Touring one of Argentina’s top wine regions really is a must-do.
It was just after 9am, and all I could think about was wine. It may sound like I’m bordering on alcoholism but no, I was in Mendoza, Argentina – an area known specifically for its production of Malbec. Today, I’d be learning about wine, exploring a few vineyards and hopefully tasting a whole load too.
In the safe hands of Kahuak (one of Mendoza’s top tourism agencies) and with bubbly tour guide Anna Laura leading the way, we headed out of the city to the Uco Valley. The tour would take us towards the snow-capped Andes to visit three of the Uco Valley’s top wineries – Salentein, Domaine Bousquet and Andeluna.
Lush gardens, ancient vines, bright blue sky with pool to match, a gourmet restaurant and views of the snow-capped Andes… Villa Mansa is a secret hideaway in the heart of Mendoza’s wine country.
After escaping the traffic of downtown Mendoza, we found ourselves in the picturesque countryside, passing several upmarket hotels, wineries and mansions along the way. My main reason for wanting to visit the region was for the Malbec, but on top of the incredible wine, it turned out to be a great spot for a bit of R&R. Villa Mansa is at the end of a long, narrow drive, which opens out onto several rows of beautiful grapevines and antique wine making equipment.
Brave or stupid, it was time to try ziplining over a lake just outside Mendoza, Argentina.
As I was handed a large blue hard hat, I knew straight away it wouldn’t fit. “I have a weirdly small head,” I said. They handed me another, and again it wobbled around. “Hmmmm…” I blushed. “Do you have any for children?”
Helmet on and mild humiliation almost over, I fixed the GoPro to my head, clambered into my harness, and waddled over to the first high line. I was about to go ziplining in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Today’s the day I leave for South America! Over the next 24 hours I’ll be flying from London – Atlanta – Santiago, Chile.
While most of my trips happen reasonably last-minute, this is different. A few months ago, the idea was floated of visiting Chile for a month. I’ll admit, Chile is not a place that was on my ‘must visit’ list for this year. I’d had vague plans to head to The Philippines and Thailand, as well as my resolution to see more of the UK in 2016. So where did this fit in? Was it sensible to go? No, probably not. Did I want to go? Hell yes!
So over the next month I’ll be travelling around Chile, as well as hopping across the border to Mendoza in Argentina to sample my favourite red wine, Malbec. Starting in Santiago, I’ll visit the colourful street art city of Valparaiso, stargaze and marvel at the lunar landscapes and salt flats in the Atacama Desert, visit the spectacular Los Lagos (lake district) for a spot of kayaking and volcano hiking, indulge in fine dining and wine in the Colchagua Valley, and then head to Mendoza in Argentina for a week of vineyards, beautiful countryside and glaciers. Can you tell I’m excited?!