Mendoza is the wine capital of Latin America, and we looked forward to doing a lot of wine tasting, especially the Malbec which is the most famous Mendoza wine.
There are many ways to taste wines in Mendoza, and we tried three of them:
Vines of Mendoza
In downtown Mendoza there is a tasting bar named The Vines of Mendoza which came highly recommended. They offer several “flights” of 5 wines and also has a big wine list by the glass/bottle. They also serve some light food to accompany the wine. We tried a flight of five Malbecs to taste the differences the soil/altitude/storage does to the wine, and it was really interesting comparing them all at the same time! The servers at the bar are very knowledgeable and and gave us a good introduction to the various wines we tasted. The flight cost 70 pesos and was among the cheaper options. We also tried the meat and cheese platter and a sandwich, both reasonably priced. All in all highly recommended to get an introduction to Argentinian wine!
Biking in Maipú
Next, we did a day of biking in Maipú, one of the wine regions just outside Mendoza. We took the local bus to Mr. Hugo’s who rented us bikes and supplied us with a map of local wineries (there are several options, but Mr. Hugo came highly recommended from some blogs, and we were happy with the choice!).
The bikes cost 35 pesos per person, we could choose which places we wanted to visit, and a tasting cost around 20-40 pesos. We visited Entre Olivos (a tasting of olives, oils/condiments, jams, chocolate and liquor), Familia di Tommaso (tasting of both white and red wines + tour) and ended up at Tempus Alba winery for lunch. We actually did this tour on the 17th of May (Norway’s national day), and it was a nice way to spend the day.
Biking is a relative cheap option and one can opt to go only to the cheapest wineries, but that also means that the quality of the wine is not the best. Overall it was a fun experience and Mr. Hugo had some nice bikes and good recommendations for us to make the day the best we could. To get to Maipú one can take the #10 bus (171, 172 or 173) from the bus terminal (or in some of the streets in Mendoza) for around 3,5 pesos each way. Just ask the bus driver to stop at Mr. Hugo.
Higher-end wine tour in Luján de Cuyo
Finally we wanted to try a more high-end tour in Luyán de Cuyo to taste some of the better wines. We arranged a tour through Kahuak (Mendoza Wine Experiene) and they picked us up from our (shabby) hostel with a private driver in a nice car. This tour was by far the most expensive, but then the wineries were more exclusive and the wines were also by far the best we tasted. We visited Viña Cobos, Achaval Ferrer and finally Norton (where we also got a delicious lunch).
We started off at Viña Cobos with five wines (red and white) at 10 in the morning – a nice start to the day. At Achaval Ferrer we got to taste some of the highest ranked wines in the world, straight from the tank! At Norton we tasted the wine in the different stages of production, first fresh wine from the tank, then oaked wine from a barrel and finally aged wine from a bottle, letting us taste the difference the process makes to the wine. They were three very different wineries which gave us three very different experiences. It was expensive (830 pesos per person) but worth it!
We probably would have enjoyed Mendoza even more if we didn’t both get a cold from the very long bus ride from Uyuni to Mendoza. We were traveling for a total of 44 hours (5 of which were spent in a broken down bus in the mountains in the middle of the night..) on 5 different buses to get to Mendoza, and the dry air and lack of sleep definitely took a toll. Luckily we were still able to do the wine tasting, although we probably didn’t get the full experience. Anyway it spurred a love for Argentinian wines and especially the Malbec that we explored even further in our quest for the perfect steak in Buenos Aires (coming in the next post!).
See more of Mendoza and the rest of Argentina here.