Touring the vineyards of Mendoza by bike
I swirl my glass around, letting the Malbec wine twist and turn and supposedly release more of its natural aromas, while the lady in charge of the wine tasting explains about the wine, grapes and the aging process in a barrel. I feel slightly out of place, standing there with a glass of twisting red wine in hand, this is definitely not my normal setting, especially not while backpacking.
My stay in Chile stretched to over one and a half month, way longer than I had originally anticipated. I completely fell in love with the country and its friendly people but all good things have to come to an end, and I felt it was time to return to Argentina, and which better place to start than Mendoza, the largest wine producing region in all of South-America?
Bodega after bodega with endless grape fields stretching towards the mighty Andes. The setting is beautiful, the wines great. I rented a bike and biked around to some of the different bodegas to check out the wine making process and taste some of their goods. Dark wine cellars, modern tanks, old fashioned equipment, I got to see a little bit of everything. Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet, blends, old, young, French oak, American oak, after a little while they all blend together and it’s time to leave the open fields and head back to the city, slightly intoxicated and a little more enlightened to the works of wine.
We all take a little sniff out of our glasses before tilting our heads slightly backwards to the final stage of tasting. I’m definitely no wine expert but even I can taste the difference between this Malbec, aged for almost a year in a barrel –made of French oak – and the young, un-aged Malbec we just tried. Aged is definitely better, way better. My days of always going for the cheapest bottle might just be over.