We’d been told that the bicycle tours of the wineries were really accessible from Maipu just outside of Mendoza, so with our new pals, we jumped on an early bus and hopped off at Mr Hugo’s bike hire.
We were already nursing a slight hangover from the night before, but as our friend Paul likes to say, you’re only ever 2 drinks away from feeling fantastic again, and as Mr Hugo dished up huge glasses of red wine at 10am we started to feel like this beautiful sunny day in Argentina was ours for the drinking! Sarah and Brenda opted for a tandem bike and Wayne and I opted for the more sedate singles and we were off to a slightly shaky start.
Our first port of call was the wine museum, closely followed by the preserve, chocolate and liqueur cooperative – which gained a yes for the chocolate dulce du leche (who knew adding sweet to sweet could make such an improvement), a yes for all the liquors, a yes for the mustard with Chardonnay, and a firm no to the jams.
We then wobbled off to the furthest winery for a short tour, tasting and then lunch. The Familia Di Tomaso is a small winery who like to put aside one bottle from each year in a dusty pile and have a few remaining bottles of the 2004 Malbec – a particularly good year – which has no label but is hand signed by the owner. At 3 times the price of the other Malbecs we were put off, but a quick calculation showed that at 140 pesos it was still only around the £25 mark – we’ve paid more for cheap plonk in the UK so a bottle was consumed with lunch – lush!
Some bike swapping and more wobbling to the next winery, the Vina El Cerno, were we met two lovely Swiss ladies a little worse for wear who wanted to try out the tandem. We were slightly worried when one of them fell down not one but 2 drains walking over to the bike but once on board she kept it together for the photo. Across the road to the gorgeous Tempus Alba – probably our favourite just for the view – an amazing 1st floor veranda with views over the vines and then a quick stop in the Beer Garden for a homebrew.
We had only managed to visit 5 out of the 12 stops on the route but had tasted some lovely wines and had only been trailed by the police once (thankfully his phone rang so he stopped to take the call before he stopped us!). We trundled back to Mr Hugo’s only to make the foolish mistake of accepting his offer of a glass of wine – 2 hours later and much the worse for wear we staggered onto the bus back into town.
Such a good day!