Sunday, January 18, 2009

mendoza - argentina's wine region

I took a Friday off so we could get a bus to mendoza - argentina's premiere wine region. The bus trip takes about 12 hours, but was much better than i expected. we went on the first class bus - all the seats recline to be completely flat, and are quite roomy and comfortable. we ended up sleeping for 8 hours on the bus, and arrived in surprisingly good shape.

The day we arrived, we checked straight into the very nice hotel argentino - had a shower and caught a taxi to the next town - maipu -where the wineries are very concentrated. first up was "lopez" - which is a big high volume winery, that produces table wine that is on every winelist we've seen in BA. we figured this would be a good reliable first stop - it was. they also produce some premium wines that were quite good, and we then got a recommendation from one of the staff for a boutique vineyard - "el cerno".

El cerno was awesome - we bought 6 bottles here, for tasting notes see liza's wine blog. we had a great time here - a tasting involves drinking 3 full glasses of wine (same deal at lopez) - so we were quite merry after that. (no doubt liza will post a photo she took of me looking quite intoxicated - i will get her back). el cerno also did fantastic steak sandwiches which was very fortunate.

Day 2 - we wanted to get into the mountains, but the tours were astromically expensive, taking advantage of tourists. some of the wineries grow malbec at high altitude, i wanted a photo of the vineyards with the snow capped Andes in the background, but with the price of the tours it wasn't to be. try to see what i mean - we just drank a bottle of their wine at dinner instead.

So instead of going on the tour, 100km each way to Andeluna and surrounding wineries, we decided to grab a picnic of baguette, proscuitto, cheese, green olives, chocolate, strawberries, and a bottle of wine from el cerno. we caught a taxi 65km into the mountains, i managed with the aid of the dictionary to tell the taxi driver to take us somewhere for a good view (buena vista) of the mountains (montana) for a picnic (comida). you can see from the pictures we succeeded. the taxi still came to $100 return - but this was a small fraction of the cost of the tours, we escaped the tour groups, and had a fantastic time! we also managed to give a local taxi driver some cash, rather than some tour company so we were all happy.

Day 3 was a quiet day, wine tasting in bottle shop in mendoza, a nice steak sandwich, and then caught the bus back to BA. arrived OK but a bit late. bus trip obviously wasn't too bad, as we went straight to the ticket counter to buy tickets to Iguazu Falls for next weekend. We're going to go one way by bus, and then fly back though.

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