I woke up real early and walked over to Mendoza's central bus station. I caught the 6 o'clock bus to San Rafael, Mendoza's southernmost wine region. I arrived in San Rafael by 9 in the morning and went directly to the tourist information center. They were really helpful. I continued walking along Hipolito Yrigoyesn Avenue until I saw a sign for the winery I was looking for.
I strolled into Bodega La Abeja around 11 o'clock in the morning. The woman who worked behind the wine bar was busy so I walked around and into a small art gallery with a local artist's paintings. There were also some wine making antiques and other old equipment. It isn't that hard to imagine how 100 years ago wine was being made in such a simple but exhaustive method. Just by looking at this place you could feel all the wine making history inside. As soon as I noticed that the woman wasn't busy I walked back to the wine bar. I asked if I could just have tastings without the tour. The woman said I could. I told her of my time in and around Mendoza so she would understand better why I wasn't interested in taking the tour. I started off with a Casona Iselin Chenin Blanc 2007 which had a light golden color. It had great lemon, lichee and marshmallow aromas together with a sour citrus and sweet grape flavor. Next she poured a Casona Iselin Tempranillo Rosado 2007 and then a Iselin Clasico Merlot 2005. Both wines were just ok, I have definitely tasted better. I bought my 12th wine bottle opener and thanked the woman for the tastings.
I continued walking on Hipolito Yrigoyesn Avenue until I came upon Bodega Jean Rivier. It was closed so I continued on across the street to Bodega Suter. I walked into a large room where all their wines were stacked in and around old oak barrels. It was a nice but cheap way of displaying their wines. I walked around a bit until the tour started. The tour consisted of a lot of children and apparently a lot of people who knew nothing about wine because there were a lot of questions. The only interesting feature in the tour were the racks of sparkling wine down in the wine cellar, an antique appearance. The tasting isn't even worth mentioning.
I walked back to the central bus station and checked for buses to an area with a few bodegas. It was a couple minutes after 13 and the next bus was only at 15. Since I didn't know anything about these wineries I just decided to go back to Mendoza. It was a nice short day and I had a good time seeing the country side on the bus rides up and back.