Another day, another wine tour. Today we were off on an organized tour of the Lujan de Cuyo wine region of Mendoza. This tour included van transport to the valley and then it was on the bikes again around the wineries in the beautiful autumn scenery.
First stop of the day was La Tapiz bodega – a medium sized winery. At first we though the tour was going to be to same old, same old but the guide was so energetic and knowledgeable about the winery, it was infectious, even so early in the morning. The tour was interesting as not only did we get to do the usual tastings, but we also got to taste some wine from the vats and barrels that were in different stages of production. It’s quite amazing how different the end product tastes and it was also interesting to hear about the processes used to filter the wines at the end of production. Stones and pebbles are still used for their filtering capabilities but egg whites are also commonly used. I don’t understand the how or the why but interesting all the same.
Our next stop was Norton bodega, and it was time to jump on our bikes to get there. Mendoza in May was a stunning time to visit, with the vines and trees all changing colour. The bike ride through the tree-lined streets was stunning.
We had been looking forward to the Norton’s visit as their Malbec was one of the first wines we’d tried when arriving in Buenos Aires all those months ago, and it’s one of the biggest and well-known names in Mendoza. But before we had anymore wine, first it was time for some food. We were taken down to their cellars for a lunch of meat, cheese and of course wine.
After lunch we headed off on our tour, spirits high after the wine we’d had with lunch. The tour itself was excellent and lived up to our expectations. We started with a tasting of their sparkling wine amongst the vineyards, before moving inside where we tried a number of other wines in their vat rooms and cellar. Again we were able to try wine from the barrels that were only part way through the ageing process, but this time we also had the finished product to taste along side it so we could see the difference in the taste. We tired a Malbec that had been in barrels for only a few months vs the finished product that had been in oak for the full 12 months. Really interesting.
The final bodega for the day was Cabrini, the smallest winery we visited during our time in Mendoza. Thankfully the bikes had been returned to the van and we were driven to the winery. The tasting itself was carried out in a lovely dining room, with walls adorned with old photos of the original owners who started the winery in 1918. This was a great little place to end the day. Their wines were sweeter than the others we had tasted today, but it was nice to try something a bit different. Our favourite was the wine they make for use in churches as part of mass. Interestingly it also had the highest alcohol content at 14%!
The people on our tour were all different ages, from all different walks of life, but we got on really well and so when we got back to the hotel we pooled the wine we’d bought that day, and the rest as they say is history. It was a fun way to end the day. The next morning wasn’t so fun!