Salentein Vineyard and Winery – Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina

The Bodega Salentein Wine Cathedral

HE SAYS: Our other stop in the Uco Valley was at nearby Bodega Salentein. This is also a new winery, an endeavor by a large Dutch company. They also spent about 5 years building this massive winery, and constructed a large art museum, sculpture garden and restaurant up front.

In addition, they have a lodge and chapel on site. The massive winery building is in back, and it was shaped in the form of a cross with two levels to allow for gravity flow of the wines from the stainless steel fermentation tanks into the aging barrels.   Their facilities are quite impressive, and our tour guide, Luciano, was really informative and good-natured.

The restaurant had fine food, but unfortunately tasting was limited to the two wines they poured. Admission was about $12 US for the pair of us and included admission to the wonderful art museum, so a very worthwhile visit.

SHE SAYS: Remember how I wrote in our first Argentina wine country post that only silly people try to visit 4 Mendoza wineries in one day and we are those silly people?  This is that day.  My husband is an admirable Olympic wine taster, I am a humble amateur.  I love this bodega, but I am not in on this tasting.

They call this bodega  The Wine Cathedral and for those of you who are making wine your new religion, this is the temple at which you will want to worship.  Wry and beautiful at the same time is the tasting room with a counter hewn from rustic limestone that looks like a sacrificial altar.  “You will sacrifice everything for the vine.  Everything. Mwa, ha, ha!!!!”   In a pinch, when the chapel is full, they can say Mass in the tasting room.

The first generation of my Italian family who lived in Argentina was in the construction business. (something about getting on the wrong boat?  Ah well…)  Anway,  Uncle Louie owned a marble and stone quarry and so my exposure to and appreciation of stone work  is a little more intense than the average person.  This bodega has some extraordinary stone work as well as a deep appreciation of the earth and a duplication of classical architecture to create that feeling of homage and mystery as you travel through the experience.    They even have a glass enclosed cross section of the bodega’s earth as a piece of artwork on one wall so you can see some of the details of the soil.  These people rock.

The structure is beautiful and gave us numerous unique photos which we will share with you here as soon as the wordpress photo uploader starts working again.  There seems to be a glitch tonight.  Sorry for the delay.

The art gallery is indeed fabulous and the food in the cafe – outstanding.  The best roasted vegetables I’ve ever had.  I have no idea why, but they were incredible.   Another item to take note of at the winery is the gift shop.  Winery gifts shops can be so much “the same” after a while.  This was not the case at Bodega Salentein.  Some very unique wine maps, descriptions of the grapes of Argentina, gorgeous leather goods and excellent books.  Be sure to allow time for the shop.

2006 Salentein Sauvignon Blanc HE SAYS: This was the only Sauvignon Blanc I was able to taste in Argentina and it was really quite nice. Great balance of citrus flavors, with the complexity of a chardonnay. It spent six months in French oak and would make a great food wine. 15     SHE SAYS: I’m going shopping, honey.  See you later.

2004 Salentein Pinot NoirHE SAYS: This was the only Pinot Noir I was able to taste in Argentina and it too was really quite nice. It was grown in the highest vineyard they have, over a mile high elevation. It showed off bright fruits of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, along with nuances of violet and rose petals. Barrel aged for about a year, then bottle aged for half a year. Not much tannin, so you’d want to drink soon. Very tasty 16
SHE SAYS: I’m back!  Thanks for the credit card! ;-))

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