Tango & Wine

Trip Start Nov 02, 2011
Trip End May 31, 2012

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Where I stayed
Hostel Lao Mendoza
Read my review - 4/5 stars
What I did
Ana & Luis - Tango
Kaiken Bodega
Belasco De Baquedano Bodega
Carinae Bodega

Flag of Argentina  ,
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We arrived in Mendoza for our two night stay (that we extended to four nights) and were delighted to find our hostel was only a 5 minute walk from the bus station - result! Despite sending stuff home from NZ we had gained a few pounds in our bags from purchases (very naughty)! Our hostel (Hostel Lao) was owned by Mike and Celeste (Mike from Manchester and Celeste from Argentina), and was a real home-from-home with a friendly atmosphere amongst the guests. We decided to spend New Year's Eve at the hostel rather than pay lots of money from a meal, so we bought cheese, salami, bread and olives for a tapas-esque meal with local wine. It turned out a number of us had the same idea so everyone added to the mix (including some of Mike's favourite Torrontes from Salta). It turned out the best plan as all the neighbours provided us with free fireworks shows :)

On Sunday night (1st Jan) we decided to head to the local milonga to check out tango in Mendoza, courtesy of Ana and Luis, teachers in the city. We were too scared to dance but enjoyed watching the locals show off their moves, and we learned a few things too. The following night was a class with Ana and Luis so we promised to join them there.

Monday morning we awoke for our day of wine tasting! The hostel had arranged for a large group of us to go in three cars (Celeste's and two friends') and to visit three bodegas with a lunch at the second. We started out at 9am and arrived at Kaiken Bodega at 10am where Lucy (our guide) demonstrated the different styles of vineyard (Italian, French etc) and explained about grafting. Some of her plants were grafted twice, with an American root ball, then a different stem, then malbec grafted on top - amazing! Then we took a look at the wine making process and the huge concrete fermenters they used (the traditional method) including a peek inside one at the "base" for their sparkling wine. Then we retired to the tasting room where we had a generous sample of a rose, a cabernet sauvignon, and a malbec/sauvignon. So in short I was a bit drunk at 11am (it was too nice to spit it out). Then on to the next bodega, Belasco De Baquedano, where we had another tour (including their amazing "room of  smell") and a 5-course meal with five wines to try. Amazingly I had veggie food throughout - it's not true what they say about Argentina! So now it's 4pm and I'm ready for a sleep! Then we rushed to the last bodega, Carinae, where we tried so many I lost count. Sorry to admit it but I couldn't drink any more so after a sip it got wasted! Even James couldn't finish the glasses! This bodega was bought by a retired french couple who were new to wine and experimented with their syrah/cab sauvignon and malbec blends. Our favourites are listed below for anyone wanting to search them out...
Kaiken - click here
    JJ's Favourites were the Rose and the Reserva Malbec.
    Liz's Favourite was the Reserva Malbec .
Belasco De Baquedano - click here
    JJ's Favourites was the Loan (Llama)
    Liz's Favourites was the Loan (Llama)
Carinae - click here
    JJ and Liz had drunk too much but they were all great!   

Monday night, after scorching 40 degree heat all day (and an early hangover from all the wine!), we headed over for our first tango class in Argentina with Ana and Luis - click here. Well, they worked us hard, especially James as he had to lead! Thankfully we met an angel in Luis (a local who now lives with his wife in New Orleans but was visiting home and learning tango) who translated the finer points of the direction for us. The 2 hour class was amazing value at ~3! Afterwards we went for a meal with Luis and enjoyed muchos bottles of local cerveza and much chat.

Tuesday we chilled due to the extreme heat again, but enjoyed some vino with others before heading back to the bus station for our night bus, 9pm on Fletchabus to Buenos Aires (13 hrs). We splashed out on cama class (recliner seats a la business class) with hostess service meals, drinks and a movie :) best night sleep for a while due to the amazing air con, ahhhhh!

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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Neal on

That's what I call a vinyard crawl. Loved the description of the vines.

smitherson on

Thanks Neal!

smitherson on

Keep an eye out for the Kaiken wine, its imported into the UK and was definitely the best wine we tasted. Yum!

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