On any other day, in any other place yesterday would be considered an alcohol day. However the obvious must be said, Mendoza is not just any other place and today has waited its time to shine. The afternoon siestas create a fantastic if yet still unfamiliar phenomenon for us, we’re up and ready to go again suffering nothing of yesterday’s indulgence. Unsurprisingly we are off to vineyards to enjoy wine and food all over again, these simplest of pleasures as eternal as they are universal and therefore shall never pass its use-by date.
We’re not on the posh extravagant jaunt of two days ago though, this time we’re hopping on a tram and rattling the few stops to cycle around a nearby but different region, the very popular Maipu. At the tram stop we meet up with a small group of Americans and a Canadian who seem to have some idea where they’re going and we join in for the day. It seems that no one really knows where anyone is going or should go so it’s a bit of a comical farce to begin with. We walk aimlessly in the scorching sun until we happen across Bodega Lopez winery. The American crew have been there before and liked it but despite this we are distinctly over this walking so we politely declare that we’re going in regardless of their movements.
They join us in and we enter what can only be described as a wine empire. On any other day we’d tend away from this type of overly contrived sense of grandeur but today we just want to sit and have some wine, no more walking for the moment thank you very much. The first impressions last throughout, this place has been thoroughly scrubbed clean of charm and character but undeterred we go for a tasting. What this place does lack in charm and character it make up for in tasting it has to be said. We chip in about $7 each and we have ten, fifteen and twenty year old bottles opened and decanted just for us. We take it all back, this is great. The wines are well made and stand up to our snobby tastes even after the amusingly basic and at times dubiously accurate presentation from our host. This first up surprise sets us in the mood for more delights, we fork out for another round and take a little more than our due before calling a cab. The intention of cycling having fallen away some time ago.
We ask for a recommendation for a boutique winery to have lunch at and we’re pointed to Cecchin; organic, biodynamic, unique grape varietals and locally owned. Talk about ticking all the boxes, we’re into the taxis and off we go. We arrive through vineyards sporting plenty of ragged weeds under the vines which is always a welcome sign, well watered and cultivated soil only stays bare of vegetation for one reason, herbicides. This slightly rough and rugged winery is the picture of opposition to Lopez, bleach has been outlawed along with the herbicide it seems leaving this place bursting with charm and character. But; the restaurant is closing, shit! A little bit of discussion goes on and it turns out that if we all eat they’ll stay open, six people have never said yes any faster. This is a welcome turn and one that you would hope for but never expect, offered up by the place that embodies terms such as genuine, local and authentic.
And we’re not bundled into the restaurant proper, we’re ushered a small distance to a set of rustic tables under an almond tree set right in the vineyard feet planted directly on the dirt of these vines. I’ll skip a hippie spiritual tangent here, this setting is all things rustic, pure and exactly what we’re after. The surprises keep on coming, this is beyond fortunate, this is a chance experience we could never have planned. The food rolls out, the quality wine is poured and as seems customary in these parts, good times are created from thin air. This chance meeting, chance location and chance timing is the travellers dream of an experience that can only come by forsaking planning to chance. We get drunk, we mistakenly drink the cognac that was meant for the dessert and we share the last course with the chef who we drag to our table and toast wholeheartedly. Fortune smiles on the bold, he brings a bottle of bubbles we’re pretty sure aren’t part of the menu, salud.
The sun is still beaming as we leave just before 8pm from lunch. We see off our chef as he walks away with three bottles for tonights dancing, we’re all meeting up again later today to watch some tango. We’re trying to get into this siesta swing, being in Argentina seems like it’ll be hard without adoption the local timetable but right now we need a little late nap. Still buzzing from our most fortuitous of adventures we veritably float back to our hostel, very much looking forward to going out again and getting into the two days in one theme.
The second day never happens. Despite all the best intentions we’re a bit tired and Charlie’s leg has pulled up sore from the days activity. A little frustrated given our desires to go out we pull the pin on what has been yet another spectacular day in Mendoza. Our late siesta turns into an early night as we sign off on what will be our last day in this town, for now. Tomorrow we head north to new adventures however the present is all about soaking up what Mendoza has to offer. Indeed as we punch the clock for the night it seems like every day here just renews itself with more of life’s genuine pleasures. The wheel turns anew in Mendoza and lucky are those that get a few turns to ride.