Wine tasting and cycling around the vineyards of Mendoza

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
6
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
10
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
7
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
6
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
7
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
77 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
South America
country
Argentina
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 80
Time of year visited
February
Primary Tags
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All Tags
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
52nd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class

Summary

The most famous wine region in Latin America . . . making your way cycling from one superb vineyard to the next . . . stopping off for lunch overlooking the tallest section of the Andes range . . . sounds awful right?

Whilst Mendoza has a sea of vineyards spread out across a wide area, Chacras de Coria is jam packed with vineyards in a manageable sized area that is geared for cyclists who can easily make their way between them.   If you can, give yourself an extra day to head off to some of the other regions, but make Chacras de Coria your base

highlights

#1 Jumping on the bike with only a rough idea of where you're going and searching for the stunning vineyards

#2 Sampling the wines themselves. As with all alcohols, the setting and story of the wines help with the flavour, and the friendly staff are only too happy to tell it

#3 Eating in one of the many world class restaurants on offer, not just at the wineries but also the town itself

#4 Chilling out in some of the villas nearby as you work off your mini wine hangover

#5 Sitting in one of the shaded vineyards, working your way through a lunch menu with wine pairings, looking out across the vines and to the towering Andes range behind

Rough itinerary

  • Pick up your bikes in the morning anytime after 10am from Baccus (Wine Tour) Bikes at Av Bartolome Mitre 1552.  They will also give you a map and are super helpful for recommendations
  • There are a raft of vineyards to check out, but I would in particular recommend for following:
    • Bodega Viamonte for a pleasant tour, beautiful grass area for chilling out and a wide open view of the Andes range
    • Having lunch (must reserve) at Bodega Lagarde
    • Finishing off at the Weinert Bodega y Cavas for a more factory-driven approach to wine making
  • Drop your bike off back at Baccus Bikes anytime before 630pm and, if you still have the energy,:
    • Eat locally at El Mercadito
    • Take a 20min drive to Mendoza for dinner at the wonderful Azafran
    • Continue to boozing, but change to beer at the local Patagonia Cerveceria

Travel Tips

  • Baccus Bikes offered good bikes, within easy walking distance from the centre and were very helpful in giving you maps and tips for your route, including with vineyards would be open at what times, when the tours would be etc.  It was around USD20 for the day between 10am and 630pm and would certainly recommend them
  • Bike routes – there are a series of clearly marked bike routes, but occasionally you have to cross or cycle along a main road.  At no time did we feel unsafe, but also just be cautious in how much wine you drink . . . and which side of the road you’re on!
  • Booking ahead – there are a host of vineyards in Chacras de Coria and the surrounding area, so you won’t be lacking for choice.  But it may be worth booking a couple of places that really catch your eye – for example we had heard great things about Bodega Lagarde, so booked ahead (your hotel will be more than happy to help out).  If you don’t book, again not to worry, just ask either the place you’re staying or your bike rental company for tips
  • Have lunch at Bodega Lagarde, which was I think one of my favourite lunch experiences anywhere in Latin America.  The courtyard under the trees with the vines and Andes range glimpsing through in the background was stunning; the staff were wonderful; and the five course lunch menu with wine pairings were 10/10.  I don’t remember how much the lunch cost as there were quite a few variables and a few of us, but it was in the range USD30 – USD60 per head.  Just do it
  • Bodega Viamonte was a lovely vineyard with a chilled out tour that you can finish at the end by relaxing on the beautiful grass area and wandering through the vines with a clear open view of the Andes range.  The tour was around USD8 per person and included some snacks to go with the wine
  • Weinert Bodega is built more like a factory, but don’t let that put you off as the architecture of the all brick building and history behind the first vineyard to make 100% Malbec really draws you in.  The tour takes you through the cellars and allows you to sample a variety of wines in the cool underground bar at the end.  Tour is around USD10
  • We tried a few restaurants in our time in Chacras de Coria and they were all very pleasant.  In particular I would recommend:
    • El Mercadito in Chacras de Coria for its nice outside area and good food
    • If you have a group of 5 or more, see if you can book the cellar room in the Azafran Restaurant in central Mendoza.  Being in the cellar means you have to wear ponchos to keep yourself warm as you look through the shelves for which wine you fancy next.  Its around a 20min cab ride, but is outstanding
  • There are a variety of places to stay in Chacras de Coria.  We stayed in two:
    • Casa de Coria.  Beautiful villa will nice gardens and well laid out swimming pool.  Centrally located and very helpful staff.  Would recommend
    • La Masia.  Slightly further outside the main central part of Chacras de Coria, but the owner, Alejandro, and beautiful villa more than make up for it.  Offer Alejandro a bottle of wine and he will most likely bring out some cheese and bread to have a chat, very interesting guy.  I would also recommend
  • For further afield vineyards that you wouldn’t cycle to, I would recommend Bodega Andeluna and Bodega Salentein which, although rather ugly from the outside, has a fantastic underground cellar

Experiences nearby

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Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone