If you’ve ever read my “Why Travel” page, you may recognize the line “Travel helps you appreciate wine and the beauty of vineyards”. That is so true and going to vineyards and wine country’s around the world are one of the most fun things to do in travel. Mendoza and the surrounding region of Maipu is the center of the famous Argentinean wine trade and the home to malbec wine. It is a gorgeous setting and fun time as you rent bicycles and peddle your way from vineyard to vineyard. Of course it gets perpetually more difficult as you go further along in the day! There are some fifteen vineyards in Maipu, which is about 40 minutes by bus from the center of Mendoza, but in order to really appreciate and take the setting in, you should only choose a few good ones. I went to three and had a blast some new friends from some interesting places.
I spent my night in Mendoza right across from the bus station at a hostel called Savigliano. It was nice enough and had all the usual hostel amenities including a ton of travelers. After a great night out in Mendoza sampling some ridiculous chorizo, steak and wine the night before I was looking to do the famous bike and wine tour out in Maipu. I met three like minded travelers who were heading out to do the same thing so I tagged along with them and became fast friends with Marc from Andorra, James from Toronto and Becky from Wales. It was an interesting cast but everyone was super cool.
We chose to go with Maipu tours and got our bikes to ride about 10km to the furthest winery. After about 7 or 8km in the 90+ degree heat we decided to halt our progress and hit the first winery called Di Tommaso, which was recommended to us as the finest tasting wine of the whole group. It was pretty good wine but I didn’t love the way they ran their vineyard for tours and tastings.
We had to wait for like 30 minutes just to start a tour when we only wanted to do the tasting anyway. Then as more people gradually strolled in we had to wait even longer for them to catch up with us and the guide to go through the whole spiel in English and Spanish. This took too long and we decided to head out after tasting four pretty good wines including one excellent dessert wine.
Next up back toward town was Tempus Alba which was an awesome and modern winery that looked like it had been recently refurbished but still kept its old world kind of charm. The wines here were slightly more expensive but totally worth it. They were served out on a beautiful sun patio (above)and the three wines were excellent.
Finally we peddled across the street to Vina El Cerno where we had a great tasting experience and we decided to eat the delicious smelling parrilla. Since there were four of us, we decided to go with two “completos” or huge plates of meat which also came with more wine. Needless to say the plates didn’t last too long as wine, bikes and hot weather make you hungry! However, we hung out for a while and had a great time.
After the third winery, we had been at it for over 4 hours and I had to get back to Mendoza for my evening flight to Buenos Aires. So I said my good byes to my new friends, jumped on the next bus back to Mendoza and headed out to the airport.
After yet another delayed flight I made it to my hotel at about 11:15pm and immediately headed out to La Cabrera, which is a famous and highly recommended steak place in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. I had to wait for a while which was OK because they give you champagne while you wait and I met some really cool and funny American guys from California who I ended up eating dinner and having drinks with afterwards. It was a good time with some funny stories for sure.
My last day in Buenos Aires, a city that I have previously spent two weeks in, so I know it pretty well was spent relaxing and of course eating! I headed down to Puerto Madero, which is a modern and pretty cool dock transformation project that turned old docks and warehouses into chic restaurants and stores including Estilo Campo. I ate there at the recommendation of my hotel concierge and it was unreal. Between the chorizo steak (above), provoloneta (below) and fresh bread, I was in food heaven. Food heaven is Argentina in a nutshell. Beautiful scenery and lots to do but make no mistake, Argentina is on a short list of countries with the best food on earth.
So I am back home in New York City for a week or so before I head to the west coast for some media stuff in LA, a television interview and the Scottsdale TPC Golf tournament in Phoenix and the Superbowl in Las Vegas with my friends. It should be fun. I am sure I will be back on the road soon as a potential North Africa and/or Russia trip is on the table and I am looking into it as we speak. Thanks as always for your readerships and all the emails. Check back with me soon!