From what I can remember....the wines were great!
Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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Day : 234
Temperature : Roasting 36 degrees in the shade!
Weather : Too hot to ride on a bicycle around vineyards
After repeatedly declining a wine tour with our hostel, we woke up this morning to discover that Aldo, the owner of our hostel had written out vouchers for a bicycle tour for us...slighty pushy me thinks! After informing him for the umpteenth time that we wanted to do this trip independently, Kevin and I, along with Karen and Martina (two Swiss girls who speak the most awesome Spanish ever!) and Martin (a young American lad) set off on the bus heading for Maipu, in order to visit some of the best wineries that Argentina has to offer
The bus dropped us off outside "Mr Hugo's" bicycle rental shop. After purchasing our bikes (25 pesos each) we ventured out into the blistering heat armed with our map of the area. It's essential to take care here, because you are cycling down the main road and this has huge lorries trundling past just a few feet away, cars speeding around in all directions and stray dogs which suddenly dart out from the side of the pot hole ridden roads.
We arrived at the first winery, the Familia Di Tomasso, just after midday. This small, historical, family run winery is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza, dating back to the 1800's. It's large, heavy brick and cement fermentation tanks have been declared historical monuments. For 15 pesos each we were given a really interesting 20 minute tour around the vineyard outside, and around the cellars and fermentation areas inside. This was followed by a tasting of four different wines...a young Malbec which is bottled straight after the fermentation process, a slighter older 2008 Malbec which is matured in a barrel for 6 months, a high end 2004 Malbec which is matured in the barrel for 12 months, and lastly a very rich, very delicious dessert wine. For those of you that know me, I don't really drink that much, and so after tasting the aforementioned wines I was already feeling a bit squiffy...they give you rather a lot to taste in each glass....honest! It was at that point that Kev and I decided that we'd be in no fit state for a Spanish lesson that evening and so we phoned to rearrange for tomorrow....I mean, we gotta get our priorities straight huh!? Wine before Spanish every time...infact, I'm sure my Spanish improved as the day went on anyway....or maybe it was just ME that thought my Spanish was improving??
We sat down under the shade of the trees, overlooking the vineyard and ordered some lunch....with another bottle of wine of course
Fully recharged we set off again towards the well known Trepiche winery. Compared to the small, quaint Di Tomasso winery, the Trepiche winery was grand on every scale. The tour was a little too expensive for us and so we bought a bottle of wine and sat outside on the balcony instead. It was so hot however, and so we went indoors to cool down in the luxuriously air conditioned tasting room. We later forced our wobbly legs back onto the bikes and set off for a Chocolate and Liquor company. The name eludes me, no marks for guessing why! Anyway, we bought some chocolate and were completely dissapointed... the normal chocolate tasted similar to cooking chocolate back home, and the white chocolate tasted simply of sugar. By this time it was after 5.30pm anyway and our bikes had to be back by 6, and so we called it a day and headed back to Mr Hugo's in order to return our bikes....where we were greeted with...yet another glass of wine...oh jeez!
We all sat in silence on the bus on the way back, absolutely and completely exhausted....too much sunshine, too much exercise, not enough water, and too much wine! But hey, it's not every day you get to cycle around the vineyards of some of the best wineries in the world.....