After Los Gigantes and Córdoba we took a night bus to Mendoza, a city probably most known for its wineries. The tourism that surrounds the wineries has created another good thing in Mendoza, a lot of good restaurants!
We spent our first days eating everything from sushi to steak, and Mendoza is truly a good city to eat and drink well in. My favourite was a french one called Anna Bistro, where when I asked for a blanket as it was getting colder in the evening the waiter lent me his jacket.
But! The great thing about Mendoza is of course the wine! Linn planned a tour comprising of riding a horse from a ranch to a winery. There a tour of the winery along with tasting of the wines is conducted. The final part is riding the horse back to the ranch to enjoy a typical Argentinean Parilla!
The tour began at the ranch called “Rancho Viejo” in Lunlunta south of Mendoza. We got there by taxi from the center of Mendoza and paid around €19 for this.
The horses here were a lot more animated than the ones in Chascomús, and we were offered a lot of freedom to trot and gallop as we wanted to, but the horses did sense that they had two riders who were unsure about how to ride western style. They listened mostly to Elio, the stableman who rode along to make sure the horses did what they should.
As can be seen here we were both offered and chose to wear helmets, a seldom seen thing in South America. At one point in the tour we arrived at a very steep hill, covered in rounded stones. My first thought was that I am not sure I would be able to climb this hill myself. Apparently the horses could, as Elio rode first and showed the way.
After two and a half hours of horse riding, including some passages where I was unsure if the horse would be able to get by, but did so graciously, amazing views, burning sun and sore legs we arrived at the winery. Our guide informed us that the guy running the winery had once been selected as the foremost winemaker in Argentina!
The visit began with sampling of the vines, on the left in the picture is our guide, and next to Linn is the sommelier of the winery. The sommelier poured different wines, told us about the different grapes and how they affected the taste and why the wines were blended as they were. We actually did learn a lot to contrast my usual belief that there are only two kinds of wine, wine that tastes good and wine that doesnt.
Here are the wines we sampled, the Semillon on the left was amazing and Linn who is no big wine drinker really liked it. I think my favourite was the one on the right, it was a blend of both Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As you can see the winery is the Mendel one that is apparently rather well known, and we liked the taste of the wines!
After the sampling we got a tour of the winery, which is one of few buildings made of adobe still standing. And as someone who made wines with mixed results during his teens, I found it very interesting to see how it is done when done for real.
After we finished the tour we got back on the horses and rode back. This time we took another route and finished the tour by riding in a small stream of water. Being up on the horse in the sun I could just imagine how nice it must have felt for the horse to dip his legs in the cool water.
Getting back to the ranch our legs hurt a lot, but we were happy. César, the guy who runs the place had been preparing the barbecue while we were away. Sitting down and enjoying some wine and great cuts of meat from the grill was perfect after this tour.