From El Chalten we took a 12 hour bus to Los Antiguos (a small lake-side town famous for it’s delicious cherries) where we spent one night. From there we bused another 12 hours to Bariloche – an extremely over-priced ‘resort’ town (we paid 90$ CAD per night for a tiny private room and shared bathroom). *No post on Bariloche* After three nights, we hopped on a ‘super-cama’ bus (executive class) to Mendoza. 19 hours later, we arrived in Argentina’s famous wine region.
For our adventure to Mendoza, Argentina’s notorious wine country, we opted to stay outside of the city right near the vineyards close to the town of Maipu. Our ‘hostel’, Antigua Residencia, was more like a boutique hotel – an old winery converted into a hotel. Our room was inside a champagne tank (very cozy). There was no shared kitchen but the family ran a restaurant that served us the best food (and cheapest) we’ve had yet on our travels. Most of the ingredients came from their garden (they have over 1000 square km) and they always offered specials based on what was fresh. They also served their own wines – the Torrontes was our favourite white we’ve ever had. Our stay was a relaxing and refreshing break from the crowded hostels and cities we have been to. We relaxed drinking a bottle of Torrontes lounging in the sun surrounded by gardens and a pool to jump in when we got too hot.
We rented a tandem bike for the next two days and rode around touring some of the recommended wineries, olive oil factories as well as a beer garden and a sweet-liquor shop… Floria was a winery that specialized in sweetened wines, not usually my favourite; however, their process for sweetening involved no added sugar and were delicious. They had a couple bottles of sparking wine which had the bubbles artificially added. We also bought a bottle of a port-like red wine which the lady explained to us was excellent for marinating beef in. At Trapiche, they served us a wonderful Malbec as well as a house blend (unlabeled bottle) that was 70% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon – our favourite red from all the tours.
While Argentina is famously known for its Malbec wines we learned that Argentina has many other grapes. It was explained to us that the Malbec grape is originally from France and translates in French to ‘bad taste’; however, the Argentine’s were able to perfect the taste of the grape with their ideal growing conditions and climate.
Wines of Argentina
White: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Torrontes, & Viognier
Red: Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Malbec, Merlot, Bonarda, & Cabernet Sauvignon
Unfortunately, most of the wines we tried and loved are currently not getting exported. The exception is the Malbec from Trapiche we tried is available in BC (under a different label). “Malbec – Trapiche Broquel Mendoza”
Wineries we visited:
- Santa Augusta (olive oil)
- Bodega La Rural
- Bodega Botique Domiciano
- Patio Cervecero (beer garden)
- Bodega Boutique Carinae
- Bodega Florio (sweet wines)
- Mevi Bodega Boutique (lunch)
- Bodega Trapiche