El Corralito may have devastated the country's banking system, but the wineries are now benefiting big-time. Why? Because those with dollars or euros to spend can now get three times for their money. As a result, the Argentine wine-tasting trail is flourishing with brand-new, ultramodern, design-forward wineries whose owners clearly had more than grape-crushing on their minds during construction. At Pulenta, for instance, you get an amazing room outfitted in chic, earth-toned appointments, two meals, endless wine (bottles and tastings), Internet access, a minibar - everything, really - for $160 per night. Last but not least, you can hang out with the winemaker as he turns Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Bonarda into Pulenta's signature blends.
At Bodegas Salentein in the Uco Valley, an hour's drive from Mendoza proper, a similar wonder is in place. Dutch investors have thrown $60 million into this Architectural Digest-worthy cellar whose dark, industrial look is a marvel of modern winery engineering. In other words, these are a far cry from traditional French châteaus, or even from the classic feel of most California wineries.