelo Patti
San Martín 2614, Luján de Cuyo, 011-54/261-498-1379
Ruta 89 s/n, Tunuyán, Valle de Uco, 011-54/262-242-9000, bodegasalentein.com
5567 La Consulta, Valle de Uco, 011-54/9-261-467-1021, ofournier.com
Winery, Bar de Vinos
Chile 898, Mendoza City, 011-54/261-425-1716, winery.com.ar