I arrived in Maipú especially early because I decided to ride down to Luján De Cuyo in the Luján De Cuyo Region. I hooked a right on Perito Moreno Road and crossed Argentina's famous Route 40. Moreno Road turned into Aráoz Road until I was finally able to turn left onto San Martín Avenue. Riding on San Martín I was again shaded by a massive canopy that stretched along the entire road. After peddling for about 20 km I arrived in Luján De Cuyo. I pulled out my wine map and was reminded that I notified Bodega Alta Vista that I plan to come for a tour at 13 o'clock. I started peddling south and stopped at Bodega Lagarde where the guard talked to a woman who said to come back at 14. I arrived at Bodega Luigi Bosca at 11:30 only to be told to come back at 15 for the next tour. Now that I had some reservations and had some time to kill, I sat down and opened the map again.
I spotted Bodega Carmelo Patti along San Martín Avenue. I only recognized the building by its number – 2614. I dismounted my bike in a small courtyard and walked toward an office door. Seeing somebody talking on the phone I knocked gently and waited. When the call was over I walked in and introduced myself. The person who I shook hands with was none other than Senior Carmelo Patti himself.
I described my enthusiasm for a small tour and some wine tastings. Senior Patti (he told me to call him Carmelo) was happy to accept and I would soon learn that only he conducts the tours of his winery. After 10 minutes of trying to understand his Spanish I finally understood to follow him into the office for some tastings. All 3 wines I tasted were absolutely fabulous. I started with a Malbec 2004, with aromas of strawberry and cherry, and the same flavors with a nice soft round fruity finish. Next I indulged in a Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. With its' port color and spicy clean laundry aroma, it was a bit tough and hard on the tongue with a sour aftertaste. Carmelo's Gran Assemblage 2002, a blend of Cab, Malbec and Merlot is one of the best wines I have tasted my whole trip. It has an overpowering ruby red color, with fruity aromas, a full-body wine with plum-berry flavors and smooth fruity long-lasting finish. Sr. Patti is a true winemaker whom I loved to listen to and learn from as well. I said my "Muchas muchas gracias" and rode on to my next destination.
I rode for about 7 km and arrived at Bodega Alta Vista at 13 o'clock. Unfortunately it was their "siesta" so I was told to return at 16 o'clock. I rode back to Bodega Lagarde only to find out that it was the woman's "siesta" as well. I rolled my eyes and went to sit down in the shade. I pulled out my map and tried to find more wineries to visit. I decided to keep on going south on San Martín and explore the area. It didn't take long until I came upon another winery. I rang the bell on Bodega Ruggeri's gate. Nobody answered but after a few minutes somebody showed up at the gate and told me to come back around 17 o'clock. After buying and eating big juicy bagget bread from a gas station thrift store, I started my way back to Bodega Luigi Bosca.
After another 4 km ride I entered the big white gate of Bodega Luigi Bosca for the second time today. I shook the guard's hand and asked him how he is doing. I went to the office where a tall tailored woman greeted me with a big smile. After waiting for 5 minutes, the tour guide escorted me to the tasting room where I was about to taste 4 wines. Entering a big stylish room, I noticed that there are windows in the floor that through them I could see the winery's wine cellar. I sat up to a nice big curved wooden bar where wine glasses were already waiting. I tasted a Chardonnay 2006, a Malbec 2006, a Merlot 2004, and a Syrah 2006. All 4 wines were average or below and mostly flat. I thanked my guide and peddled another 6 km to Bodega Alta Vista.
I arrived at Bodega Alta Vista just as a tour ended. I entered through the back door where on my way to the main display room I noticed a spectacular designed professional tasting room. I photographed the room through the glass and kept going. They had a nice simple display of their wines with glass cases and focused spotlights. I tasted 3 wines, a Chardonnay, a Malbec and a reserve Syrah. Out of the 3 I enjoyed the Malbec the most. Its dark color with dry plum and sour cherry aromas made it very distinguishable.This Malbec has a good cherry-berry flavor with a fine fruity finish. Even though I still had some rounds to make, I decided to buy a bottle of wine. I bought a Premium Torrontés 2007 and another bottle opener (my 3rd). The tastings themselves cost 20 pesos. I said goodbye and walked outside to a still sunny late afternoon. It was already 16:45 so I started peddling fast towards Bodega Ruggeri.
I entered Bodega Ruggeri and walked over to the office. The girl sitting at the desk sent me into a small warehouse. I walked up a few steps and encountered a couple of workers engrossed in their work. I walked in and said hello. I talked to the woman (I can't remember her name) and said that I was interested in having some wine tastings. She said "Claro, no problema." and I followed her into the room where 5 big stainless steel tanks stood. As she opened the valve and poured me a Merlot 2006, she told me that this is the first time a tourist arrived on a bike and arrived at the winery. Uncharted territory, I love it. She told me that all the tourists are attracted to the bigger and more high-tech wineries. In return I told her that her winery is the kind of winery I love, a small family winery without the big machinery rooms, stainless steel tank tastings, and of course good people. As I tasted the bodega's wine, the woman kept on working. Every glass I finished, the woman took my glass and opened another tank valve where fabulously colored wine always poured out. I tasted all five 2006 wines, a Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and last a white Pedro Gimenez. Most of the wines had fruity aromas, fruity flavors with sour aftertastes. I liked the Syrah the most because of its heightened spicy aroma. The Pedro Gimenez had green olive grape aromas and pineapple flavors, a really fresh invigorating wine. I had such a good time just talking to the woman and drinking wine, as simple as that. In the end I took a group photo and said goodbye.
After the 25 km bike ride back, I arrived at the bike shop at 19 o'clock in the evening. This time Hugo wasn't there for some reason so I waited for the bus alone. Ten minutes later I got on the bus and fell fast asleep, waking up just as we arrived in Mendoza.