Our flight took us up over the Andes from Chile to Argentina; more specifically from Santiago to Mendoza: from the land of Carmenere to the land of Malbec. The city of Mendoza is the capital of the Province of Mendoza. Here we would spend the remainder of our Opimian Society sponsored South American wine tour.
Our local guide met us at the airport and took us on a tour of the city before we headed to our hotel. A somewhat unique feature in Mendoza are trenches that line the streets. They are part of an irrigation system that brings water from the Andes and serve the purpose of watering the trees that line the streets. The one stop we made on the tour was atop Cerro de la Gloria (Glory Hill). At its summit is a monument to the Army of the Andes. The panels on each side of the monument depict different parts of the country’s history.
Following hotel check-in and lunch, we set off for Bodega Mauricio Lorca. Our visit started with a tasting then a tour of the winery. Like many of the wineries we visited, this winery made use of both concrete tanks and oak barrels for aging the wine.
As the sun got lower on the horizon, we enjoyed appetizers and wine on the patio before moving inside for a fantastic barbequed dinner. You can’t beat fine wine and fine food!
The next day was a triple-header: two wineries and an olive oil factory.
We started the day at Bodega Renacer. The stone tower of the winery reflecting in the pond certainly gives a great first impression!
A tour of the vineyard followed a tasting under a canopy. In the vineyard we were watched over by 3 hawks that had taken up residence in the area. From the vineyard we toured the winery. A feature not seen at other wineries, but that we would see again on our last day, was how trucks transporting grapes unloaded into chutes on the roof. The grapes are then fed by gravity to the destemming machine and press below, rather than using augers. The final stop in the tour was the barrel room with it’s huge, round boardroom table.
Our next stop was Olivícola Pasrai. In the pressing room we learned about the making of olive oil. We were then taken to the gift shop where we had a chance to see some of the different products made from olive oil as well as a tasting of variously flavoured olive oil.
Our final stop of the day was Bodegas Alta Vista. One of the things I enjoy about many wineries is the combination of historic buildings and modern wine-making equipment. Alta Vista dates back to 1899 but the buildings have been fully modernized. We began with a tour of the winery followed by a tasting.
So many wines, so little time! Stay tuned for our final day in Mendoza.