Food & Wine

Mendoza Wine Tour: Belasco de Baquedano

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Our second stop of the day was right down the road at Bodega Belasco de Baquedano, where we started with a tour and learned all about the maximum number of times they use their barrels for aging ending with lunch.

Belasco de Baquedano grounds, Mendoza, Argentina

The highlight of that tour was visiting the smell room, one of only 4 in the world.

Belasco de Baquedano smell room

It has 40+ clear canisters with individual scents for visitors to guess.

Sniffing chestnuts in Belasco de Baquedano smell room

Some of the most interesting scents, and ones I was least familiar with, were geranium, acacia, and musk (which I guessed was men’s deodorant). I found some of the smells that were the hardest to guess were graphite, distinguishing among the various nuts & spices, and clove.

From the smell room we went upstairs to have a 5 course lunch with wine pairings overlooking the vineyard and mountains.

Belasco de Baquedano driveway, Mendoza, Argentina

First Course: Citrus salted-cured salmon, blinis with Crème fraiche and watercress and arugula sauce, paired with Rosa de Argentina, Malbec Rose.

Belasco de Baquedano Rosa de Argentina

 

The rose was solid. Smelt and tasted strongly of cherries, but with a little alcoholic bite at the end that made it better with food. The salmon was a decent pairing, but not magical.

Second Course: Spanish potato omelette with “chistorra” (traditional basque sausage), roasted red peppers, romesco sauce, paired with Llama (Leon in Spanish) – 100% Malbec – 90 points Robert Parker. This wine was the one they aged in barrels that had been used 3-5 times.

Belasco de Baquedano Second Course

The omelette was DIVINE. And the wine pairing was perfect. PERFECT. Every mouthful with a sip of wine was like the scene from Disney’s Ratatouille where he pairs two foods together and fireworks go off in his head. The Llama (~$20) was rather bland at first sip, but the sweet spiciness from the sausage brought out a corresponding delicious spiciness in the wine. We bought a bottle for consumption in our room later, and without the sausage to pair with it, wound up drinking very little.

Third Course: Warm roasted pumpkin custard with goat cheese, Malbec onion marmalade, fried crispy breadsticks, and fried green herbs, paired with Ar Guentota – 100% Malbec – 91 points Robert Parker. This wine is aged in second use barrels.

Belasco de Baquedano Third Course with Ar Guentota

So this food alone was a Ratatouille moment. The most amazing flavor combos, down to adding some of the purple salt to my spoon. The marinated onions, the custard, even the fried bread….I will dream about that for years…The wine pairing was decent, it didn’t detract from the food, but the flavor of the food was too fine for the wne.

Fourth Course: Grilled beef tenderloin gratinated with marrow, sautéed vegetables, potato cream with sprouts salad and fungi carpaccio, paired with their prized Swinto – 100% Malbec – 93 points Robert Parker. Aged in first use oak barrels.

Belasco de Baquedano Fourt Course with Swinto

The Swinto was delicious (and available in the US for under $40), worth that price, but only a good companion of the food rather than a soulmate, like the Llama was with the omelette

Fifth Course: Fresh Strawberry granita with Brut Nature Rose, wet puff pastry with cinnamon and black pepper syrup, crispy roasted almonds, dulce de leche ice cream scented with pacharan and caramel decoration, paired with Brut Nature Rose – Sparkling Malbec Rose

Belasco de Baquedano Fifth Course with Brut Nature Rose

Enjoying Belasco de Baquedano Brut Nature Rose

It was an unlikely pairing of desserts (for me) not to mention with the wine, but it worked. The sparkling avoided the sour tang that many inexpensive sparklings have and went quite well with the caramel of our dessert and the cherry notes went well with the strawberry dessert. The strawberry frozen ice, reminded me of the best Italian ice I’ve ever had in my life!

During lunch we had both the amazing view of the Andes AND a koi pond to entertain us. A koi pond where the fish swam strange patterns as a school and where they apparently had a keeper who tracked them. I was distracted most of the lunch watching them.

Belasco de Baquedano Koi Pond

Other Lujan de Cuyo Valley Tastings:

Achaval Ferrer
Alta Vista

Other Uco Valley Tastings:

Salentein
Andeluna Cellars

Bodega Azul

Read about the trip: Mendoza Trip Report #6: Day 1 of Wine Tastings

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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