While some people use Mendoza as a base for trekking, the primary call of this city is definitely the abundance of superb Argentinian wines. Famous for their Malbec, it is far from the only wine produced here. Mendoza wine tours are the best way to discover not only the stunning area that’s nestled up to the eastern edge of the Andes, but the many vineyards, wineries and of course, wines.
There are a few options when choosing Mendoza wine tours. Renting a car and planning your own is always one. Self guided bike tours of the near by vineyards are the cheapest and most popular among budget travelers. While catching a buzz cruising the countryside on two wheels would be a great day other than the brutally hot sun, there is a much better method. More expensive no doubt, but as always, you get what you pay for. Not extremely well versed in the language of wine, I wish to learn much more about it. Not necessarily the cheapest of hobbies, but the best way to learn is from the pros and drink of course.
Mendoza Wine Tours – Trout and Wine Tours
I did a touch of research which I’m usually bad at unless food and drink are concerned. Trout and Wine Tours was easily the best option suited for me. $155-175 US was a reasonable price for the day and all that was offered. What sealed the deal was the 6 course meal with pairings at a winery that looked out over their vineyards and the Andes in the distance. With the mention of a meal such as this, I was sold, but I’ll come back to this later.
It was an early start to the day, and wine came sooner than I would drink on most days. Luckily, this came with a warning so I was sure to get a little breakfast I was picked up. About an hour ride south of the city, we came to our first boutique winery.
Owned by two Italian brothers, this boutique winery has over 100 years of tradition within the family. Producing only 60, 000 liters of wine a year, totaling 80, 000 bottles. It may sound like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things they produce on a tiny scale. The grapes are not only hand picked, but hand selected. The finest 25% of their harvest is kept for their limited wines and the rest is sold to companies that produce bulk. Quality over quantity, a value few businesses live by these days.
Tasting time at 10 am. If only all days were meant to be like this. We sat down at a long table with four samples in front of us. Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Gran Corte and their flagship wine, Cabernet Franc. Their flagship took me by surprise with notes unbelievably familiar, but new to me in wine. I kept thinking of deluxe pizza, but couldn’t understand why. Like many, I have trouble pin pointing the subtleties in wine, but I wasn’t far off. Green pepper was the dominate smell and flavour.
I had a hard time believing not everyone finished their wine, but I was making the most of this day. A few crackers to hopefully aid my inebriation as I casually polished off my samples.
Founded in 1997, the winery began selling internationally in 2004. The company was built around the friendship of two daughters whose families became friends themselves. This also inspired the name as a combination of the daughters names.
A short tour of the winery and yet again, it was time to taste. Another selection of 4 different varietals, it was all about the Torrentes here. The grape for this wine is the only grape that is originally from Argentina. I had to buy a bottle before leaving with its uniqueness to the country.
While the day had been nothing short of fantastic thus far, this last stop is ultimately what I was waiting for. We didn’t receive a tour of the winery itself, but were led directly to a rustically decorated table overlooking their vineyards with the snow capped Andes behind. Shortly after taking our seats, a platter of bread was placed in front of me. Three different types of homemade bread with such fragrant, robust olive oil to dip. A great start to lunch with a belly of wine.
Course #1 – Melon Gazpacho/Crispy Bacon/Fried Basil
2 – Trout Gravlax/Avocado Puree/Trout Skin Crackling
3 – Smoked Eggplant and Goat Cheese Roulade/Sweet Tomato Jam
4 – Grilled Beef Tenderloin/Pea Puree/Crisp Bacon
5 – Tomato/Strawberry/Celery
6 – Carob Bean/White Chocolate/Ginger/Orange
To say the least, this was an unbelievable meal with wine pairings I honestly didn’t get the names of. I was clearly too focused on the food as I generally am in life. The menu changing consistently, this is a taste of what a lunch could be.
Return to Mendoza
Tipsy, with a full stomach, I suppose the flowing wine and meal had to come to an end sometime. Loading back into the van we returned to the city and got dropped off at our respective accommodations. While I’m sure I would have had a fun day riding bikes around visiting random wineries, this is what a wine tour in Mendoza should be like. A taste of the region that quenches your thirst, fills your belly and a view that stays with you for years to come.
The itinerary will change from day to day, but the wineries, wine and food I’m sure will no doubt be just as exquisite. If you’re planning on a proper wine tour in Mendoza, I highly recommend Trout and Wine Tours. It will be a phenomenal and memorable day leaving you with the true expression of the region you are in.
To book your tour among many others check out their website – Trout and Wine Tours.