The amazing wine experience in Mendoza, Argentina
Right. I’m in the Malbec capital of the world! Coming to Mendoza has always been a dream. A few months ago, I wanted to learn more about wines in Argentina by taking an extensive course. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time here (my visa is expiring soon) so I decided to take a customized wine tour instead.
Since I do not have prior knowledge about the wine houses in Mendoza, Uncorking Argentina helped me organize. The staff was really helpful and I was also given a personalized gift bag with the itinerary, a map and a wine opener which will serve me better for my trip!
I visited three different wineries that offer different kinds of activities: biking, extensive tasting, and food fusion.
1. Vineyard biking in Trivento
I warned the tour guide that I am not physically fit to do this. How far will we go biking? How many hours? What’s the road situation? I asked these questions as soon as I arrived and I think I irritated the guide. Nonetheless, he answered everything with patience and I was relieved to know that it’s not that hard to bike the vineyards.
In English, Trivento means three winds which signifies the winds blowing across the lands of Mendoza. These are called Polar, Zonda and Sudestada. This winery is one of the biggest in the city and belongs among the pre-eminent exporters of Argentine wine.
I was brought to different big freezers (I want to call it that way) and was really awed on the process of making wine. It’s a lot of work! Although I have so much interest in producing wine, I don’t think I will be able to maintain something like this. The change of climate greatly affects wine quality so Trivento is doing a lot of hard work to preserve their products.
Above is my tour guide, Gustavo, who explained everything very well. My tour was conducted privately and in Spanish, however, you can request yours to be in English. He speaks both languages very well! As for me, I just wanted to practice my Spanish listening skills so I bravely suggested it. Luckily, I understood everything. If I didn’t, he’ll go back and transform the sentence into an easier translation. Thanks a lot, Gustavo!
2. Wine tasting at Carinae
“Bonjour!” My French was tested as soon as I arrived Carinae, when owners Brigitte and Philippe welcomed me. They have been living here for 16 years now and when they started their winery, they didn’t have any idea how to do it. I was really impressed with the results of their labor! Carinae was inspired by the beautiful constellation of the Southern sky called Carina. The vineyards were also named after different stars/signs such as Libra, Aquarius, Sagittarius and the like.
The tour was short because the winery is not that big as they specialise on quality, not with quantity. I’ve seen photos on how they were able to transform this place to what it is now and I am truly surprised on how they did it! This couple is amazing!
The tour might be short but let me tell you that I tasted 10 different kinds of wine here. Philippe was so generous almost gave me everything on the list! For the young wines, I had Malbec Rosado, Cuvee Brigitte (named after his wife) and Octans Assamblage; Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon for Harmonie; and for the most premium of them all, the Hommage — Malbec, Syrah, and Prestige Assamblage. I also tried the Passito de los Andes, a sweet wine which is very distinct from the others because of its fruity flavor.
Tip: Do not miss Carinae’s olive oil! It’s the best I’ve tasted in years of traveling!
I felt very drunk after this bodega but the experience of learning so much about Argentine wines was fantastic! Despite telling me that he’s not very good at English, Philippe explained everything very well and I am very glad to have received first-hand information from the owner himself.
3. Lunch at Ave Maria Purisima
I didn’t realise I started the tour at 9:00 am and I was famished by the time we got to the last stop: Bodega Ave Maria Purisima. I am going to be really honest — I couldn’t wait to grab the food while listening to the beautiful tour guide (Dibe) who told me that this is one of the oldest wineries in Mendoza (100+ years old).
How they were able to maintain the property is a mystery. I was able to see how they still do things manually but they were able to develop new machines to help in speeding the process. Since they did not totally change the building, they had to adapt to its capacity in terms of technology. Hence, creating new machineries is still a challenge. Still, they were able to maintain the quality of the wines they produce. I think things are better when done manually!
This tour is different because I was able to learn which wine tastes good with different types of food. I had 4 types of wine here:
- Torrontes – originally from Salta, the northern part of Argentina. This wine goes well with spicy food.
- Tempranillo from La Consulta, Mendoza which is good for starters/ appetizers.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is my favourite so I’ll have to say it blends well with everything.
- Consulta Select – a fusion of everything: 42% Malbec, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Syrah and 9% Tempranillo. It’s kind of strong and dances well with red meat.
And oh… the food was fantastic. I have no words!
Ave Maria Purisima is located in the Department of Maipu and is one of the sub-branches of Bodega Alto Cedro, owned and managed by Karim Mussi.
Okay, did I just drink 18 different wines in a span of 5 hours? No way!
Tips on selecting your wine tour in Mendoza
Mendoza has diversified on how they offer wine tours to tourist. Remember, this is an adventurous tour and not the typical sit-down-gulp-a-wine-type of activity. These questions may help you choose what’s best for you:
- What type of wine activity are you looking for? Are you an outdoor type of person?
- Do you prefer bubbles, red or white?
- What style of wine do you most enjoy?
- How about your travelling style?
As for me, I wanted to experience everything so I had three different tours with different activities. Should you be interested in a customized tour (and something worth it), book it with Uncorking Argentina! The staff is very attentive and professional and everyone can communicate in English very well. There is also no limit to what you want to do as you can select the wineries/tours you prefer! Their services are superb!
Have you been to Argentina? Did you take a wine tour in Mendoza?
Which company did you sign up with? How much did you pay for? I would like to know about your Mendoza wine tour! Leave your recommendations and thoughts in the comment box below to help other travellers plan their wine tour accordingly!