Wine tours and tasting in Mendoza


At Weinert Bodega with their biggest cask (44000 L of wine!)

At Weinert Bodega with their biggest cask (44000 L of wine!)

Today Monica and I set out to explore some of the famous wineries (bodegas) in Mendoza.  This is what the area is famous for.  We had been directed to a tour company - City Bike - by the tourism office here in the center of town.  They seemed nice and helpful.  Today we got our bikes, which were horrible old mountain bikes but seemed roadworthy enough.  We got a map, had 3 scheduled wineries on it, and set out.  We made it to the first one ok - Escorihuela Gascon - the first winery in Mendoza, founded in 1884.  This one essentially existed before the city of Mendoza had even really grown up, though there was an infamous earthquake long before this winery existed which is said to have “leveled the city”, so obviously a city must have existed to be leveled.  Anyhoo, so the legend has it, the Escorihuela winery was an integral part to the growth of wine making in this area.  I’m sure there are similar counterparts in Napa Valley of California, for example.  After a nice experince at Escorihuela, we left and rode.  And rode.  And rode.  It was hot, with the damn hot mountain winds coming down, and dirty too.  Just as we started to get too tired and unhappy about the whole experience to be able to make it to the 2nd winery, my rear tire went flat, making our decision for us.  The tour company guy came and rescued us and drove us to the winery.  This one - Weinert - was founded about 1940.  It had an absolutely gorgeous and cavernous cellar, filled with giant oak casks, not the itty-bitty oak barrels one often sees in winemaking.  The picture is the most famous of these, and holds 44000 liters of wine.  You couldn’t drink all that in your entire life even if you tried!  They explained how grapes are first selected, then mashed, then fermented to creat the alcohol, then a second fermentation, then a filtration step, and then an aging step in oak (from France or the US, apparently).  Finally it is ready to be bottled and sold to be enjoyed.  The first winery guy, Pablo, told us that Mendoza is the 7th greatest wine making capital in the world, according to the industry or whatever.

So it was cool, but we really noted that wine tasting is done a bit differently here than in the states.  You have to especially ask for “flights” of wine tasting here.  We may do this tomorrow.

This whole experience certainly goes to show that when so many things are out of your control as a traveler, you can’t always expect it all to work out perfectly.  Part of the lessons of the journey, I suppose.

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