Updated: May 29, 2020
It's no secret that wine is the drink of choice in Game of Thrones. Just like your beloved female characters, each winery in Mendoza has a personality. Some are small and rugged like Arya, while others are large enough to house dragons.
(How excited are you for the new HBO prequel, House of the Dragon?!)
Though winery season is coming to a close for us in the States, it's just beginning in Argentina. South America is on the opposite hemisphere, meaning winter has ended. This post might seem out of place at first, but now is when thousands of tourists are flocking to wine country.
Surrounded by lush green vineyards, the posh city of Mendoza will have you feeling like a queen in no time. Travel south and east to visit surrounding wineries (or bodegas) and admire the distant mountains while you languidly sip on Argentinian wine. There's no "Arbor Gold" here, but the cellars flow freely with Malbec and Torrontés.
As amazing as the wineries are, don't forget to take a day to treat yourself within the city limits. Mendoza has a plethora of spas and superb restaurants that are perfect for pampering. If you're coming from Buenos Aires, this is your chance to wash off the big city grime and relax from the hustle and bustle in Argentina's oasis.
There are several wine regions around Mendoza: Lujan de Cuyo, Maipu, and Valle de Uco. They're a ways outside of the city itself, but all you need is a car. Now whether you rent one or hire a personal driver is up to you. If you'd like a little more adventure, consider riding a bike. It all depends on how royal you want to feel. Choose you carriage of choice and lets be on our way!
1. Achaval Ferrer
Located in the Lujan de Cuyo region, this winery was started by a group of friends in 1998. It's a smaller winery; everything they do has a more personal touch. But the facilities are quite modern, and every tour ends in a wine tasting!
Achaval Ferrer has a unique red wine known as the Quimera. It's a "warm-blend". The owners will taste the grapes for consistency mere hours before they're to be harvested. It has a dark taste, and is described as being feminine with an accent of rosemary. If there was ever a wine to describe Melisandre, this would be it.
2. Bodega Vistalba
This perfectly situated winery has some serious mountain views. It's located in the same region (Lujan de Cuyo), with grapevines that are 70 years old! It's picture perfect wine cellar would be enough to satisfy even Cersei.
For lunch, you can sit back and enjoy some authentic Argentinian cuisine. After exploring the vineyards, you'll be able to taste not only their wine, but olive oil as well. Bodega Vistalba grows more than just grapes . They have 80 year old olive trees from which they make their own olive oil.
3. Catena Zapata
With picturesque views, and hectares full of history, it's a crowd favorite in Lujan de Cuyo. This adobe looking winery will have you feeling like you just made a trip to Dorne to have wine with the Sand Snakes.
Cartena Zapata is one of the oldest vineyards in the region; the grapes were first planted in 1902. It has helped shape the current Argentinian wine culture into what it is today. The founder, Nicolás Catena Zapata, was one of the first to try and grow grapes at such high elevation in Argentina
They have a fantastic page on their website for serious wine enthusiasts. Detailed accounts of each year's harvest are kept, and go all the way back to 1990. You can find out which vintages are best, and see how the weather affected every batch they made.
This picturesque winery is located in Valle de Uco. The region is very close to the Andes and has some stunning views. With that proximity comes colder weather and rockier soil, which is ideal for making world-class wine. The Queen of the North would feel quite at home here.
Salentein is in the shape of a cross, which not only represents the religious beliefs of Argentina, but serves a purpose in their process. The layout allows all the products in the winemaking stages to remain close together, making production that much simpler and easier. The entire building is 2 levels, which allows for classic gravity transference instead of using pumps.
Moving onto the Maipu region, we come to Trapiche, a bodega that has been around since 1883. It's wine is sold in more than 80 countries and they make over 3.5 million cases per year. Trapiche has won many awards for their wines. Even if you're not a wine connoisseur like Tyrion, you'll probably recognize the label. This is truly wine country royalty, with a lineage as old as the Tyrells.
Not only can this bodega boast excellent wines, the entire vineyard is rich with history. Though the brand has been around for over 125 years, the building used on the property was abandoned quickly after its construction in the beginning of the 20th century. After Trapiche bought it in the early 2000's, they set about upcycling the place so it could be used to house the tools needed for their more elite wines.
This winery offers a unique tour experience. Instead of walking around the vineyard, you are invited to take a horse drawn carriage ride. On your tour you will see Tapiz bred llamas. Also included in the tour is a wine tasting. You'll get to try it out of the bottle and also the tanks! This level of hospitality will have you feeling as sophisticated as Margaery.
If you need a place to stay, this winery is equipped with a hotel as well. The restaurant has a multi course menu and an à la carte menu. Be sure to book in advance!
7. Tierras Altas
We've saved the best for last. Literally. Tierra Altas is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor for being the best winery in Mendoza. With it's luxurious space and a history spanning four generations, it's not hard to see why.
Known as a boutique winery, they see themselves as more artisanal. They have a limited amount of products, use unique methods, and are family owned. These attributes are what they use to define themselves as boutique. The tours are more of an experience, as you get to tap into wine straight from the barrel.
With limited options of excellent wine, you really can't go wrong with your choice. This would be the perfect winery for those just starting to get into wine, such as sweet Missandei.
With dramatic backdrops of the Andes mountains, and the vast amounts of never ending wine, this region seems to come straight out of a fantasy novel. Just like some of our favorite female characters. How fun would it be to tour wineries with Westerosi women? There'd be enough drama to last through all 7.