9 HOURS OF WINE and BIKING, I thought it was a bit crazy but its something I probably would never get to do again, so I figured why not?
We got there ready and full of energy, I had taken a 6 hour long siesta and went to bed early the night before so I had plenty of energy. Not even the fact that I hadn't ridden a bike since I was 12 years old could bother me today. So we hung out and started off the day with a complimentary glass of wine from Matias and we were given our bikes and maps and sent off into the world of wines.
After a slightly shaky start on the bike we were on a roll riding through the streets of Maipu and down winding roads. Our first stop was actually a wine museum, that had incredible pieces such as old wine tools and different things similar to that. This was the free tour with a free wine tasting, so it was pretty much obligatory, the rest of the day we would have to pay for. So we enjoyed our wine and tour and then were off to the next place.
Our next stop was for chocolate, olive oil and liqueur, we walk in and it is beautiful, and warm and the people are just working away on chocolates and olive oil, and there is a counter full of different liqueurs for us to try. Naturally, this was my favorite place; they started us out with bread and olive oil, and then let us try all the different types of cheeses and spreads it was AMAZINGGG, then after that we tried different types of jams and dulce de leche, the dulce de leche with cafe was incredible and they had fruit jams of everything including pineapple!!! Ohhh how I've missed that beautiful taste.
The final event included trying many of the different liqueurs, I tried: Chocolate Banana, Peach, Passion Fruit with Rose, some sort of citrus blend, and then for the final attraction ABSENTA or absinthe, which was the most interesting for sure. In order to take away some of the harshness of the absinthe they caramelize a spoon of sugar using a type of flambe (spelling) technique and then mix it around in the shot glass and then you shoot it as fast as you can. After taking the shot you feel this burning sensation down your throat into your stomach, it isn't entirely unpleasant because after the burn comes this wave of cooling almost as if someone put vicks vapor rub down your throat. They asked us if we wanted to do another one but we all turned it down for fear of what all that liqueur would do to our bike riding technique. Emily and Megan bought the passion fruit with rose and Thomas got some absinthe to take home to the states.
Thomas was hungry at this point so we decided our next stop should be the delicatessen. When we arrived I was simply in awe, it was the most beautiful place I could ever imagine. Normally when I think of a deli, it is usually a hole in the wall with nothing more than a greasy oven and a few tables and chairs. This place literally looked like something out of a fairy tale, with draping vines everywhere and antique looking furniture, it all seemed lived in but yet so pristine. I couldn't afford eating there but thomas helped himself on behalf of us all, the biker special was only 50 pesos but I only had enough to go to the bodegas and not buy anything so I just passed even though I was near to starving. The other meal option was a 125 pesos which is less that thirty bucks but being in Argentina has made me stingy.....
With our meal we got some complimentary bread with various different spreads which were incredible they even had one with what was supposed to be spicy red pepper but it barely tickled my tongue haha, that is one thing I don't think Argentina will ever get right.
After we finished up we were back on our way after a little bit of trouble after Emily fell off her bike and slightly broke her bottle of liqueur. We were all fine and just laughed it off but the laughing quickly stopped after we realized how far we were going to have to bike to the next bodega.
After about an hour or so of biking we were at our first real bodega of the day, after some mishaps with blocked roads and missed tours we decided to go to the oldest bodega in Argentina, Di Tomasso, this was by far the most interesting bodega, simply because its history goes back 4 full generations and is still in the family. Our tour guide for this trip was so nice and so smart, she could answer every single question we had about the different types of wines. I probably learned more from this tour than I have from any wine tour I've been on thus far. I can now tell if a wine has been fermented in an oak barrel, and I can also tell for how long it has been fermented. I feel like my very own wine aficionado after that tour. The wines were also incredible, only one of the wines that they make are exported out of the country and it is their youngest and weakest dinner wine, the rest of them aren't even exported out of the bodega. In order to purchase their wines you either have to buy them onsite or call in an order, and to have it sent to the U.S. would include incredibly high tariffs.
We figured the last few bodegas weren't that far away so we would bike to the rest of them and then try to hit the beer distillery for some food on the way back so we were just moseying along, when Emily realized she had a flat tire...we were seriously at the furthest point away from the bike shop so we keep going until we got to the olive oil distillery only to find that it was closed!! We didn't know what else to do so we continued walking on our way to the next bodega which was just down the street a little more, thank goodness they were open or we really would have had a problem. We kindly asked the woman to call the shop to send out a new bike and asked if we could buy a bag of nuts because we were all starving. None of us felt like going on another tour or drinking any more wine so the lady told us we could sit outside in the shade at the table so we did and as we were enjoying the beautiful day waiting for the bike to come one by one we all fell asleep. It felt like the entire day had gone by by the time the man arrived with the bike, the woman at the front desk tried to let us know when he got there but none of us seemed able to wake up.
Once we were all up and alive we decided it would be best just to bike all the way back to the shop and just eat when we got home, so we made the long haul all the way back to the shop which seemed as if we had wings we just wanted to get back so badly. We were tired and sweaty and dirty from the dust on the roads, not to mention our bums hurt like nobody's business. We made it back safe and sound after being trailed by a cop on a motorcycle for a good 30 minutes of the ride back, which was slightly disconcerting.
Matias welcomed us back and everyone started clapping since we were the last group to get there and he brought us some more wine as a congratulatory "Thank God you actually made it" not that any of us needed any more wine.
We stayed there talking to the other groups enjoying the company and the music for a good few hours before everyone started to leave one by one. Megan and Thomas needed to leave to buy some last minute gifts before Thomas headed back to the states the next morning so Emily and I decided to just stick around and play ping pong with Matias and his cousin Pablo. It was a great way to end the day even though I was absolutely terrible and had no skill whatsoever. Time flew by and before we knew it, it was almost 1030 so Emily and I decided to head back and go out to dinner to end the day, since each of us were starving we figured we deserved to eat out for our final night of vacation.
After eating and biking and wining all day we decided to just hit the bed, even though we wanted to go out with Thomas for his last night in Argentina, there was nothing more satisfying than just curling up after a full days work and a full stomach.
At least now I have a good idea of which bodegas to go to when my mom and grandfather come to visit in October....but next time maybe we'll drive.