My Fair Mendoza: Winter 2010

by Liz Caskey on May 26, 2010

June is less than a week away and winter is officially here. It’s like the mercury suddenly dropped as Mother Nature knew Fall was over. A second rainfall recently covered the Andes with snow and according to the folks at Portillo and Las Leñas, ski season is about to get off the ground here in 2.5 weeks. While in Santiago and Mendoza we may have killer views of the snow-covered Andes, down at lower elevations, the sun still comes out and can warm up the days into the 50s and even 60s, with fresh breezes from the Andes.

Apart from my stomping ground of Santiago, I adore Mendoza, Argentina a quick (and beautiful) 5 hour drive over the Andes. It also happens to be the very happening wine capital of Argentina, much like Bordeaux in France or Napa in California. Mendoza is a hubbub of people from all corners of Planet Earth coming and going. The reason? To drink lots, and I mean lots, of silky Malbec in all its infinite expressions. If you think there’s only one style of Malbec, whoa baby, think again. That’s like saying that Napa only makes one type of Cabernet Sauvignon. But unless you come here to understand it first hand, it’s hard to wrap your head around that idea. And then throw in some Bonarda and Torrontes (native grapes) and ethereal bubbly and you’ve got loads of wine and outdoorsy entertainment.

The Mendoza climate is quite different yet similar to Santiago. First off, while arid, it is a bonified desert. Without the thousands of irrigation channels, life there would be near impossible and the green you see would completely disappear. Water is not a minor issue in Mendoza–it’s a major commodity. Mendoza gets dry and hot-as-hell during the summer with cool nights and in the winter, remains dry with a little rain fall. The bonus point is that the sun still shines in all her glory, similar to the southwest of the US where snowbirds head to Arizona and New Mexico. Mendoza also sits on a plateau as the Andes gradually lower into the flat, sprawling Pampas to the east. That means that the mountains stretch out in Mendoza for miles and miles, which you can see. In Santiago, we are on top of them so it’s like looking up to the top of a ladder, or a tree. The “Great Wall of Chile” if you will.

So, contrary to popular belief, winter is a GREAT time to come down to South America and Mendoza. Particularly in Argentina which has been on the HOT list for the past year, the crowds thin out, the weather cools down to be pleasant, you can ski (if you’re into that…), and there are lots of promotions on airfare to the region and at cool hotels like Cavas Wine Lodge.

Seriously, consider coming to join us to experience a taste of Argentine style and the dulce vida, sweet life, treating yourself to total relaxation, pampering, and gorgeous views of the chiseled Andes and escape the stifling heat up north (June and already in the mid-90s, say what??!). We’ll shack you up at the acclaimed Relais & Chateaux property, Cavas Wine Lodge—at 40% off the normal listed nightly rate.

Need we give you more juice to get down to these latitudes pronto?

Every morning watch the dawn break and sink your teeth into buttery medialunas, Argentina’s version of the croissant, slathered with addictive dulce de leche, milk caramel and a heady espresso. After, we’ll guide you into the region’s famed vineyards to get a handle on Argentina’s flagship wines and winemakers. As you sip and taste your way through Argentina’s most exciting wine region, we’ll connect you with our food and wine peeps, the passionate vintners, chefs, farmers, and owners who put a name and face to each and every project. Discover the local gastronomy with organic produce, freshly pressed artisan olive oil, private cooking lessons, and the most perfect grass fed steak you’ll ever behold—and devour.

At the end of the day, retire to your picture perfect Cavas cabaña to cuddle up under the stars on the rooftop terrace and watch the chiseled Andes fade away in a swath of magenta by a roaring fire. Authentic, romantic, and inspirational, you’ll get the insider’s view on classic and modern takes of Argentina’s food, wines, and the local culture. All in three days and two nights. Just a short hop or add-on from Santiago or Buenos Aires.

Ojo, attention, this is valid only from July 10 – September 14, 2010. Given that Cavas is a boutique hotel, spaces/rooms are quite limited. Time is of essence. Contact us at our US direct number, 904 687 0340, or email us for more details and prices.

Thanks to my husband (also the photographer for this blog), Francisco Ramirez for capturing Cavas during a recent romp there in winter; and Flickr buddy, amverdulla with good pics from neighboring Argentina.

{ 1 comment }

Leona Bishop June 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Incredibly great writing. Honestly!

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