"Have you been to Valle de Uco? is one of the typical questions asked by visitors to the City of Mendoza who venture into seeing its imposing sights.
Valle de Uco is the productive heart of a shire devoted to premium wine-making. It boasts a sensational climate with plenty of sunshine. That is why driving along its roads is a pleasure that must be part of a visit to the City of Mendoza.
We resolved to take National Route 40, which crosses the valley's lowest area. Known as Portal al Sur, it is bordered by Cordón de Plata to the West and a desert area to the East. This land is full of history and its rural life shows gauchos on horseback, even in the most urban areas, such as Tunuyán and San Carlos, two cities where nap time takes hold of its streets.
Later on, we headed West and followed some roads that start at the place called Manzano Histórico (historic apple tree) and cross the so-called piedemonte (hillside) towards Tupungato and Potrerillos. The wineries follow one another on Provincial Route 89, also known as "The Wine Road". New wineries with cutting-edge technology and a great capital investment have developed in this area. Some of them are open to visitors, whether they are experts or not at tasting their products.
Portal al Sur
The curiosity of tourists
The dazzling culture of their production
The horizon boasting its best hues
The grand labels of Salentein, Domaine Bousquet, The Vines of Mendoza, Andeluna, Clos de los 7, Atamisque, Pulenta Estate accompany these vineyards teeming with the taste and aroma of wines grown in the heights.
The road zigzags uphill towards a natural viewpoint over this shire and then goes down again. A thirty-meter-high sculpture of Christ the King stands at the top.
It is essential to visit some of the wineries in Valle de Uco and learn about the dazzling culture of their production. Tours around the various venues are completed with a delicious lunch served by the vineyards.
As we enjoyed the itinerary, we incorporated some basic knowledge. It was interesting to hear that wine recognition is gaining importance. Very young sommeliers guide amateurs into the kind of wine that best fits their palate. The idea is that the most highly appreciated wine is that with which we get along better.
Besides, we learned that one can be either a winegrower or a winemaker, or else be in charge of the entire process, from the vineyard to the commercialization of the bottle. Even large wineries usually buy some of their grapes or have agronomist engineers handle a rented vineyard, who will make decisions on the actions to be taken before the harvest.
The spectacular views, the horizon boasting its best hues, the ever present snow on the Tupungato Volcano are the perfect company for a tour among different grape varieties. Admirable and enlightening at the same time. That is Valle de Uco!
Mónica Pons Eduardo Epifanio
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