Mr Hugo is a super friendly, spanish speaking man with a smile that could brighten even the worst of days. We arrived at Mr Hugo's around 11, got our bikes and set off for the day. The bikes were all well worn but also well maintained and certainly got the job done. We were also given a Mr Hugo made map that was a tad confusing a times, but had all the important vineyards and other tasty stops marked out along the 10 km strip.
Our first stop was Vinoteca Botella, a very new (less than one year old) wine tasting studio run by Christian, a cheery chap and for only $35 AR peso's each we got an empanada, to taste 3 local wines and a massive 2 litre bottle of vino for us to share.
The wine here was FANTASTIC.
After this stop we had all had close to 6 or 7 glasses of wine and were really starting to enjoy ourselves. The day we chose to do this self run tour was nice and sunny, but ended up reaching about 35 degrees. Luckily the area around Maipú is extremely flat otherwise I don’t think we would have made it home.
3rd stop was a place that made olive oil, olive spreads, jams, chocolates and liquors. Highlights were a delicious olive/garlic tapenade, a jam made of chardonnay grapes, a home made creme de menthe liquor and some spiced/mulled wines served very cold.
They had a good little mix of nice cold beers and delicious pizzas which after the long hot ride was just what the doctor ordered. The pale ale, red ale and even the porter all went down extremely well in the beautiful little beer garden filled with fruit trees.
By the time we got here, it was getting a little late in the afternoon. We paid $35 for a pick of 3 glasses of any 6 varieties including a Malbec Rosé, and a Bonarda, 2 styles we were yet to see on the trip. Much less information was given here and the lady who served the wines seemed to be more tired even than us, but by this stage we didn’t really care and were happy to relax in the air-con comfort, sipping some wine and taking in the beautiful view over the vines with the Andes in the background.
We left Mevi at about 5:30 and as most bodegas close at 6, we had time for one final stop on the way back to Mr Hugo’s to drop off the bikes. For something different on the final stop we chose the local distillery. We tried some awesome grappas, brandies, anise liquors and citrus based liquors.
We cruised back to Mr Hugo’s to be greeted with that familiar warm smile and a nice cold glass of lemon cordial, and relaxed for a while before we jumped back on the bus to the hostel in Mendoza.
We all had so much fun despite the heat, and found the hardest thing about the day was the fact we have such limited bag space that it wasn’t possible to bring enough of the delicious wares this region has along with us.