As part of a three-winery bus tour in Mendoza, we visited Bodega Andeluna in the late afternoon, in time for some long shadows between the vines and cold white wine. A beautiful country house set on a hill overlooking vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see, Andeluna is idyllic to say the least. The huge old stone house has a dining room, mammoth fireplace, and cushy couches which spill out onto a tranquil patio, perfect for watching the sunset with a glass of vino.
A beautiful old kitchen, truly the stuff of dreams, is open to curious eyes wanting to see what´s cooking.
Our tour guide took us down to the vines to see the grapes themselves, tiny and tough looking. Grapes in the Valle de Uco, this particular part of Mendoza, develop a heartier and thicker skin due to the high fluctuations in temperature from day to night. This lends itself to more tannins in the wine and a deeper, more intense, flavourful profile. We learned a few more fun facts about the process of ageing Malbecs – because Argentine Malbec grapes are so strong in character from the outset, ageing them in American oak would create a much bigger and bolder wine – something akin to a Rioja. French oak is therefore used.
My most (only?) hated wine is a Chardonnay, particularly an Oaky chardonnay. But it was a pleasant surprise to taste the Andeluna one. A young one, aged only in stainless steel, has high amounts of malic acid, giving green apple and citrus flavours. During secondary fermentation, a process common in Chardonnay, malic acid is converted to lactic acid by adding bacteria, producing the creamy and buttery flavour telltale of an Oaky chardonnay. In any case, I will stick with young Chardonnays from now on.
After our chardonnay, we embarked on a marathon tasting – trying seven varietals in all, including a lovely Rose which I bought later.
Wine purchased at the vineyard rings in at 30% off, and you get a discount on the tasting with any purchase. We left as the sun was slipping below the hills, truly a lovely end to a lovely, if indulgent, day.
The tour was fun and informative and the setting hard to beat. You can find Andeluna here.