AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 2
Name of wine estate: Bodega Garzón
Wine region: Maldonado
Standout points: Francis Mallmann-inspired open-fire dining, pioneering sustainability focus
Winemaker: Alberto Antinoni
Wine style: Cool climate wines in a range of styles; many varieties with Tannat a focus
Considering the size and status of Argentina and Chile as wine regions, you’d be forgiven for overlooking modest little Uruguay. When the oenotourist experience is of the calibre provided by Bodega Garzón, however, it’s an oversight you might regret. Established by billionaire oil magnate Alejandro Bulgheroni in 2016 just north of the buzzing coastal resort city of Punta del Esta, the $85 million project – now featuring a luxury hotel complex – is not only setting the standard for Uruguayan wine, it also offers one of the best-rated visitor experiences in South America.
The Mallmann factor
A headline attraction for Garzón is its ‘Ambassador Chef’, Francis Mallmann, who specialises in Patagonian cuisine and Patagonian methods of barbecuing food, and has developed the Market Menu at the justly celebrated Garzón restaurant. Dining here is a must. For a more hands-on experience, cooking classes, in which you will learn Mallmann’s way with flames, are also on offer, followed by a four-course wine pairing lunch. Some of the grape varieties may surprise you: although focused on Tannat, Garzón is one of a very few producers of Albariño in the country.
A gastronomic getaway
Dedicated tours running from Wednesday to Sunday are designed to cater for all budgets. Choose from Estate, Single-Vineyard, Reserva and Premium Experiences. Opt for Garzón’s Premium Experience and enjoy a private tour of the vineyard, a guided tour of the winery, a sommelier-guided tasting of the most iconic wines and lunch with your very own fire station, Mallmann-style, on a private terrace. The winery also has an olive oil-pressing operation and a golf course. You can even take to the sky with a balloon ride offering a bird’s-eye view of the Garzón complex and vineyards.
Characterised by the freshness of the prevailing Atlantic Ocean breezes and excellent granitic terroir, all of these wines are made from estate-grown, sustainably-farmed grapes. The entire operation is guided by the highest standards of both quality and sustainability. Indeed, Bodega Garzón is the first winery in the world to have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for both its winemaking and hospitality.