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Published: April 24th 2012
Mendoza was a place that we had all looked forward to since arriving in Argentina. Everyone we spoke to seemed to love the place, and it of course had the lure of fantastic wine at a decent price….what’s not to love!
On arrival, we decided to have our standard walk around the place to get a feel for it and ended up cruising the pretty streets of Mendoza as well as visiting their huge main plaza. It was on said walk that we realised just how big the wine culture is here, when we saw a huge McDonalds billboard advertising a burger meal alongside a nice looking half bottle of Malbec! After the walk we treated ourselves to a cheeky beer before dinner which naturally turned into a few more. This went on until the point where our hunger won over and we needed to eat. Fortunately for us, we didn’t have to walk too far for our food as our hostel was just opposite to where we were sitting and had a fantastic restaurant out front. By now, the streets were bursting with locals and tourists alike, and from the balcony of the restaurant we could feel the buzz
and energy of the place while we tucked into our steaks and bottle of vino. By the time we left the restaurant, we were fairly worse for wear as one bottle quickly turned into three and after having a great first night in Mendoza, our beds were calling.
Waking up with a hangover the day you want to go wine tasting is never an ideal scenario. Unfortunately for Matt, this was exactly what happened! The tour we took was on push bikes, and the idea was that you rent your bike for the day and go around the various vineyards and wineries on this bike armed only with a map and a desire to drink wine. Exercise with drinking…perfect…but not when you’re hung-over!
So, after getting the bikes, we decided which wineries we wanted to see and we were off. The first one we went to was a free one and included a tour of the museum as well as a free glass of red. Half way through the tour however, Matt was eagerly looking around the place whilst looking dangerously white (even more so than usual I might add…..sorry Matt!) and had to bolt for the nearest
toilet to revisit last night’s wine intake. After this, he looked a lot better and we made our way to the wine tasting area. Here, Donna and I enjoyed a nice glass of Malbec whilst Matt looked on. Feeling bad that we were enjoying this wine whilst Matt was a little under the weather, we told him that he should try one himself as usually it sorts you out - ‘hair of the dog’ and all that. This little plan backfired somewhat however, and after one sip of the vino, Matt was again running for the sanctuary that was the museums toilets!
We decided after this one that a good ride to the furthest winery on the map would sort Matt out a treat, and therefore we started off on our 12km ride towards our chosen vineyard. It seemed however that riding a bike in the baking sun and being a tad unfit wasn’t the best cure for a hangover, and in no time I heard the distinct sound of spew hitting the ground from behind me. It was then we decided to go with the closest winery to us at the time so that Matt could relax a
little, get out the sun and try and recuperate. The closest place to where we was at the time was a place called Trapiche, and turns out, this was the biggest exporter of Argentinian wine in the country… a tasting here was looking like it was going to hit the spot. Thankfully, the staff were unbelievably hospitable, and they let Matt sleep in the nicely air-con’d DVD room whilst Donna and I sampled some of Argentina’s finest vinos. The place was fantastic to walk around, and the wines were all incredible. By the end of the tour, Donna and I were all smiles, and after having had an hours nap and a few glasses of water, Matt was in full recovery mode and ready to take to the bottle again. So, after a beer and a pizza in the fantastically remote and tranquil ‘Pub Garden’, we cycled with all the pace we could muster in order to get to one last winery in order for Matt to get his first true taster of the day. This place was a great little family run business where 4 generations of the same family had been producing wine for over 100 years. Here
we all managed to try the wine together, and none of us were disappointed.
So, a great day was had by all. That evening with Matt feeling better, we all managed to have a great meal out and even a couple of alcoholic drinks. Matt being hung-over on a day that we were due to go wine tasting seemed like it would be one of the worst things that could happen to us on this trip together. Little did we know what was in store for us just around the corner…….
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