Thursday, 16 July 2009

Bitter Wine Tasting, 3 July 2009

David, Jess and I had hoped to do the Bike and Wine Tour on offer in our hostel.However, due to popular demand we would have to wait until the following Wednesday before we could do that.As Jess was planning on leaving on the Monday we decided to give that a miss.

David had found another wine tour on the internet, it was a little more expensive 130 pesos but it included lunch. We checked out the website and booked on the tour.

So, this morning we were picked up at 8.30 for the wine tour. By 9.30 we were at the first winery, a winery which belonged to the Chandon Group which is part of a larger group owned by Louis Vuitton and Hennessy. This was a lush Bodega (vineyard). It looked so beautiful, even the wine makeing equipment looked stylish! After a really informative tour about the wine making process and the types of grapes that grow in the Andes region we sat down to a beautiful table to taste some wine. By this point it was about 10.15! We started very early!

We tried a Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc. All of the wines tasted beautiful, and they weren´t stingy with the portions either. We were shown how to taste wine properly and given bottles of essence to smell in order to bring out the flavours.

Before leaving I used the most beuatiful toilets I have seen in South America and stole cork. Don´t ask why, it just seemed a good idea at the time...blame the wine!

We then went to the Palenta Estate where we were given another tour of this slightly different winery which used traditional Concrete tanks for the wine fermentation (as opposed to modern steel tanks used by most other wineries). Here we had four more beautiful red wines from the region.

By 1pm we had sampled 8 different wines! Oh dear,I could feel another Australia wine tasting coming on!

The next winery included lunch and we were given a wine and food tasting. The menu was specially crafted so that the wines complemented the food.

Oh my god, the food was incredible! The best meal I have ever had in South America. I can´t remember the menu and the wine combos (I have these written in my scrap book, but my scrap book is in the hostel,I will write these in again later). The main course was delightful, it was beef, and it was the best bit of beef I have ever eaten.It was lush.

After our divine lunch we headed to the final Bodega which was very rustic and traditional. Again the wines we tasted were delicious and our wine guru was incredibly knowledgable.

The day was incredible, we had had great food, great wine in four great locations surrounded by the Andes moutains. Such a perfect day.

As we drove back into Mendoza, the perfect day was spoilt.

Our lovely guide passed us our bill and David, JEss and I went to take out our 130 pesos. Then we noticed that the bill did not add up to 390 pesos. No, the total of the bill was 1350 pesos. Err? That made it 450 pesos each. We questioned the bill with the guide and she said it was right. At this point we realised our error.

Everywhere in Argentina the peso is denoted with a dollar symbol $, EVERYWHERE. And on the website for the wine tour it said 130$, but the dollar sign on the website didn´t mean pesos... it meant dollars,US dollars.

The three of us bitterly handed over the equivalent of 75 pounds each.

We were in stone cold shock. We had expected topay just over 20 quid, and now it was costing more that three times the price.

I felt sick in the very pit of my stomach.

I´d say we were ripped off. We weren´t. The day was definitely worth 75pounds, but if I´dhave known I wouldn´t have chosen to pay that much for a wine tasting day.I´d rather have bought several different bottles from the supermarket and sampled them in the park.

It really left a bitter taste in my mouth.

I´m going to bed now. It´s only 9pm.

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