November 4-5, 2015
We arrived in Mendoza and spend a little while trying to find a place to stay. Prices here are much higher (~3x higher than in Salta). We had to walk almost 4 miles from the bus station to get to our hostel. We took a short rest and then walked around the city. Mendoza is pretty lousy...not much happening here. This place is known for wine but nothing else!
After a nice meal we got back to our room by 11 and enjoyed a nice queen-sized bed. The second day we took a tram to Maipu and then a bus to another location so that we could rent a bike. We ended up getting a tandem.
There is a stretch of road known as Calle de Vino that stretches 12km and has over a dozen wineries. We ended up going to three wineries--A large one, a new winery, and a family-owned old winery.
The larger winery was Dominicana Winery and we had a tasting of Malbec, Sparkling Wine, and a Reserve Shiraz. Even though it was among the largest wineries we went to it was still considered a boutique because it produces only 300k liters/yr. This winery harvests at night because the grapes have more sugar in them than during the day.
We tried to go to a very well-known, and liked, winery but it was closed for a private event.
Afterwards we went to a new winery that had modern equipment. No cement holding tanks--all stainless steel. Sylvie and I got a tasting menu. She had the Malbec Rose, Cab Sauv. while I had the Malbec and Tempranillo. We also each had the Pleno Reserve. The Tempranillo was my favorite wine here. Sylvie couldn't tell the difference at this point.
Sylvie and I broke up our wine tastings by riding along Calle de Vino for 15-20 minutes before stopping at another location.
The last winery we stopped at was a small family-owned winery where we were taken around by one of the daughters of the family. During the tour of this winery, named Vina el Cerno, we were taken into the basement which is now used to store the barrels for aging the wine. This space was previously used as cement holding tanks for the wine. It was a very awesome, and cold/dark, experience.
After the 3 winery visits we stopped at another place where we sampled mustards, jellies, chocolates, and liquors. We were given a free bottle of Malbec...something neither of us want at the moment!
It's 7:40 now and we've had a long day of drinking and riding. We both fell asleep on the bus-ride back to Mendoza. We have to catch a 10:00 overnight bus to Valparaiso, Chile--we arrive at 6:00 am tomorrow morning. After a midnight stop to cross the border I'm sure we won't sleep to well. Oh yeah...it's an economy bus, which means our seats won't recline...again!