Day 374 of 400: Enjoying the local wine and food of Maipu, Mendoza – Argentina

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It was nice sleeping in this morning, then slowly waking ourselves up with a cup of tea/coffee and homemade bread with jam on the patio. We chatted with the other guests at the breakfast table a little bit and then walked around the property taking some pictures before getting in the car to go see our first Argentinian vineyard!

As we were driving, we noticed all the streets were well paved and wide with modern signs and cars. We only drove a short distance before we hit the first vineyard on our list which was organic, Cecchin Winery (

We were greeted right away by one of the guys who worked there and spoke English. We asked to taste their wines and he asked if he could first give us a tour…we of course agreed. He brought us to the vineyard and pointed out that we were standing on the oldest vineyard in the area and that it has always been organic. The view was beautiful with the Andes mountains in the background,  he talked about the soil and explained how the vines were all short growing very close to the ground.  Each vine had only 6-8 grape clusters instead of the normal 10-18 which means more nutrients in less fruit. He stressed the importance of not covering the fruit with things like pesticides and barrels. We informed him we love the impact of the barrel…he said without the barrel and pesticides we will really be able to taste the fruit. We were skeptical, barrels cost A LOT of money and some of the smaller vineyards without the money to invest in the barrels don’t use them.

He continued walking us to the old winery (the building itself dated back to 1923), and there was a very cool old picture showing the vineyard has been in the family for many generations.  He talked about the large old wine tanks made out of cement instead of stainless steel. We noticed the barrels were kind of all over the place, some near the ceiling, some on the floor etc., he explained the placement of the barrel also impacts the taste of the wine because of the difference in temperature, heat rises.

He had really built up our anticipation to taste their wine…we paid a set price and tasted 5 of the wines. Comparing one they had added sulphites to in comparison to one they hadn’t. We weren’t so impressed with anything we had tasted but decided to buy one bottle he wouldn’t open in hopes of finding one organic wine that was good. Usually when you buy a bottle or two, the tasting fee is waived but in this case…he charged us for the tasting and the bottle which kind of rubbed us the wrong way. We had fun though on the tour and thanked him for his time as we got back into our car to find the next vineyard.

As we were driving around trying to figure out which way was up on our map…we suddenly smelled yumminess in the air. Then as we followed our nose, we saw a sign in spanish and recognized the word pollo (chicken). We decided to pull over and get some lunch.

We followed the smoke into someone’s back yard!! There were two tables sitting in front of the old authentic wood burning grill.  The women standing at the table spoke a bit of English and the guy behind her was basting the chicken. The women told us it was 58 pesos for a large…we nodded our heads in agreement and she told us to come back in 20 minutes. We walked out of the yard and around the block to a little deli where they didn’t speak any English but were very nice in letting us taste various cheeses. After our taste test we bought a couple of cheeses, salami and fresh bread all for 29 pesos ($7). We walked back over to our chicken place and saw there were a couple other people waiting for their chicken too. We waited in the yard by the grapevines that covered the wall until they pointed to us. Our chicken came off the grill and they chopped it up and drenched it in fresh chimmy churi sauce and lime. Then they added a big container of thick cut french fries they had made in their kitchen…bundled it all together in parchment paper and sent us on our way.

Instead of going to another winery, we decided to take our food back to the wine farm to eat. No one was home which was nice, we had the whole place to ourselves. We opened some white wine from South Africa, sat on the patio and chow’d down on our chicken. We enjoyed the simple life for the rest of the day…the food, the wine and our surroundings.  We are realizing our trip is coming to an end soon…only a few more weeks left in this amazing trip.

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