It is mildly impossible to fly in and out of the wine region of Argentina without sampling delicious wines, even if your hostel doesn’t give you free wine each night! The traditional backpacker thing to do is head out to the vineyards and rent some bikes to cycle from place to place but this sounded like a silly idea to me- I can’t recall ever ending a wine tour sober enough that pedaling seemed like an awesome idea, so I opted for the fancy wine tour instead where they actually drove you around and gave you lunch. This turned out to be about as good an idea as expected!
To begin, here is a typical shot of the Mendoza wine country. Wine lovers will note the curious detail that the vineyards are flat- volcanic ash was deposited here from the nearby Andes resulting in ideal soil, and the mountains also allow the ideal atmospheric conditions for growing grapes. Magnifique!
So the curious detail about signing up for the fancy wine tour instead of doing a backpacker one is there is a lot more emphasis on drinking the wine properly (such as admiring the color of this rose above), which turned out well because I got to learn about how to pare wine with a meal and such. Mendoza is also curious because the vineyards on average give a lot fewer tastings than elsewhere in the world even on the backpacker tour- I think the average per winery was about three, and we visited as many places- so good thing we spent a lot of time swiveling and smelling along the way!
The other detail about winery tours is you also spend a lot of time admiring wine cellars while waiting to sample the wine. This is rather interesting on your first stop (which is probably why I took a picture of it- never saw a cellar this large before!) but by the second or third it starts to drag on a little.
So the wineries were certainly nice enough but I won’t lie about what my favorite part of the day was- lunch!
This was course one of our five course meal, and I’m sure you can agree with my sentiment that had this been the only course I would’ve been happy! Some close ups of the food-
As this tour took place the day after Thanksgiving and I was in the mood for a feast I declared this to be my Thanksgiving meal- I think I chose wisely! So I spent part of the meal trying to get the rest of the tourists to join in on the traditional “what are you thankful for?” conversation, which was curious because some were rather reluctant to join in until I said “hey, we’re in Argentina on a wine tour. I think that counts as I wasn’t exactly looking for pledges for world peace or anything.”
And so we chowed down- good food, good wine, and good company. A Thanksgiving abroad can’t get any better than that!