Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Luján de Cuyo, nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, is the largest of Mendoza, Argentina’s three wine regions. It is also the most diverse.
We had an incredible tour of the wines of Luján de Cuyo with Sabrina, with Ampora Wine Tours. Ampora went the extra mile, providing a tour of three wineries and then a gourmet lunch with wine pairings in a winery. Ampora also provided us with a cheat sheet of the wineries and the wines we’d be tasting for handy reference. I wish all wine tours did that.
Sabrina is a sommelier and a fifth-grade teacher. Sabrina and Andy, our driver, went out of their way to make our Luján de Cuyo wine experience exceptional. For instance, Andy started our day by bringing us Argentinian breakfast pastries, and Sabrina shared her mate, Argentina’s national tea-like drink, in traditional communal style.
Bodega Clos de Chacras
Our first stop was at Bodega Clos de Chacras, a family-owned winery. It was originally built in 1921, changed hands over the years and abandoned in the 1970s. In 2004 the original owner’s granddaughter, Silvia Gargantini, revitalized the winery. Our tour of the winery, with guide Josephina, was particularly interesting because the winery is still using its old caves, which were made with cement. Silvia also found some artifacts from the original winery and put them on display.
Our wine tasting was in the winery’s restaurant. We tasted:
Eredità Chardonnay, paired with raisins, described as a “good morning wine” 😊+
Eredità Reserve, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, paired with chocolate-covered coffee beans 😊++
Gran Estripe, a top-tier limited edition blend of Malbecs and Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with bleu cheese and tomato marmalade 😊++
Memorias de Ida Malbec, a grand reserve, paired with smoky cheese 😊😊
Our next stop was Bodega Matervini, a very modern winery that specializes in exclusive Malbecs from different wine regions in Argentina. It’s one of the smallest operations in Luján de Cuyo, and one of the newest, opened in 2016. It was created by veteran winemakers Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso, founders of the renowned Achaval-Ferrer TM Winery in Mendoza.
Matervini’s philosophy is to let the Malbec speak through the different soils that the grapes are grown in. The winery is also committed to environmental sustainability. It’s one of the world’s winery pioneers in using 100% alternative energy.
Our tasting was hosted by Gonzales (Gonza) on the winery’s deck with a beautiful view of the Andes Mountains. Gonza told us that Matervini’s wine can age from 15-50 years.
Antes Andes Wille de Canota, one of the most original Malbecs, from northern Mendoza and grown at a relatively low altitude 😊++
Antes Andes Walles Calchaquies, from a higher elevation in Salta, in Northwest Argentina 😊😊
Alteza, from a different valley in Salta, with a unique soil that includes clay 😊😊
Finca, with 81 year old vines, a classic Malbec and according to Gonza the only wine in Argentina that was in the top 100 wines in Wine Spectator 😊😊
Piedras Viejas, which Gonza added to the tasting, a unique vineyard because it’s a whopping 5,200 feet above sea level 😊++
Bressia Casa de Vinos
Our third winery was Bressia Casa de Vinos, a boutique 19-year-old family-owned winery founded by Walter Bressia. Our guide, Juancito, told us that it’s the first winery in Argentina that bottled Cabernet Franc. He serenely carried on as the winery struggled to maintain its electricity, a reminder that it can be hard to operate a winery. But it did not deter our enjoyment of the wine.
Here we were able to try a number of different varieties of the wine of Luján de Cuyo.
Lagrima Canela, a white blend of Chardonnay and Semillon 😊++
Monteagrelo Malbec, a combination of Malbec from Mendoza and Uruguay 😊😊
Monteagrelo, a Cabernet Franc 😊😊
Bressia Profundo, a blend of Malbec, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon 😊😊
Casarena Bodega y Vinedos
After all that, we sat down for a gourmet lunch at Casarena Bodega y Vinedos, a winery that also operates a restaurant.
We gorged on a fabulous eight-course lunch with pairings of the wine of Luján de Cuyo.
Casarena Resto, a white blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc 😊+
Naoki Single Vineyard Malbec 😊++
Lauren Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 😊++
Jamilla Single Vineyard Malbec 😊++
Owen Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 😊😊
Sparkling Brut Nature Single Vineyard 😊
We hope you find these suggestions about the wine of Luján de Cuyo helpful. For more information on how to break down Argentina’s Mendoza wine regions, go to our post about prioritizing your trip to Mendoza. Salud!
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