Day 375 of 400: Day of food and wine in Maipu, Mendoza – Argentina
We could really get use to the slow life of Mendoza! Since we stayed up pretty late watching movies, we slept in pretty late, but we had nowhere to be so it was no problemo!
Once we finally got going, we of course went to a winery…that is after all why we added Mendoza to the itinerary. Many wineries were closed today but we found one called, Carinae (http://www.carinaevinos.com/en/). They had a few other guests when we first arrived but after waiting patiently for a few minutes…we were given a quick tour of their warehouse. It held their various wine equipment pieces from the grape crusher to the old label maker. Obviously only a small amount of wine is produced because the equipment was definitely on the small side and the label maker must take them so long to do each bottle by hand.
The guide talked about the owners, Brigitte and Philippe who opened Carinae in 2003. Carinae is named after a constellation which can be seen in the southern sky during harvest time. Philippe is fascinated with the stars and each vineyard at the Bodega as well as each wine has an association with various constellations.
After our tour, we sat in their small wine tasting room and read the descriptions of various wines as we picked which ones we wanted to taste. Argentina is very good about detailing whether or not the wine was aged in barrels and if so how long. We chose some to taste and found a couple of the bottles had been opened too long. The owner Philippe tasted and agreed to open a new bottle. We enjoyed chatting with him and did like some of his wine. After purchasing a few bottles, we also bought some of their olive oil made from the olive trees on their property-does it get any fresher?
We were ready for some food and after searching for something open, we finally found a cute little restaurant called, Casa De Campo (www.casadecampomza.com). We knew there was a chance the restaurant was closing…you really have to eat during their lunch hour or later at night for dinner and it was about 5PM, right in between feeding time.
As we peeked into the quaint restaurant, the owner greeted us, they were open for one more hour. The place felt warm and cozy…sort of rustic with all the wooden accents. He brought us upstairs first to pick a bottle of wine from the wine cellar (we chose the Chakana Malbec which was quite tasty and well priced) and then showed us to a table. The menu was full of home-cooked meals and they were specifically known for cooking food in their little mud oven in the back. We ordered their homemade empanadas (a Argentina specialty) and a salad made with chilled rabbit to start. We followed that with oven baked rabbit and home-made lasagna. Our early dinner really hit the spot and we had a great time being the only customers and chatting with the owner.
After dinner, we drove around for a bit and then made our way back to our B&B for the evening.