Today we set out to explore the wineries of Mendoza. There are over 1000 wineries, also called bodegas, in this area and most are small family-run operations. Most require you to call ahead and make a reservation. Unlike wineries in the States where you can walk in and stand at a bar for a tasting, these places conduct full on tours designed to educate you about the wine-making process. Then, when it’s time to taste, you don’t just taste 3 or 4 like in many other wineries. Here the tasting is of at least six or eight kinds with pretty generous pours. So, it’s a good thing we didn’t try to see all 1000 of Mendoza’s bodegas. Today we hit three.
Our driver Diego picked us up at 9:30 and we drove about 15 minutes south to Bodega Tapiz, which is the winery owned by the same place we are staying.
We were greeted by a beautiful herds of llamas and a friendly guide named Juan. We learned about the wine production process and finished with a tasting of numerous wines with chocolate. The tasting finished up with a sample of their special lemoncello.
Next we were off to Archaval Ferrer, known for producing some of the highest quality wine in the area. We were too late to join the actual tour and just in time for the tasting. We didn’t complain! The wines just kept coming and we were able to compare Malbecs from different terriors, or plots of land. It’s amazing how different the same kind of wine can taste by growing in different dirt. We took a few photos from the lawn of Archaval Ferrer because they have the most beautiful view of the Andes.
Today was was the first day we were able to see the snow-covered peaks and they were so majestic. We are in the height of summer and there is still a lot of snow up there. Imagine what it looks like in winter. Mendoza is the jumping off point for climbing expeditions of Aconcagua. This is the highest peak on the continent and we’ve enjoyed learning about this challenge. Steve’s up for the climb of the 23,000 foot mountain but I’m not crazy about the idea of hiking in snow. Still, it sounds like it would be a great adventure. In fact, this week a nine-year-old boy reached the summit, making him the youngest to ever reach the top.
Our third winery today was Alta Vista, one of the oldest in the area. They use the old-style concrete tanks and have an underground cave, like you find in France. Emelie, our guide, was actually from Leon, France and had the most beautiful accent.
We enjoyed our private tour with her and our extensive tasting afterwards. Even Diego, our driver joined us!
By this time we were done. The rest of the day included lunch, nap, more wine tasting at Club Tapiz, followed by another great dinner. Tomorrow we leave wine country and fly to Bariloche, known as the Argentine Lake District. We are staying at an estancia, or ranch, and are looking forward to some physical activity for a change. Hiking and kayaking sounds good after our days of decadence here in Mendoza.