What a wonderful find on Trip Advisor! We wanted to spend a couple of weeks in the Mendoza area to sample the wines and see the foothills of the Andes. Our expectations were more than fulfilled by Quinta Anabtawi– thanks in large part to the quinta and our wonderful host, Riyad, who helped sort out our hire care (Alamo), supermarket needs in nearby Chacras on the way from the airport, prescription medicine for one of our party, finding out TAM’s telephone number in Buenos Aires, and numerous other things. The quinta – with its 8,000 square metres of lawns (including small football pitch), villa, studio flat, 4 BBQ areas, swimming pool – was absolutely great for us to be with our grownup son and daughter, hanging about the quinta, lazing in the sun, swimming, reading and eating, etc. One of our party, who is not a dog lover, even got to like Homero, who was a wonderful companion!
Throughout, we followed Riyad’s advice from his splendid website to other personal recommendations almost to the letter: first night at the La Bourgogne restaurant at the Carlos Pulenta winery, our first venture out in the wild west in the evening. Got there and back in one piece. Wonderful food, excellent service. The veal is especially recommended with the Tomero 2005 Malbec. Liked the latter so much, we bought a case! Following a visit to VEA, the large supermarket at the Palmares shopping mall 15 minutes away, we successfully implemented Riyad’s clear instructions and cooked a wonderful asado at one of the quinta’s BBQ’s (wood and firelighters supplied). Riyad and Raul then did us proud with their Saturday night BBQ/asado. We danced the night away and must have got through 5-6 bottles of Malbec between the six of us!
Other places we recommend:
Ruca Malen winery: We budgeted (unrealistically) 15 minutes to get to Ruca Malen; we got there 75 minutes later, missed our wine tour, but arrived just in time for an excellent lunch and a splendid view of the Andes. A really great deal with five different RM wines.
Parque Provincial Aconcagua: a long trip but the magnificent - almost lunar - scenery made it worth it. Made it to Uspallata, where we had a so-so lunch (cash) and then on to Los Penitentes and Puente del Inca (2700 m.). Just don’t get caught by the policia for crossing a double yellow line if a slow-moving ramshackle truck from the Grapes of Wrath frustrates you: the policemen demanded 100 US dollars!. Welcome to the Wild West!
Downtown Mendoza is so-so, (though admittedly when we visited it was siesta hour and we didn’t stay for long. A coffee at the Hyatt is certainly worth it, especially if you can garage your car in their estaciamento. Also be sure to try a super dulce de leche (4.5 Pesos) on Playa Independencia.
The 1884 restaurant at Escorihuela winery in Mendoza was fine with a great wine list, but expensive. Given the choice, we would go back to La Bourgogne or Ruca Malen.
But, even beyond these pleasures, the best part of our holiday was the quinta and Riyad’s attentiveness, good humour, organization and genuine interest in visitors from other parts of the world.
Celebrated the New Year at Don Mario’s at Palmares – with turkey and Malbec!