Thacks Awards panelist Hassan M lived and worked in Argentina through March and April 2022. In that time he and panelist John T undertook a trip to Mendoza for a few days in search of amazing experiences. They found one at VinoBien in Mendoza:
“When it comes to wine bars, it takes a lot to make me happy. Whilst there are so many wine bars around the world, they’re often lacking something: be it substandard wine glasses, a tiny or poor quality wine by the glass selection or they have good wine but mediocre offerings to pair the wines with.
I visit many wine bars around the world and I’m only allowed to give away 5 Thacks Awards each year. You need to blow me away if I am going to use one of my awards on you. VinoBien did exactly that, and then some.
First of all, I was very impressed that they have a selection of Riedel glasses to choose from depending on the type of wine you’re drinking: from the elegant Riedel Pinot Noir glass to the thin-stemmed and fine Cabernet Sauvignon glass.
VinoBien also have an impressive wine by the glass selection to choose from; ranging from entry level wines from around Argentina to the more exclusive or dare I say expensive wines by Argentina standards. So it’s a great opportunity to experience a wine before committing to purchasing a bottle. Of course this is made possible by the nifty Coravin.
Being the high-class pleb that I am, I decided to put them to the test. I ordered a bottle of red wine which was served at the perfect temperature but I asked for an ice bucket to make sure that the wine stayed at the right temperature down to the last sip (it was a hot day). Not only was the ice bucket placed on a plate to avoid a puddle of water forming at the bottom of the bucket, but they even provided a napkin for placing the bottle on – to avoid water spillage on the table.
I was super impressed when the waiter poured a bit of wine into each glass after I tasted it to make room in the bottle for the wine to breathe. Now that’s what I call excellent wine service and attention to detail.
Let’s talk about the food – since a beautiful full-bodied red needs to be enjoyed with, well, when in Argentina one cannot go wrong with a steak, right? The thing is, I’ve had many great steaks in South Africa last year, so I was expecting to be blown away by the steaks in Argentina but the truth is, I wasn’t; even after visiting some of the ‘must-eat-at steak restaurants’ in Buenos Aires. The fillet steak at VinoBien (twice over two days!) was the best that I’ve tried in Argentina. Perfectly prepared and oh-so succulent. There are many other options to choose from: all small plates so ideal for trying different dishes, especially if you are drinking wines by the glass where each wine would pair well with a different dish.
And finally, what I like to call my idea of heaven, is their walk-in wine fridge. They have some of Argentina’s top high quality wines housed in this spectacularly impressive wine fridge. I spent a good 30 minutes perusing the wines and wondering what each one tasted like. Maybe in another lifetime I could get one of my own and have the sommelier at VinoBien to help me choose the best wines to stock up my fridge with.
P.S.: All the friendly staff members have excellent wine knowledge. The ones I spoke with all had a wine/sommelier course under their belt which really helps when you’re a newbie to Argentinian wines and you need expert advice to choose an enjoyable drop for your taste.
P.P.S.: If you’re wined out after a few days in this Wine Kingdom, VinoBien’s Gin and Tonics including local versions are a treat too.”
2022 Top 5 Winner – VinoBien written by Hassan M – one of the seven 2022 international Thacks Awards panelists, who lived and worked in Argentina for a month in March and April 2022. When not traveling and drinking wine, Hassan works in Operations and Service Management for an awesome remote-based gaming company.
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