A couple weeks ago I decided I wanted to visit my third and final wine region in Mendoza-Uco Valley. For those who don’t know, Mendoza has three wine regions: Maipu, Lujan de Cuyo, and Uco Valley. I have been told by several people that Uco Valley has some of the prettiest bodegas and best wines so I knew I wanted to visit it before my time in Mendoza concluded.
Uco Valley is definitely the most difficult region to get to especially without a car. I decided to take the bus (cost: $80 pesos) from Mendoza city to Tunuyan. Once I arrived in Tunuyan I thought there would be a local bus that could take me closer to the bodegas. Unfortunately, that was an incorrect assumption. I was told that the buses didn’t go that far outside the city and my only option would be to hire a Remis (an unofficial taxi.) While this wasn’t ideal, especially since I was traveling alone and couldn’t split the cost, it was my only option so I proceeded. The cost of the Remis from Tunuyan to Andeluna was $350 pesos.
Travel Tip: If you are a backpacker wanting to visit Uco Valley I recommend finding some other backpackers to help split the cost of the Remis to the bodegas!
On the drive to Andeluna, I could see why several people had told my Uco Valley was a must see location. The views were absolutely breathtaking and all of the land was covered with vineyards and orchards until you reached the foothills of the Andes. Upon my arrival to Andeluna, they confirmed my reservation and I was taken into the dining area. Lunch was served starting at 12:30 pm and the last seating was at 3pm. I arrived at 2pm and was the last among the lunch guests to arrive (I was definitely operating on Argentinian time).
Travel Tip: If you want to visit bodegas in Uco Valley I recommend making your reservations roughly two weeks in advance. The bodegas get very busy and getting a reservation can often be a challenge.
The lunch started with a first course of two beef empanadas paired with the best Torrontes wine I’ve had in Argentina. I’m usually not a huge fan of sweet white wine but this was delicious. The second course was a classic Argentinian steak served on a hot plate with roasted vegetables. The food was paired with the red wine blend called Pasionado from Andeluna’s Grand Reserve line of wine. (This wine costs about $600-700 pesos a bottle.) This course and wine pairing was definitely my favorite. I drank several glasses to the wine and took my time enjoying my food and the view. (The wine was all you could drink and the meal was a set price of $740 pesos for the 3 courses.) The third course was flan served with hot dulce de leche and paired with a glass of Merlot. Overall, I thought the lunch was definitely worth the $40 USD and the food was absolutely delicious.
After my two hour lunch at Andeluna, I walked the 2km to Bodega La Azul. La Azul is a boutique bodega and it is a big contrast to Andeluna which is more formal and grand. At La Azul, the owners and staff came and sat at your table to discuss the different types of wine you sampled during the tasting. They also gave a great history of the family which still owns and operates the bodega today. The staff further communicated the relaxed atmosphere by walking around with their mate cups and thermoses the entire time. I greatly enjoyed talking with the staff at this bodega and it truly felt like a family affair. The tasting at La Azul cost $250 pesos and I had the opportunity to sample 4 different wines one of which was directly from the barrel. I also lucked out because I met 4 people from Buenos Aires at La Azul and was able to catch a ride with them back to Mendoza! (Definitely better than paying the $400+ pesos for the Remis and bus back to the city.)
I am very glad I made the trip out to Uco Valley. While it definitely caters more to the wealthier, middle aged people, I would recommend it to anyone visiting Mendoza who is able to splurge a little bit because the wine and food are absolutely delicious!