Thermal Resort and Wine Tour; Fantastic Days in Mendoza, Argentina

Travelling from Santiago to Mendoza in early May took time but was worth it. Famous for its Malbec wine, I experienced two of my best days in the Mendoza region, despite overcast and rainy weather.

On a whim and inspired by a British couple in my hostel, I booked a day trip to the Termas Cacheuta spa resort outside of Mendoza. Another couple on the morning bus were already enjoying the day, drinking from a wine bottle.

Located next to a river in Cacheuta, Luján de Cuyo, Termas Cacheuta features several indoor and outdoor thermal pools of varying temperatures, a cold pool and a sauna. The resort also provides an amazing buffet lunch!

Termas Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina

Termas Cacheuta’s lunch buffet contains great meat, vegetables and salad

Termas Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina

Covered in mud at Termas Cacheuta outside Mendoza

Termas Cacheuta, Mendoza, Argentina

Termas Cacheuta’s setting in the mountains next to a river adds to the experience

At the spa resort I met Jessica and Christy and we decided to meet again later that evening back in Mendoza. Wines and a gourmet food platter at Uvas Wine Bar were followed by beers at one of Mendoza’s corner store-bars. Several city convenience stores also feature tables for drinking and the one we patronised resembled a club with mood lighting and music. A wonderful day turned into a fantastic night.

Daniel, a family friend in Adelaide, is from Mendoza and while in town I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with his relatives Mariano and Mirta. Thank you very much to Mauricio from Lao Hostel for interpreting, turning a potentially difficult conversation into an enjoyable one.

Mendoza, Argentina

With Mirta and Mariano at Lao Hostel

With an arid climate, Mendoza relies on snow melt for its water supply. The water moves across the city along large open channels. I guess people are responsible themselves for any damage if they fall or drive into them.

Mendoza, ArgentinaOne of Mendoza’s street side gutters

Argentinians eat very late and one evening in Mendoza I was the only guest at a restaurant between 6:20pm and 7:30pm.

Mendoza, Argentina

Anna Bistro serves afternoon tea from 4pm to 8pm. If you want dinner, wait until after 8 (like Argentinians do)

Mike and Celeste, Lao Hostel’s owners are very hospitable. One evening they were kind enough to share Celeste’s deliciously roasted chicken over a few beers.

On my final Mendoza day Denise and I caught a local bus to Chacras de Coria. I had a mission to bring boutique wine back to Buenos Aires and Mike recommended  producers to buy from. The Chacras de Coria wine area is less visited than Maipu which made it more attractive. We hired bikes from Baccus Vineyards Biking, receiving a map and useful instructions.

Our first stop was Bodega Carmelo Patti where Carmelo himself poured our tasting glasses and showed us nifty tricks. This included easily opening a cork bottle by using a cigarette lighter to heat up the glass around the cork. The relatively young Gran Assemblage showed great promise.

Chacras de Coria, Mendoza, Argentina

Carmelo Patti doing entertaining his audience

The second winery cycled to was the much larger Bodega Lagarde located gorgeously amongst vineyards. At Lagarde we sat down for a formal wine tasting (120 pesos). The young sommelier impressed with his knowledge with the wine highlight being the 2011 Henry Cosecha Tardia Moscato.

Chacras de Coria, Mendoza, Argentina

Bodega Lagarde set beautifully amongst autumn vineyards

Next Denise and I enjoyed lunch at organic wine producer Bodega Pulmary followed by a tour with the winemaker’s mother. She was full of zest and guided us wonderfully around the wine making facility and cellar. All of Pulmary’s samples were delicious particularly the fortified wine direct from the barrel.

Chacras de Coria, Mendoza, Argentina

Pulmary organic winery; note the dining table where we ate lunch in the bottom right

Bodega Alta Vista was meant to be our fourth and final winery. However, after Pulmary we were tipsy and tired and decided to end our memorable visit there. Returning to Mendoza, I packed my bags, farewelled Lao Hostel and took the overnight bus to Cordoba for more adventures.

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