July 11-14, we were in Mendoza – the main wine capital of Argentina. And let me tell ya, do they know how to do it right there. Almost any wine you get you can’t go wrong with. It’s so abundant there that they almost give it away for free. In fact, out hostel did! Every night they had free wine for the guests staying there; granted, it wasn’t the finest of the fine, but hey I’m not complaining… Free wine! But even the stuff you did had to pay for was dirt cheap. We bought several bottles of very good wine and each was under $10 USD! I’m not kidding – like really good wine for $4-$8! Mendoza is most famous for their Malbec (type of red wine – vino tinto) wines and I have to agree when they say that you’ll always be satisfied if you choose a Malbec.
Outside of Mendoza is the Maipú region, which is really where the vineyards (viñas) are located. The dirt roads out there are just lined with vineyard after vineyard and it’s gorgeous. Despite the fact that it’s winter and the vines are all brown and fruitless, it was still a gorgeous day. The towering Andes to the west and beautiful tree-shaded roads to explore. Marelle, Lindsey, and I rented bikes from a lovely man named Mr. Hugo and took in the beautiful weather, biking about 20 km (more or less) to different vineyards, a brewery, and an olive oil tasting. We had plenty of delicious wines, beers, and tasty snacks along the way. At the olive oil place, they also had marmalade and different liquors to try as well. There they had this very unique honey-like spread that was made from Chardonnay wine and it was amazing! So very very tasty. But that wasn’t even the most unique thing we tried there. We also tasted a number of specialty liquors such as dulce de leche con banana, ananá (pineapple), durazno (peach), liquor de pimientos (pepper liquor – super spicy, talk about a burning sensation), and last but definitely not least Absinthe. Now I don’t know much about Absinthe, but I do know it is illegal in the United States if that gives you any idea. Let’s just say it wasn’t the most pleasant thing I drank that day, but it was an experience.
In total, we probably spent about 6 hours that day in Maipú, and needless to say, we were pretty pooped that evening. But it was so worth it. If you’ve ever traveled for an extended period of time, you know how difficult it can be to get good, meaningful exercise. Loved it. Can’t imagine a better way to see the Argentine wine country than on bike.
Oh, and we were also in Mendoza during the World Cup finals. Here’s a snapshot of what that was like: