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Grape Escapes: Cavas Wine Lodge

Celeste Moure

Ask Cavas Wine Lodge owner

Cecilia Díaz Chuit to suggest a tranquil place for lunch, and she might send you

off—with a picnic of serrano ham and arugula sandwiches on just-baked

whole-grain bread—to explore the property’s vineyard on a mountain bike. Any

location you choose will afford vistas of snowcapped Andes peaks, but you need

not leave your bungalow to enjoy lunch with a view. Díaz Chuit will arrange a

spread of charcuterie and cheeses on your rooftop patio, where you can look out

over the vineyards of Mendoza while sipping one of the Malbecs that are making

this region famous.

Set in the foothills of the Andes, Mendoza is the world’s

fourth-largest winemaking region—and growing fast. The excitement in this dry,

mineral-rich province is palpable, thanks in part to the success of Catena

Zapata, Achaval Ferrer, and other premium Malbec producers, many of which invite

visitors to taste their wines straight from the barrel.

The concierge at Cavas Wine Lodge will organize visits to

Catena Zapata and Achaval Ferrer, as well as to boutique operations such as El

Lagar de Carmelo Patti, which specializes in limited-production Malbecs from

Mendoza’s Luján de Cuyo district. Cavas itself sits in the middle of a 35-acre

vineyard planted with Bonarda, a light red grape from Italy’s Piedmont region.

Each year, the hotel produces—exclusively for the enjoyment of guests—about

2,000 bottles of Bonarda wine.

Cavas guests reside in one of 14 stand-alone bungalows that

recall chic Mediterranean villas, with arched doorways, interior courtyards with

gurgling fountains, and adobe walls painted eggshell white. A spa offers

Malbec-seed body wraps, while a restaurant pairs Malbec wines with such

Argentine classics as rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce. Dinners can be

served on your rooftop patio or in the main lodge, but the most compelling view

at night is of Cavas’ wine collection over dinner in the candlelit

cellar.

Cavas Wine Lodge, +54.261.410.6651, www­.cavaswinelodge.com

($260–$370)

Location: Twenty miles south of downtown Mendoza in Luján de

Cuyo, the first region recognized as an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée for

Argentine Malbec.

Accommodations:

Fourteen identical and spacious (nearly 1,000 square feet) adobe bungalows, each

with minimalist furnishings, claw-foot tubs, and outdoor terraces with private

plunge pools that all but spill out into the surrounding vines.

Dining: Chef

Sebastián Flores’ specialties are served in the main lodge, on your patio, or by

candlelight in the cellar.

Wine: The hotel will arrange private tours at Catena

Zapata and Achaval Ferrer. Also nearby is the estate of Carlos Pulenta, a member

of one of Argentina’s most prominent winemaking families, who four years ago

opened a high-tech, low-production winery and a world-class French restaurant in

Luján de Cuyo.

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Photo by Dominic James
Photo by Ellen Jaskol
Photo by Vincent Zanzouri
Copyright by Adriaan Louw