Malbec perfection

Trip Start Oct 19, 2009
Trip End Mar 20, 2010

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Where I stayed
oasis hostel

Flag of Argentina  ,
Thursday, March 4, 2010

We arrived in Mendoza both a day behind schedule (flight re-routed), and $100 poorer (after the new Argentinian airport tax). But with so much good wine and a great BBQ at our hostel that night we were soon very happy indeed. It should be noted that the wine quality deteriorates substantially north of Argentina - so we were loving even the free hostel wine after 4 months of just beers!

The hostel we were staying at was lovely and the owner and his son so keen to help us enjoy our stay. The next day we set off for the much talked about 'Mr Hugo's' bike wine tour of Mendoza. Its a simple concept - you get given a bike, a map and a bottle of water and are sent on your way! No passport numbers, safety instructions or helmets. We soon discovered what sets Mr Hugos operation apart from the competitors is the free wine, both at the start and finish of the tour!

The wineries are set on a 10k stretch of road in a dusty little village about 45 mins out of Mendoza. The terrain is perfect (flat!) and cycling past the vineyards and olive trees is so relaxing and beautiful.

We managed to visit 3 wineries and an olive farm. The first on our tour and our favorite was Tempus Alba, where the lunch menu was so good we just couldn't decide (is it lamb, tzatziki or blue cheese you crave after 4 months without?). We also splashed out on the super premium tasting - getting to try 3 wines up to $85 per bottle which is sky high for Argentina. I honestly didn't know wine could be that good.

Our other fave was Familia de Tomasso, one of the oldest, family run wineries in Mendoza which gave a great tour and the wines were excellent.

Finally we dropped the bikes off, stayed for some more free wine (vwhich tasted so much better by the end of the day). Then back to town to catch some of the wine festival procession. This was basically a huge regional beauty pageant with the finalists atop a procession of floats, throwing apples, grapes, melons and small bottles of wine into the cheering crowd lining the streets.

Our last day was spent watching the same parade (by day this time) wandering around town and visiting the huge park to the north of the city. More wine for dinner and early to bed for an early bus to Santaigo the following day.

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