13 December 2012

A Weekend in Mendoza

This weekend we took a four day trip to Mendoza, the capital of the province of the same name to the west of Buenos Aires. It butts up against the Chilean border and sits in the foothills of the Andes. It's a dry, warm region this time of year, making it the perfect climate for vineyards. So naturally, this is where a huge portion of Argentine wine comes from. We were lucky enough to take some winery tours, do some tastings, and meet some really awesome people along the way.

The highlight of our trip for me was a bike ride through wine land with a group of international travelers we met at the hostel. We took a bus about 30 minutes out of the city to Lujan de Cuyo, where the Baccus bike rental shop was located only minutes from eight wineries. For $35 ARS/$7 USD we got decent bikes (functioning, though not extremely comfortable!) for the entire day and a map detailing what each spot had to offer and their available tour times.
The first winery we stopped at was Alta Vista. This very professional, medium sized production winery produces red and white wines that are found throughout Argentina. For $30 pesos, we got a tour of the old and new holding tanks and the cellar as well as a tasting of three different wine varieties. Perfecto! Bottles ranged from $65-$2000 ARS.

Our next stop was Pulmary. This tiny, organic, single family winery was the most charming and interesting in my opinion. We got a tour of the tanks and cellar, and were even treated to wine right out of the oak barrels! We ate the most delicious hunks of seared beef I've ever tasted in my life out in the yard. For $30 pesos, we were given two full bottles of wine for tasting for the group (regularly $100 ARS each). By this time, I was feeling a little wobbly getting back on my bike!

Our last stop was Clos de Chacras. We had an excellent guide who took us through the wine making process, throughout the winery, and even into the vineyards. We sat out on their gorgeous deck by a fish pond and shared four bottles, one from each of line. Bottles ranged from $40-180 ARS. The 'tasting' came with cheese, crackers, and raisins and the cost divided among the group came out to only $40 pesos per person!

Other than that, we did a lot of relaxing in the sun. I love dry heat so much, so I felt right at home in Mendoza. We explored the city itself a little bit, and I can't say there's a ton to report. But having met such an awesome group of friends right at the beginning, we had a really good time. Three major asados in three days put me over the edge...So Much Beef And Wine! But who's complaining?

Oh. We also hung out with this dude for a second...

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