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Mendoza – Wine Heaven

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Mendoza is known for it’s wine – we know it for “Mr Hugo”. As a town, it was also destroyed by an earthquake, so benefits from a renewed street pattern, giving the same comfortable and green character of San Juan. The squares are really nice and there is an unusual arrangement of 4 small squares around the main Plaza d’Independencia.

 

this was the posh place - a vine covered courtyard

Given that we were here for the wine, it was only fair to visit the famous ice-cream parlour – and true to form, it was really really good. The wine museum in town, was a more snobbish affair with lots of “terroir, bouquet, aroma, nose, chocolate, tannin, depth” type words being espoused by people with red nose and an arrogant attitude. We just got on with the business of drinking the wines, which to our taste were strong and acid (a sign of posh wine apparently). With the essential visit over with, we booked some bikes for the next day and headed home for some much needed rest.

Next day saw us take the no. 171 out of town, to alight opposite “Mr Hugo”, the bike rental man. With lots of handshaking and back slapping, Mr Hugo advises us that actually he has no child bikes (even though the previous day he promised he did), so Kai manages on an adult bike, whilst Jo has the child seat and I go on a tandem with Elena. Hastily prepared stirrups from an odd bit of string, a map in the hand and a wave of the hand northwards and we were off on a tour of the vinyards

tandem wine tasting - SAFE

cycling the wine trail is not that romantic

The route is 12km and covers 10 vineyards – we only managed 4 or 5 – I think. Sometimes one glass, sometimes 2, usually 4 and before you knew it the bikes rode themselves! The area was surprisingly un-romantic, it is definitely not France, but at least you sense that they are a real commercial operation.

civilised lunch in the vineyard

As it is a well know wine/bike area, we also had the chance to meet lots of nice people, like the Dutch couple for example who we later met up with for dinner, and the Americans who unfortunately left their two young children back at the hotel – which was a pity as they were embarking with a 4 year old and a 6 year old on a 5 year (FIVE YEAR!) adventure around the world on a 40 foot catamaran. I did ask if he was nervous crossing the Pacific in a 40 foot cat, but apparently he was not too concerned as he had not yet really learnt to sail?!? We swapped blogs and I will definitely be following that one.

As we returned the bikes, Mr Hugo got out his home made wine and before we knew it we had been on the wine trail for 9 hours, which we took as a signal to get back to the hostel, change and go out for more steak and red wine. At the time, this was great fun, but at 10.00 am next morning as I board to 9 hour bus from Mendoza to Santiago over the Andes – it seems a slightly worse idea. I suffered!

Mendoza squares with their lovely fountains

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