Food & Wine

Mendoza Wine Tour: Azul

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Bodega Azul was our last stop for the day and the site of a long overdue and much needed lunch if our alcohol tolerance was going to last. The grounds were quite charming and unassuming, and reminded me somewhat of Arizona. The “restaurant” was housed in a simple concrete building with a rustic porch, and haphazardly placed roadside seating in front looking out on the Andes.

Restaurant at Bodega La Azul, Uco Valley, Argentina

Outdoor Seating Restaurant at Bodega La Azul, Uco Valley, Argentina

The food was even more charming. While Belasco de Badequano offered a gourmet meal exquisitely paired with the wines, this food was authentic Argentine, the “food your mother makes.” YUM!

Even better, Miguel had called ahead to have a bottle of their Gran Reserve Malbec decanted an hour in advance so it would be ready for our meal. He had also arranged a less expensive price, only $45 for the set menu when paid through him, but perhaps I shouldn’t give that away. 🙂

Azul Gran Reserva at Bodega La Azul, Uco Valley, Argentina

Here the service was also excellent, although English was not as common, so we didn’t really get much out of the waiter’s descriptions of our food.

We started with a pumpkin soup that was even better than it looked.

Pumpkin Soup course at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

The next course was a Spanish omelette, which though not as perfectly paired with the wine as the one we had at Belasco de Badequano was actually tastier.

Spanish Omelette course at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

Next up was an amazing beef empanada.

Beef Empanada course at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

For our main course we had a choice of pork or pasta, and we both chose pork. Throughout the earlier courses we could smell the hardwood fire it was cooking on which added even more to the experience.

Grilled Pork course at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

The pork was delicious and I was so happy that I was getting to try proteins other than steak. Which I’ll admit, my default when ordering would be steak because I knew even if it wasn’t the restaurant’s best dish, it was still going to be some of the best beef I’d had.

The pork was so good that we had no room left for dessert or coffee and just whiled away another 15 minutes finishing our bottle of now overly-warm Malbec. The Azul Gran Reserva Malbec itself was excellent, but we were well into the day of wine tasting and we weren’t able to finish it before the powerful sun had made the last glass too warm to enjoy.

Empty Gran Reserva Decanter at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

Now it was time to do the actual wine tasting and we had another fun surprise – our chef was also the winemaker! He walked us across the dusty, weedy yard (causing Miguel further consternation about my open toed slender heels) into the giant warehouse/cellar where all the wine is produced and we got to do a very charming tasting among the barrels and fruit flies (harvest had happened only a few days ago).

We tasted their entry level Malbec, their Cabernet Savaugnion, the Azul Reserva and of course the Azul Gran Reserva we’d had at lunch. We also go to taste the upcoming vintage of the Gran Reserva straight out of the barrel.

2008 Gran Reserva Barrel Tasting at Bodega La Azul Restaurant , Uco Valley, Argentina

Other Uco Valley Tastings:

Salentein
Andeluna Cellars

Other Lujan de Cuyo Valley Tastings:

Belasco de Boquedano
Alta Vista
Achaval Ferrer

 

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