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There’s one thing Mendoza really does in style, and that’s a good fiesta. Argentines know how to hold a party and in the capital of wine it is no exception. This year's Great Wine Capitals 'Best Of Wine Tourism' award winner for wine tourism services was Diplomatic Luxury Wines - a wine festival held each year in the depths of winter to bring a little warmth to wine lovers in Mendoza.
Last year, 2016, was the first year this festival was held and following this year’s equally successful event it has become a firm favourite for locals and tourists alike. Held over two days in early June, this wine event brings together some of the most luxurious wines from Argentina with hard-to-find, limited edition releases as well as the top, icon wines of each bodega.
Organised by the Diplomatic Hotel, which is located in the heart of Mendoza city centre, and two local wine journalists Federico Lancia and Gustavo Flores Bazán, the event marries together wine and food over a long weekend of celebration.
Just before the festival there are a series of talks that are essential for wine aficionados. This year, the workshops (each with a unique focus in the wine and food industry) included a Malbec terroir masterclass with winemakers from Pulenta Estate and Terrazas de los Andes; an olive oil production seminar with Miguel Zuccardi, who heads up the family olive farm and production in Maipu; and a wine and cheese pairing session led by a cheesemaker.
Then, on the Friday and Saturday evening - the party starts.
With over thirty wineries presenting their very best wines and the cuisine team at the Diplomatic pulling out special pairings, it is a sensory affair. Local delicacies like duck, lamb and beef empanadas are paired with a host of different white, rose, red and sparkling wines.
Some wine highlights from the fair this year included Catena Zapata’s high altitude Adrianna Malbec; the well-aged, 20-year-old Monchenot blend by Bodegas Lopez; the unctuous Lindaflor Chardonnay from Bodega Monteviejo; the limited edition Super Uco red blend by the Michelini brothers; Cabernet Franc from the historic Bodega Benegas; and local grappa from Rutini.
If you are visiting Mendoza for the first time, this wine festival is the perfect way to launch into the wine scene with some of the very best at this glamorous tasting. And, if you are a local, this is an opportunity to taste some rare wines and enjoy a true wine fiesta.
Written by Amanda Barnes
Twitter: @amanda_tweeter @Squeeze_Mag
Photos by Marcelo Carubin