Our wine hunt in Mendoza
Mendoza, known for its Malbec was our next stop from Chile, we had made it to wine country, time to drink some vino please. Though upon arriving late Saturday afternoon we soon learnt that firstly on Sunday's the wineries are closed, Boooo, and secondly that the biking wine tour only runs on Tuesday's, Thursday's and Saturday's, double boooo! So my first piece of advance is do your your research before booking flights so you don't miss out of anything you want to do. Luckily upon arriving at our new and dearly beloved hostel – Chillinn, we were reassured that you can easily tour the wineries yourself for a portion of the price. We also got offered if we wanted to pitch in for a home cooked roast chicken – HELLS TO THE YESS, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Btw I just want to add that the roast chicken was the best meal in South America to date, lemon roasted chicken with roasted potatoes drizzled in chilli oil with a nice fresh salad all for the equivalent of $5 nzd each.
Our first day was very uneventful, with it being a Sunday, not only were the wineries closed but the whole town was like a ghost town. So we found ourselves first a cafe with good coffee and wifi – priorities, then on our way back to the hostel we pit stopped at a restaurant to share a bottle of Malbec and have a small bite to eat while catching up on emails and stealing some more precious wifi.
Yes the day has finally come, WINE TOUR DAY. I was pumped, ready to drink all of the wine. So we jumped into a train and headed out to Maipu which is where a few wineries are situated. Well, what was meant to be a great start of the day with free winery then hiring bikes one block over, ended up being, what felt like a hour hike into the city centre as both the winery and the bike place was closed. By this stage the want for wine had become so strong, even a shitty as house wine would taste like liquid gold. Lucky we got ourself out of this part of the city and into the neighbouring town Coquimbito, found ourselves Mr Hugo’s bike rental. Finally we were equipped with a map and were ready for round two of our wine tour (more like mission). If you think the mission stopped there, no, the first winery was only open for appointment only. At this stage I was almost giving up hope, I was now getting winegry (wine angry) but putting that behind us we kept on our mission and finally (sore legs and all) reached Tempus Alba.
We started with their small self guided walking tour which lead you around the winery to learn about each of the steps of the winemaking process, before leading you upstairs for a taste.
There are a few tasting options; #1 any 3 of their regular varietal wines, #2, you can try any 2 of their varietals and their Pleno reserve and #3 is the premium tasting range. We opted #1 and got to taste all the Tempus Varietals; Rose, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah, Malbec and finishing with the Cabernet Sauvignon. Whilst we were awaiting our wines to arrive, we eyed up the Steak on the menu and decided, Fuck it let's be fancy! “Dos nuestro bife por favour”.
Ours wines came out like 50 shades of red, I was most excited about trying the Rose as its my favourite wine type at home but thought it was underwelling, the Tempranillo and the Malbec didn’t disappoint. The Steak on the other hand, whilst tasting great was a bit full of gristle that made it quite tough sadly. Anyway onwards to bigger and better things (more wine please).
Next stop was Viña el Cerno, a small older styled family winery, where we were greeted by the owner who made us feel at home. Here we tried a couple of their many Malbecs they had on offer and also decided to give one of their Chardonnay a try, one of the owner's personal favourites. The Chardonnay was actually our favourite which was a pleasant surprise. We were fortunate to meet a couple of English travellers here and decided to head to the next winery together.
We rode off to Mevi, our final winery stop of the day. This one had the opposite vibe to Viña el Cerno, it was more modern and had a stunning deck outside with a view over the vineyard and the mountains in the distance … DREAM. I loved the way they organised their tastings here, they bring you the three glasses with a placemat containing all the wines on offer, and it's simple place the glass down on top of the ones that interest you and whoola the wine is poured and you are left to sit back and enjoy!
After finishing off our wines we decided to call it a day after our long wine mission. All four of us set off on the slightly longer more wobbly way back to Mr. Hugo's. Lucky we all got back more or less in one piece except for my slight incident where I may have ended up inside a very large gutter – when I say large I mean almost half the size of me – after taking a corner slightly too quickly … opps. After dropping off the bikes and saying goodbye to Mr Hugo ... tear.
We got back to the hostel just in time for another family dinner of seafood paella, it was most definitely worth every penny, chock-full of every kind of seafood you could think of. Plus what is paella without a glass of red wine to match only from Mendoza of coarse. It was an amazing end to an eventful but great day of food and wine.
Next stop Buenos Aires.