Mountain climbing, river rafting, and winemaking is what Mendoza, Argentina does best…and what could be better? The fertile foothills of the Andes were calling our name so we set out for five days of adventure with ample breaks for wine and relaxation at Entre Cielos (see Anne’s post on this unbelievable resort.)
Day one we hit the ground running from our overnight Santiago bus straight to Aconcagua—not only the region’s highest mountain but at 22,841-feet, it’s the tallest peak in the Americas. We assumed because it was in the Mendoza region it would be a hop, skip away but in actuality it was almost four hours from downtown. We wrote off the journey as naptime and were fully energized for our upcoming hike.
The hike to Confluencia base camp (we weren’t quiet prepared for the full six-day climb) was incredible—even better than the destination itself. We’d never seen such a range of textures and colors in a mountain range.
Sandwiching our trip to the mega-mountains and the prolific vineyards was our city day. We strolled around downtown Mendoza, soaking up the 16th-century architecture, plazas, artisanal markets and our favorite: the 971-acre Parque San Martín, where we enjoyed a picnic alongside Regatta Lake.
Though we were enjoying our day in Mendoza we couldn’t wait to reach the the vineyard region of Luján de Cuyo and the dreamy Entre Cielos Hotel. The architecture, hammam spa, cuisine, and our out-of-this-world Vineyard Loft tempted us never to leave the property but with world-renowned wineries outside and the help of a stellar concierge, we set out to explore.
There is no better way to explore wine country than by bike. You have ultimate freedom to change wineries at your leisure, stop for photos, soak in some sun, and breath in the vibrant aromas of the vineyards. To make this happen, Entre Cielos worked with Baccus Wine & Bike Tours to create a custom map of the most charming wineries in the area and delivered bikes right to our door.
The first stop on our bike and wine tour was Bodega y Cavas de Weinert, founded in 1890 by the Spanish family Otera. We were treated to a private tasting in this divine cellar. The winemaker was our guide and with her knowledge and teachings, she got us to read into wine in a whole new way. Our favorite was the 2010 Malbec, as well as the Late Harvest Pinot from 2009.
The second stop on our slightly tipsy tour was Clos de Chacras, with its beautiful pond-side tasting area. The “Reserve Tasting” also came with a plate of cheese and crackers and it was so lovely we decided to stay for lunch.
On our tour through Clos de Chacras cellars, we got a glimpse back into the bygone era of Argentine wine making with a look into the places like this antique fermentation tank.
One mile down the road we came upon our last winery, Alta Vista , and they did not disappoint. Above you can see the wine vault storing vintages as old at 1955 from the family’s private reserve.
In the adjacent room were much younger and more attainable Malbecs from the previous year’s harvest.
To close out our tour from Baccus Bikes & Wine, we had our chicest tasting to date. As you can see, this room at Alta Vista comes with personal water dispensers, a sink for rinsing your glass after you have pegged the subtle notes, and more stems always at the ready overhead.
Have you been to Mendoza? What was your favorite Vineyard?