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  • Writer's pictureMarion Marquardt

Argentine Dolce Vita - sun and wine in Mendoza

Sunny autumn days invite to relax
Wine as far as the eye can see, in the world's largest wine-growing region of the famous Malbec
Wine tasting at Bodega Finca Savina - an exclusive tour just for us
The Posada Cavieres - a paradise for overlanders

We have left Chile for a longer period of time. Our last destination before our "summer vacation" in Europe is Mendoza. The world-famous wine-growing region in Argentina attracts with pleasant daytime temperatures, even in late autumn. And indeed - since we crossed the border the sun has been shining!

mendoza wein vino bogeda savina argentinien sonne
Wine as far as the eye can see in Mendoza

For the first time in South America we had a pass of almost 4,000 m in front of us with our Toyota Landcruiser. We cross the border near Aconcagua - at 6,961 m the highest mountain outside of Asia. Our car handles the altitude without any problems, despite the lack of a turbocharger. We are lucky because just a few days later the pass is closed due to snowfall. That would have meant a detour of more than 500 km. We enjoy the wonderful panorama. The pass takes us through red rock landscapes reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. You can already guess that it is very dry here. The Rio Mendoza is the only source of water for the 508 hectare large valley.

mendoza wein vino bogeda savina argentinien sonne

On the way we stop again and again to climb a few routes at one of the numerous climbing spots. So far we have not had the opportunity to use our climbing equipment in South America. Or rather, in Patagonia it was usually too cold and windy, for our liking. Here, however, the daytime temperatures are quite pleasant at just about 20 degrees.

Our first destination is Valle Lunlunta, a valley near the big city of Mendoza. It's all about wine here. We rent a cabana for a few days, the campsites are already closed at this time of year. There are hardly any tourists around - very pleasant for us. Most of the time we relax in the large garden and enjoy the sun. Finally we can unpack our shorts again, which were hardly used during the Patagonian summer :-)

Of course, a wine tasting should not be missed. There are countless farms nearby that offer this. It feels like the entire valley consists of vineyards and associated bodegas. Now in late autumn the grapes have already been harvested and there is no longer any irrigation. Everything looks a bit bare and dried out. Nothing works here without watering. However, the Rio Mendoza is a fairly reliable source of water for the valley. Nevertheless, water consumption for viticulture is strictly regulated; everyone pays for their quota. After winters with little snow, it can happen that water becomes scarce towards the end of summer. Bodega Savina is a relatively new wine farm. The family of the same name bought the land about 4 years ago and opened their own wine production. 90% of the production is Malbec - only blue grapes grow here in Valle Lunlunta. We are the only ones who have registered for the wine tasting. During the exclusive tour we visit a small part of the area, 80% of which is cultivated. In the production hall the wine ferments in huge stainless steel tanks. We can taste an “early stage” of the 2022 Malbec vintage. Only a few weeks are left to ripen. The process takes between 6 and 9 months - relatively short for such high quality wine. At the end, more wines are waiting for us to taste, including a delicious cheese platter.

mendoza wein vino bogeda savina argentinien sonne
Wine tasting at Bodega Savina

We then spend a few days with Hans, a Belgian who has lived in the area for 17 years. He also has a winery and bodega, Posada Cavieres, and allows overlanders to camp in his "garden". A fantastic ambience. He has his wine produced externally. Of course we try his selection at a delicious dinner!

mendoza wein argentinien
Home office in the vineyards

Finally we visit Valle de Uco, about an hour's drive from Mendoza. White grapes grow here, from which Chardonnay is primarily made. The days are hot and sunny, the nights are cold - around freezing point. An optimal climate for wine - and also for us to enjoy and relax on our last days of travel. And of course an Asado should not be missing when saying goodbye to Argentina :-)

Now we're off to Uruguay, where our camper will be stored while we're in Europe. We are already looking forward to the upcoming adventures in South America!

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