I woke up and caught the 380 bus into the center of Luján De Cuyo in the Luján De Cuyo Region. According to a map that I received there is a bicycle rental shop in the center near the main plaza. I walked around for about 30 minutes trying to locate the shop, and after asking a few people I found out that it doesn't exist. I returned to the main plaza and sat down on a bench contemplating what to do. I decided to continue my trip whether with buses, taxis or any other means of transportation. I found my way to Pueyrredon St. and walked west. I decided to start hitchhiking and after about 15 minutes somebody stopped. I told the nice driver that I wanted to go to the beginning of Guardia Vieja Road. He said no problem and after a 15 minute drive he dropped me off and pointed me in the direction of the street. According to 2 maps I had, this road is filled with bodegas. After a 3 km walk I came upon my first bodega of the day, Bodega Nieto Senetiner.
Once again I encountered a nervous guard who was afraid to make a phone call during "siesta". Now that I knew just a bit more Spanish than before I could explain why he should let me in, or at least let me talk to somebody in English. "No, ahora es siesta!" was the answer. The exclamation point at the end was certainly felt when talking. I do believe that he was truly afraid of bothering anybody during this time of day, in fear of getting fired. It was 12:30 and he told me to come back at 16. I mumbled a few words under my breath and left the bodega. I continued along Pueyrredon St. only to come upon Bodega San Huberto just a kilometer down the road.
Bodega San Huberto had a big iron dark colored gate. I pressed the intercom button and a voice answered on the other side. I expressed my wishes for a short tour and some tastings if it was possible. Two minutes later the gate opened and Juan came out to greet me. Juan gave me a small tour of the winery and then took me into the big show room that we passed in the beginning. The room was decorated with winemaking antiques, barrels, and old pictures of the winery. I tasted a Gran Reserva Malbec 2003 and a Gran Reserva Bonarda 2006. Both wines had average aromas and typical flavors with dry aftertastes. I thanked Juan for the visit and kept on walking to the next winery.
I arrived at a small roundabout and decided to turn right onto Sáens Peña Road. After a few more kilometers I walked up to the gate of Bodega Vistalba. Again I was turned away because I did not have a reservation. I kept on walking and came to an orange colored wooden gate. I pressed the intercom button for Bodega Fabre Montmayou but nobody answered. I continued walking and saw a faded sign for a winery, I couldn't even understand what was written. I decided to take a chance and turned left into some unknown dirt road. About a kilometer later I arrived at Bodega Kaiken. Just by looking at it, I could tell that I would not taste any wine here today. I walked in and not to my surprise, they didn't have any tours or tastings. I had reached the end of Sáens Peña Road and was happy to find another bodega.
I entered a small dirt path that led me into Bodega Familia Gargantini. I stopped at a house and yelled an "Hola." but nothing happened. I continued walking into a warehouse and yelled another "Hola". A man came out and shook my hand. I explained that I would like a tour and tastings. He agreed to give me a small tour of his winery, but tastings he did not have. We walked a few meters out of the other side of the warehouse, where I was met by a huge vineyard as far as my eyes could see. Sr. Gargantini explained a little about growing the grapes and making the wine. He then took me into the wine storage area where there were small rooms stacked with thousands of wine bottles. He took me into many rooms containing all the varieties of his wines. In one of the rooms I noticed a big bag of corks. I asked for a couple because I collected them. He ended up giving me about ten corks and some labels as well. I understood that if I wanted to try any of his wine, I would have to buy a bottle. So I did, a Malbec 2005. I paid Mr. Gangantini for the bottle and expressed my gratitude.
I started walking back on Sáens Peña Road when somebody finally stopped for my outstretched thumb. The nice couple took me to the nearest bus stop that would take me back into Mendoza. While sitting on the bus I opened my backpack and looked at the prize of the day, a Familia Gargantini wine. I love this place.