The Vines of Mendoza

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Amanda Barnes is a British journalist who makes her own bread and butter by drinking wine around the country. Actually, she spends her bread and butter on wine.

Insider's Guide: O Fournier


There are some wineries you really have to visit when in Mendoza, and O Fournier is one of them. Right on the outskirts of the Uco Valley, this modernist winery is a gleaming example of nationally renowned Bormida & Yanzon architecture at its finest and has one of the best winery lunches around. It looks kind of Star Trek-y with its flat black top, thin black laboratory neck and swooping, voluptuous concrete middle; but there is much more than geek-chic conceptual aesthetics to its design. The winery is designed on a gravity flow system so the reception area is actually at the top (with ramps coming up the side) and the grapes are deposited straight into the tops of tanks before moving in a downwards stream through the winery and winemaking stages. The Lab is located above ground (under the black sunscreen) so that enologists can keep an eye over every angle of their vineyards and the harvest. As it moves its way down through concrete tanks, stainless steel and fermentation barrels (depending on the wine and line), it ends in the atmospheric, underground cellar where it lays to rest in a beautiful art gallery with minimal natural light coming in from slats in the roof. Walking through the cellar you end up in another art space and tasting room which then leads you upstairs to the piece-de-resistance for the visitor: the glass cube restaurant. With floor to ceiling sheets of glass, the restaurant makes the most of its location at the foothills of the Andes with a lake beside it reflecting the endless skies and rugged mountainsides. The ideal location to waste away a couple hours gorging yourself on good wine and gourmet food and with a set 6 course menu, you know this is time to loosen your belt and just enjoy the ride. The menu usually has a very strong focus on local produce and fresh vegetables with dishes including for example cauliflower croquettes with lemon emulsion, vichisoise soup and Torrontes sorbet. But carnivores will feel more than satiated with the enormous grilled steak that is usually on offer soaked up by one of the Tempranillo-based wine blends. This Spanish winery hits the right note with its blend of stunning architecture, sumptuous views and luxurious lunches. Ahhhh – a perfect day in Mendoza.   Amanda Barnes is a British journalist living in Mendoza and enjoying every belt loosening lunch wine paired lunch at bodegas as regularly as her jeans allow her.

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