Today Carmel and I went on a full day winery tour. Carmel and I felt pretty rough after our late night, but this gradually faded during the day.
The first winery was Clos de Chacras. We were met at 8:45am in our hotel reception and along with Simon and Josephine, we shared our day with a Canadian. Before sampling the wines at Clos de Chacras we first had a tour of their old winery.
All the tours, at each of the wineries, the tours were entertaining but basically to me, as a first timer in a winery, they all were very similar. The sizes and age of the wineries determined the type of the vats, but that seemed to be about it. It was interesting to hear the history of how the wineries came to be, typically with links to Europe, and interesting to hear about how the grapes are nurtured and how malbec is the grape of Mendoza.
The second winery stop was at the Belasco de Baquedano winery.
This Belasco de Baquedano winery was particularly interesting as it had an aroma room where you were able to sniff 50 or so aromas that are associated with wines. These included both good ones and bad ones – the bad ones were not pleasant. There was a test after the sniffing session were we had to identify five aromas. I managed to name 4 successfully, but Josephine named all 5! For our success we were given certificates each.
Lunch was at the Bodega Ruca Malen. This was a pretty spectacular venue set outside in the vineyards with the mountains in the distance. The food was top quality, consisting of 5 courses with accompanying wines. It seemed such a long time ago now that we were camping on a freezing cold mountain. Our only headaches on this day were brought on by too much beer the night before.
However, the killer was a 5-course lunch with accompanying wines. It was almost impossible to stay awake for the final winery visit after that. The food was fantastic.
The final stop was at the Alta Vista winery.
A youngish Dutch couple joined our group for the winery tour. They had been cycling around the wineries – which sounded quite a nice thing to do.
My lips were cracked, cut and generally knackered from the cold and wind on Aconcagua. This means that the wine drinking really hurt, although I was brave enough to carry on. Carmel, being female, had used some sort of cream lip protection and so did not have the same experience of wincing when sampling the wines.
In the evening I went on a shopping mission to find a memory card reader and a USB stick to copy everyone’s photos from their cameras before we all separate tomorrow. This was sort of successful but there were no high capacity memory sticks (just 4GB and I would probably need 8GB).
Carmel had looked up decent places to eat in Mendoza on the internet in the hotel and the summary from all the Web searches seemed to be a place called Azrafan. We tried there and by chance met up again with Simon and Josephine. The food was excellent – I had to go for steak again. The only problem was that the restaurant was famous for excellent wines, but Carmel and I couldn’t face any more after the days drinking, so it was beer for us.