Leaving Mendoza

29 Dec

As the sun is setting and the mountains are fading fast, I decided to whip out my laptop and write about our last couple of days in Mendoza.

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It was a great trip, and a fun little touristy town. But I can’t help feeling like we missed something there. I mean, we liked it and all, but it wasn’t the sun drenched rows of vineyards I pictured it to be. And at the end of the day, I think we’re both glad to be going “home.”

We woke up really early today to rent some bikes and ride around wine tasting. I think it was quarter to nine – which is really impressive!

We picked up our bikes and caught a ride from the tour operator just outside of the city limits, which is actually where most of the vineyards are.

The bikes were a bit scrappy and made lots of noises, but we were willing to look past it riding through the vineyards en route to the next drink.

The first winery, or Bodega, was really cool. I buried the poor tour guide with questions and it felt like a crash course in wine. She showed us the fermentation containers and the hundreds of barrels of oak. We finished the tour with a tasting and she showed us how to swish around the wine and taste it. I was impressed to find out I actually smelled something other than alcohol and put a name to some of the smells, like olives, s, and strawberry jam. It was pretty good stuff, but what really caught all of our eyes was the Moscato, which is a really sweet and smooth grape juice that’s perfect for dessert – except it’s alcohol free.

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The second Bodega was family owned and noticeably smaller. We spent much less time in the cellar, instead learning about the vineyard outside with the grapes. The tasting was really sweet here and we were tempted to buy a bottle of red (a mix between malbec and cabarnet sauvignon) if it wasn’t for the 18km bike ride home.

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We connected with another American, a guy from Atlanta, and we rode with him from winery to winery. Pretty cool dude and also owns an internet business.

Unfortunately, his bike broke down en route to the last bodega and we were somewhere between pissed and obliged to stay with him – even though he was just a single serving friend (Danny and I’s term for the countless travelers we meet that we get along on great with – but never see again). Anyway, we decided to stay with him and we coasted downhill to the nearest hotel where we called the tour operator and told him to pick us up.

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Funny thing is, the agency demanded that me and Danny pay for the ride back because our bikes weren’t actually broken…

Always weary of a scam and really tired of people ripping off gringos, we answered with an uproar and found ourselves in a bit of a screaming match with the agency owner, who seems to have ripped us off a few times now, including the price for paragliding. Anyway, the long of the short of it is we were happy to get on the bus back to BA.

Notes of advice, stick to the bike tours in Maipu, where you can see the more famous wineries.  Our tour unknowingly took us to a different suburb and might have contributed to our feeling that Mendoza was nice, but not the romantic postcard we thought it would be.

P.S.

Having internet on a long bus trip through no where rocks!

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