We hire a private guide (Osvaldo) who picks us up at the apartment at 9am. Osvaldo has taken care of making reservations at three wineries in the Uco Valley. He drives through the Mendoza city traffic and soon has us on Ruta 40. After a bit he turns onto Avenida San Martin in Ugarteche. We pass by Chandon and Bogeda Catena Zapata, arriving at Bogeda Budeguer shortly after 10am. At the guardhouse Osvaldo provides information about our reservation, and the gate opens.
We are greeted by our guide, Jorgina. This is a boutique winery owned by a family who produces sugar cane in the north and has contracts to provide Coca-Cola with sugar in Argentina and Chile. The facility is top-class. When we explained to Jorgina that we are amateur wine makers she tailors the tour to us.
The vineyards around the winery received rain last week and they are waiting perhaps another week before harvesting. We discuss the netting system used to shield the vines from hail and as well as the irrigation system. As we walk through the winery we meet the winemaker, who smiles and shakes our hands. We then watch him listen for the fermentation occurring on a couple of barrels which have been pulled aside.
Following our tour we have generous tastings of four of their wines: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and a Reserve Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The Reserve is wonderful and we buy a bottle, complete with a hand signed label from their winemaker.
Walking the grounds after the tasting gives us a chance to see the beauty of this location. The grapes are almost ready for harvest and the tops of the mountains appear as if they are floating above the vines.
The first courses are served with Azul's Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Malbec, and unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon. The main course (ribeye for William and braised pork for me) is served with a Reserva Malbec-Cabernet that sees 15 months in French and American oak. Any (and all) of the wines are also offered with dessert. Throughout the meal the owner and the wait staff are right there if someone wants another glass and also to talk about the wines and winery. Wow - it is a wonderful meal and a whole lot of wine!
Between looking at the scenery William and I both catch small naps as Osvaldo drives us back to the city of Mendoza and our apartment. We're very happy we hired him!