Ahhh…. Mendoza. You do a good job of playing hard to get. But we managed to be together at last, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Sure our hopes could have been dashed with a 10 hour bus ride that was supposed to take 6. That extra helping of patience you tested of ours in the form of a 4 hour wait in the Chilean/Argentine detention area was quite the zinger, too. Or the 7:45am bus ride we were originally supposed to take that we ultimately missed due to Santiago’s phobia of identifying bus stops correctly could have made us think otherwise as well. However, we found you O master of the Malbec, and we're glad we did.
Mendoza is a fantastic place. Small enough to make you feel like you can master the city grid in no time, but just big enough to make you feel like there’s still a ton more to explore. When we first arrived, we found ourselves at an Irish Pub and in 80 degree weather with another 80% humidity, at night mind you. That kicked off an amazing 3-day stint, which included lots of wine tasting sprinkled in with some olive oil factory tastings as well.
We saw about a handful of what we learned is over 1200 wineries in Mendoza. In fact, the Mendoza region is responsible for producing nearly 70% of the country's Malbec wines. From the boutique and hand-crafted family run wineries to the big mass producing wines of Lopez, it was all awesome.
What was so unique about this winery tour experience is that from the very beginning we got to pick grapes straight from the vines. Whether it was Domiciano de Barrancas and their strategy behind picking grapes at night due to the higher sugar content resting in the grapes or the huge winery that is Lopez and actually seeing their white grapes churning followed by the bottling line infusing the yielded grapes into mass production, overall it was a great experience. And the lunch stop we had on our second to last day was one of a kind. It’s hard to put the experience into words but here it goes…
Do you know what it feels like to be treated like Royalty? We don't either, but if we could imagine what it would be like, it would be the meal we experienced at Cava de Cano Winery’s Restaurant. Picture walking down multiple flights of stairs into a secluded, yet almost cavernous cellar with authentic local music to match the unreal tapas spread of meats, cheeses, wild rices, tapenades, mulled apples, roasted garlic, toasted pumpkin, crisp potatoes, I mean the list goes on, like over 30 plates to choose from. We can't forget the fact it's only the two of us with a jug of red wine. It’s crazy seeing surreal become real.
Had we not already booked a flight to Buenos Aires the week before, we may still be there!