We had been excited for this for a while – the chance to spend a day in the sun cycling and drinking wine. First things first: it lived up to expectations, and it was fantastic value. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Our AirBnB was in the south of Mendoza, near an area called Godoy Cruz. The most accessible vineyard from there is Maipu – a short, 150 peso Uber ride out. We got the Uber when we woke up a little later than planned, though it is possible to get a bus out and back for about 15 pesos each way.
Happily, we’d done some research beforehand and had already decided to go with a little company called Maipu Bikes. For 300 pesos each, they gave us a single-speed bike, a helmet, a map and a promise of free wine upon our return. Bargain.
We rode a fair way down the main road towards a stretch of three vineyards we figured made sense.
After about 25 minutes we swung our bikes into Tempus Alba. This was our first and, on reflection, our favourite of the wineries. A modern building with a self-guided tour of the facilities and incredible rooftop views over the vineyard was a good start. A tasting of three wines was 120 pesos, and included a Tempranillo that Ben is now craving continuously.
A little further down the same road, we came into MEVI. This was a much more homely affair, and it was reflected in the price: a tasting of three wines was 80 pesos. We also had lunch consisting of a cheeseboard and some empanadas here. It was a nice, simple place and the definition of cheap and cheerful. Lauren was happy to have a decent selection including a couple of whites (Chardonnay and Torrontes) plus a rose to mix in with Ben’s Malbec and Cab Sav.
Our final winery stop was El Cerro. These guys were a family business and very proud of it – the daughter of the winemaker showed us around their old-school premises, including the cellars and tanks before giving us a whole lecture on family, love and how drinking wine is basically the key to a happy life. Fair enough.They had a beautiful garden area with vines hanging overheard, which was basically paradise until a busload of tourists showed up late (yes, aware of the hypocrisy, but at least we cycled there!!).
A tasting of three wines was 150 pesos, but El Cerro was unique for the huge range of options it gave: multiple champagne varieties could be included in the tasting for no additional cost.
Our way back to the rental shop was briefly halted as we made a pit-stop at what we thought was an oliveria. Sure, we had some crackers dipped in olive oil… but did not expect our 200 peso fee to also include 5 shots of various liquors (including Irish cream and one suspiciously like cold Mulled Wine!).
We were suitably merry when we got back to the shop, and quite happy to have a few more glasses of chilled Malbec before taking the bus home. Cheers!