Our interest in wines was the primary reason for our visit to Mendoza. It took us two days to get there from Bariloche (1300km) and there were not many things worthwhile mentioning among the route. We stayed in a little cabaña in Mendoza’s southern neighborhood of Chacra. Our AirBnB hosts Juan Carlos and Camilla were very caring and hearty such that we felt immediately being part of the family. We were sharing the property with their daughter’s family which was great for the kids since they immediately had access to ample toys and new playing buddies. Also the pool came very handy as the temperatures never fell below 25C during the day.
On the day of our arrival we passed by the Valle de Uco, one of the top three wine growing regions in Mendoza. We learned that most of the wine yards close at 17:00 and hence we just managed to quickly take a bottle of 2018 Cabernet and 2016 Bonardo from Bodega La Azul with us. The first one turned out to be very drinkable whereas the later one (blend of Cabernet and Malbec) was way too sour (and double the price 😦 ). The early closure was unfortunate but it was still worthwhile coming to this valley since we found it to be the most beautiful wine growing area around Mendoza. The views of vines in front of the Cordillera de la Totora (part of the Andes) were super-stunning!
On the first day we rented bikes with two child seats from Mr Hugo in Maipu (350 ARS each). It is one of the well-known wine neighborhoods. Our first stop was the family winery Domiciano where we immediately jumped into the tasting (200ARS/person) since we slightly missed the hourly tour. Irina chose a series of three Malbecs and Lothar three classics (Chardonnay, Malbec, Cabernet Reserve). All of wines were very drinkable but we did not feel that we need to take a bottle with us since it was the first winery on that day.
We continued 7km to the next winery, Mevi, which won a series of medals for their Chardonnay and Cabernet. We had lunch there and enjoyed the views of the vines in front of the impressive Andes. It goes without saying that we tried another tasting (110ARS/person), this time Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Reserve. We liked the Syrah most and took a bottle with us (240ARS).
The next stop was the Bodega Trivento. We had known this winery already from our time in Texas where their Reserve Malbec was among our favorite wines (they serve it e.g. at Robard’s Steakhouse). We entered shortly before closure but they told us straight away that they did not offer any tastings today due to a private party. So we bought quickly two bottles of the Reserve (2017) and Golden Reserve (2016) and saved it for Christmas 🙂
The last stop of the day, Bodega CarinaE, a French run family winery, was the best one in terms of tasting. Victoria, our somelier, was very knowledgeable about the different composites of their Cuvees, the degree of sourness and full body and the time the wines spent in Oak Barrels. We learned that wines in Argentina have to stay at least 12months in oak barrels to earn the designation “Reserve” and at least 15months for being a “Grand/Golden Reserve”. We liked the 2016 Cuvee Brigitte (Malbec/Cabernet/Syrah) and the 2016 Malbec Reserve most and used the last space in bike basket to carry them. With dry tongues we returned our bicycles after 30km with a backpack full of great wines. Salud!
The day got concluded with great news: Juan Carlos our host had recommended to us a computer technician named Claudio. We did not have much hope that he could fix the broken Windows Surface charger which has been dead for nearly three weeks now. He told us to give it a try but could not promise anything. Our plan B was to order an used one via mercardo libre to an address in Buenos Aires for price three times as much as in the US.
Luckily, Claudio was capable of fixing it in a very practical manner and guess what – even if it does not look like – it is fully functional again and the reason why we are able to publish articles again 🙂
The next day we visited Termas de Pecheuta (240ARS/adult,. 200 child from 3y), a thermal bath and water park 30km outside of Mendoza. The pools carried different temperatures between 25 and 50C and were partly covered by a roof. Fun stuff for the kids (and adults 😉 ) were the slides and the wild river. They even have a small craft brewery with basic food there! Overall, we had a great time and can recommend the park for a relaxed day out.
The last day we dedicated to Mendoza itself. We took a walk in the beautiful Parque General de San Martin, a big park in the middle of Mendoza, equipped with running lanes for joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists and a lake in its center. We also took a shot walk through the busy pedestrian precinct which honestly was nothing special. Finally, we also got our other item checked off the list as we found a local Mitsubishi mechanic who fixed the driver’s side window (though at a quite pricey rate of 2500 ARS). Oscar was fully recovered 🙂