Valdenas Rhine gorge – The hotel “Gasthaus am Brunnen” in a 500 year old building is exceptional. It is far away from tourism and crowds of people. It has only 7 rooms and all of them are very different, simply furnished. The house is almost only made of wood and so the room smells wonderfully of wood, one can relax very well in this place.
Restaurant and Dinner
The restaurant in this hidden place is really fantastic. Meat, vegetables and dairy products are from the surroundings/region. The jam for breakfast and homemade and just very delicious. The great thing is that you can simply eat a main course or a whole menu with various delicacies, you always get full. In the afternoon you can drink coffee by the wooden well or have a cocktail in the lounge in the garden and watch the ducks from the farmer next door.
In the surroundings you can visit the Rhine Gorge or take a hike to Lake Cauma and/or Lake Cresta. The nature is beautiful and there is something for every fitness level.
The Hacienda Colomé (by Swiss entrepreneur Donald M. Hess) is not only worth a visit for its wines, but for the special place. The next small village is about 45 minutes away by car. From Salta you can do the zigzagging roads by going over the top of a pass (Cuesta del Obispo) and “Parque Nacional de los Cardones” about 5 to 6 hours, depending on road conditions (partially dirt roads). This means that one does not go there spontaneously for a winetasting. For a long time we had the idea to include the Bodega Colomé on our next trip to Argentina because we know friends that stayed there. Since the hotel has only 9 rooms, this was the first thing we booked for our trip and planned everything else including flights only afterwards. It was really worth it. It is a place with a certain magic. You can relax, get some peace and quiet, do walks and besides; taste the best wines of the region. We spent New Year’s Eve at the bodega and had a really wonderful evening with people from France, Brazil, Switzerland and Argentina. Bodega Colomé grows their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in their garden and cooks only regional and seasonal meals. The staff conjured up a delicious multi-course menu for the guests that evening, including wine pairing. At 12 o’clock we all toasted to the new year on the terrace under the roof of stars and there was – still on top – a huge dessert buffet. Those who make it to Colomé should stay at least two or three days, as the James Tyrell Art Museum is also very worth seeing.
A friend from Switzerland knows the wine region Mendoza (Maipu and Valle de Uco) very well. She was also the one who gave me the contact to Alejandro Vigil to book a table in the restaurant. The bodega was founded by Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena in 2009. I had already tasted the Malbec from El Enemigo wine in restaurants (for example La Lucia) before and was thrilled. So my anticipation was even greater. I was not disappointed at lunch and included tasting. It was an extraordinary visit with excellent food, wine and service. We were happy that we didn’t have to drive ourselves that day.
In order to get a table in the restaurant, one has to book early, preferably two or three months in advance. We had already made a reservation for the “El Enemigo” at noon the same day and therefore only did the tour and the tasting. I have rarely seen such an impressive bodega. It was only opened in 20016 and is one of six bodegas of Zuccardi wines. For the construction, natural materials from the surroundings were used, such as stones from the estate area. The cement tanks are built without “epoxy”. Piedra Infinita won the Great Wine Capitals Global Architecture award in 2016 and World’s Best Vineyard Award, for its overall Winery experience.
The tasting was great but again, a lot of wine to drink….If we manage to visit Mendoza again, we would probably also book a table at the restaurant, the meat on the BBQ looked mouthwatering.
On the way from Mendoza city to our hotel Gimenez Riili in valle de Uco we stopped at the Bodega Alfa Crux for our lunch including wine tasting (the restaurant was called O’Fournier, now apparently they have renamed it to Crux Cocina). A reservation is essential, because the restaurant has only room for about 20 people. The view of the mountains through the big windows and the pond around the restaurant are stunning. Also the food and of course the wines have impressed us and are still in best memory two months later. A must visit for the region.
The hotel and bodega Gimenez Riili is located in the middle of the emerging new wine region “Valle de Uco” near Mendoza. The hotel has only eight rooms but they are already in the process of being extended. The rooms are very nice and modern furnished. The food is excellent and is cooked on an open fire in the middle of the restaurant. You can also try their own wines with the meal.
The hotel is home to people and some animals like guinea pigs, dogs, tarantulas (only one luckily ;-)) and toads that are running around freely. So you should not be afraid of contact with animals.
For me personally this restaurant is one of the best in the world when it comes to meat dishes (Parillada). We have been there on one of our fomer trips to Buenos Aires. If you have never eaten meat in Argentina you might think I am exagerating and that there is good meat everywhere. For me Argentina has the perfect combination of very good quality meat (from the pampa), big charcoal grills, few salt, pieces under 300gr don’t even come on the table and as side dishes just fresh salad of tomatoes, lettuce or carrots and a good bottle of Malbec. What more do you need? Something that might be worth mentioning is the cooking level. The Argentineans tend to like the meat more well done. Therefore you should order your piece “jugoso” (medium/rate). Try also blood sausage (morcilla) or a piece other than the fillet, you will love it.
Well, officially you can reserve tables at Don Julio, but it is always booked out. You better try it at noon or in the evening rather early or very late after 11pm. Even if there are many tourists at this wonderful place it is worth a visit.
This hotel and restaurant is really something unique, a hidden gem. It is not at all on the way and does not always guarantee electricity – especially after 11pm. But in reward, one gets a wonderful fauna and flora right in front of the door. Unspoiled nature wherever you look. After four days on the Peninsula Valdes I thought I had seen all penguins, sea lions and ostriches, but Bahia Bustamante offers all this too, but not as an observer from far away, you are right in the middle of it. It is difficult to describe the place, you have to see, feel and experience it on your own. The hotel should be booked 6-9 months in advance and you should definitely book the cabins WITH dinner. The food is incredibly good and this at the end of the world and with a view of the vines (yes really vines in Patagonia) and the sea behind. Of course you shouldn’t be picky about what you eat, because there is simply one menu every evening, but if you like local food and wine, you are in good hands.