Above: Vineyards and winery, Bodega Garzón, Maldonado, Uruguay - RODRIGO GUILLENEA

Most Memorable Tastings 

Vineyards, Bodega Garzón, Maldonado - Rodrigo Guillenea

This year, we went to several off-the-beaten-track destinations worthy of note. Great wines and spirits are being crafted in all sorts of exciting places around the world; the monopoly of the usual suspects is unquestionably broken. These tasting experiences were our favorites from our past 12 months of travels.

Bodega Garzón

Maldonado, Uruguay

Francis Mallmann’s restaurant atop the winery, Bodega Garzón - Sara Matthews
Aging tanks and fermentation area - Sara Matthews

In a nature reserve in Uruguay’s seaside cattle country, billionaire Alejandro Bulgheroni built a spectacular, sustainable winery. The LEED-certified building boasts reflecting pools inside and out, the largest green roof in South America and naturally insulated cellars built into the hillside. There are many touring and tasting options. Visit the vineyards, the cellar or both. Hike or bike around the biodiverse property with wines to sample in a made-to-order picnic basket. But best is a pairing at Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s restaurant atop the winery. We started with glasses of winemaker Germán Bruzzone’s briny sparkling Chardonnay on a balcony overlooking the 2,500-acre estate. His meaty, smoky red blend, Balasto, is perfection with Mallmann’s asado.

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Above: Vineyards and winery, Bodega Garzón, Maldonado, Uruguay - RODRIGO GUILLENEA

Read More from Our Trip:

Cocktails Around the World Hospitality Awards Hotel Restaurants of the Year Remarkable Returns Restaurants of the Year Unforgettable Memories  Hotels of the Year Best Amenities Best in Class Best Travel Experiences Disappointments of the Year