travel tuesday :: mendoza (film!)

This is my friend Jenn at Bodega Mevi. Both are awesome. This image (and all the images in this post) were taken on my Nikon FM.

When people say “Mendoza” to me, I immediately think “Bikes & Wine”. I love biking and winery-ing. Love it. It’s my favourite way to see wineries. The first time I went biking and wining was in the Marlborough region of New Zealand, the hubs and I were in our 8th month of our round the world trip and had discovered a new love. Several months later, we arrived in Mendoza where we couldn’t wait to hit the road with Mr. Hugo. And once again, biking and wine-ing didn’t disappoint.

Fast forward three years to early 2012 when the hubs and I are back in Argentina, where our friend Jenn comes for a visit. Jenn spent several days with us in Buenos Aires, then Jenn and I headed off to Mendoza on a luxury overnight bus, because seriously—I couldn’t let Jenn visit Argentina without 1) a luxury bus, and 2) biking and wine-ing in Mendoza.

But back to the business of wine-ing and biking in Mendoza. In my view, the best way to do the circuit is to bike all the way down to Carinae winery, the very furthest bodega on the circuit. Carinae is run by a french family and they bring in french students to do their winery tours. We loved our guide and our wines. Since it is at the end of the trail, it is one of the least busy wineries as well!

The best thing about going to the furthest winery first is that it is easy to come back up the circuit, one winery at a time. We stopped for the olive & tapenade tasting across the street (I wouldn’t do that next time).

After learning that the beautiful Bodega Vistandes was closed for lunch, we cycled past it and tried out Bodega Familia Di Tomaso. This was probably our least favourite winery—although it is very beautiful. It has a lovely restaurant where most people stop for a bite.

I’d personally skip lunch at Di Tomaso and go instead to Tempus Alba. At Tempus Alba we took a break from the tastings and instead enjoyed a big glass of rose & a tasty lunch on their stunning patio. Tempus Alba is the most modern of the wineries, which is quite fitting for a new world winery! It’s pretty, it’s beautiful, it’s calm. We shared a table with a group of young guys who we first met all the way back at Carinae. These three were serious about their tastings (taking notes) and were mightily impressed with my film camera. (And yes, all these images were taken on cheap Argentina Kodak 400 film on my 35ish year old Nikon FM).

After lunch (and an embarrassing incident walking into a VERY CLEAN glass door) we had time for two more wineries. First, the small Vina El Cerno and then the awesome MEVI, where Jenn and I took fun pictures of one another wine-and-biking and we chose different wines for our tastings so between us we could try as many as possible!

As the sun began to set on our day, we decided to cycle past Trapiche. Though we knew it was closed, we wanted to get a look at this winery that is a serious staple on so many Canadian liquor store shelves. As expected it was grand.

Part of the reason for choosing Mr. Hugo over the other companies is the fun times to be had at the end of the day. Upon your return Mr. Hugo plies you with his house wine (which really, is not very good), but also gives you the chance to relive your days with others from the circuit, which is pretty fun.

Upon our return to Mendoza we had an incident with a map and a ditch, showers, and then went for a spectacular dinner at Florentine Bistro, where we enjoyed a bottle of Tempus Alba wine.

The next morning it was time for Jenn to fly to Iguazu (where I had just been with my mom) and me to fly back to Buenos Aires, to enjoy some of our very last days in the city before returning to Vancouver.

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