Argentina Travel

Maipu Wine Bike Tour – Terrifying Fun

This is what we came for

 

I have an ongoing issue with trying to control everything and have life live up to the expectations that I set in my mind.  I know it’s wrong, but as an anxious person I can’t help doing it.  I struggle to roll with the punches and make the best of what life gives me, or, if you love cliches, make lemons out of lemonade.  I think life owes me something, and it leads to me being disappointed a lot.

Life doesn’t give a shit about your plans.  A lesson that it’s been trying to teach me since I started, and one that Argentina has beat into my head relentlessly.  I’ve had no choice but to roll with it.  Our trip was blown to pieces before we even left.  If all went to plan, we’d be getting back from Patagonia right now instead of missing that part completely.  We had to rebook all of our flights, and now we don’t have flights home because the people at Expedia are a bunch of worthless, incompetent morons that feed on the stress and tears of wayward travelers, but I digress.

I’ve been enjoying the hell out of going with it.  Accepting what life gives you and making the best out of it.  Case in point, our experience with Maipu Bikes.  In my mind, we would have been biking through country roads on a sunny day, going winery to winery, weaving between the grapes, having tastings whilst overlooking the Andes mountains and pontificating on life.

The experience was slightly different.

The wineries in Maipu live up to the expectations, well, the two that we had time to visit.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the journey in between.  Maipu looks like an impoverished Eastern European country, complete with trucks and construction sites that violate every OSHA standard imaginable, grey skies, crumbling buildings, stray dogs, and mostly unfriendly faces.  Ironically, there aren’t really any bike lanes in town for the bike tour, so you’re sharing an undersized road with giant trucks, buses, and cars driving 40 MPHs (fuck the metric system) above the speed limit. I ride a motorcycle on a daily basis and I still almost pooped my pants at least twice.

When we got there, the heavyset man who runs the ship gave us mountain bikes that were 10 miles away from being scrap metal, a map of the area, and wished us luck.  First stop:

Mevi Winery

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Pew Pew

We might as well have thrown a dart at the map when choosing Mevi but it worked out.  While the wines all tasted like smoky BBQ chips (the barrel is supposed to add flavor not BE the flavor you philistines) and the Gnocchi we got as an appetizer tasted like straight flour, the experience was a magical start.  I mean, just look at the ride up to this place.

Just like in my dreams!

We had a beautiful view of the Andes mountains, fairly inexpensive wine, and an unhelpful waiter who couldn’t have been more annoyed with us. While he poured the wines he asked us, in spanish, “Do you have any questions?”.  Wanting to seem like informed tourists, me and Will replied “Si”. He then stared at us like idiots waiting for our reply, unaware that we were clueless to what he just said.  Christina let us know, we laughed, he didn’t.

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Us laughing

We tasted their malbec, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot.  The Malbec was OK, the rest were not. We choked down our wine and moved the fuck on because there are 20 wineries to hit and we had about 3 hours.

FOR THE GRAM

Entre Olivos

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Our second stop was a local olive oil, tapenade, desert liquor, and sauce maker.  We were humoring Christina at first but it turned out to be an ideal pit stop.  The wine/shitty pasta was not sloshing around well on bikes, and we needed some sustenance if we were going to keep drinking wine like Tyrion from Game of Thrones.

The man who owned the place spoke a little English, but was very patient and gave us unlimited samples.  I should remember his name but I’m way too self-absorbed.

The delicious highlights include:

  • Garlic Olive Oil
  • Chimichurri Sauce with extra vinegar (i bought this)
  • Dulce de Leche (I also bought this)
  • Pineapple desert liquor (S/O Hawaii)
  • Dulce de Leche desert liquor
  • 3 lbs. of bread while sampling everything (ABSORB THOSE GRAPES)

It was an unconventional but delicious lunch, and although the 6 mini shots of desert liquor made the bike ride to our last winery hellacious, it was worth it. Christina also knocked over a row of bicycles in front of the store like dominoes which is an image I will hold in my mind and cherish forever.  God I wish I had a video.

Gang gang gang gang

Bonus video showing our level of intoxication at that point

Alandes

Ahh yes, the coup de grace of our bike tour, and it was my idea.  Yes I’m petty and taking all of the credit.  There was a tour at Alandes at 4:30, and since we ate too much at Entre Olivos we were timed perfectly to hit it.  Well, almost perfectly.  We biked about a mile past it despite the sign being incredibly obvious.

Our 4:30 tasting started with our informative, hospitable host, Diday (AKA DD or Double Ds) welcoming us.  Diday is an English teacher who had been drinking most of the day, and was more than happy to share the history of the winery with us as well as the history of all wine in Argentina as long as we would listen.  We were all ears.

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DD Straight Preachin’ and Teachin’

“ALANDES” is a combination of the Andes and the Alps, as one of the founders was Argentinian and the other was Swiss.  They joined forces to create a unique winery that combines French grapes with Argentian wine making techniques to make something undeniably delicious.  Most wineries I’ve visited are like Mavi.  They start as a business venture and lack the passion and care to create great wine. They only care about the bottom line and it shows.  Alandes was what we wanted, passionate winemakers who take huge risks to create something great.

The wines we sampled:

The pinot noir was by far my favorite.  Both for the taste and the fact that they were able to make a high quality pinot in the middle of a desert climate.  The pinot grape is notoriously hard to nurture and grow correctly, with most of the harvests yielding sub par grapes. “We wanted a challenge” Double Ds said, and Jesus Christos did they succeed.  I bought a bottle.  They were apologetic for the high price.  It was $20.  I love this country.

Us sampling the wines.  I know it’s blurry, shut up.

We realized we were running very, very late and had to rush out of there. DD gave us some suggestions for Mendoza restaurants and beer places before we left because she’s an incredible human being and we were sick of wine.  We biked back to Maipu Bikes as fast as we could, which, given our state of drunk wasn’t very fast.  Our tardiness did gift us with the one non-cloudy view of the Andes we had that day.

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I didn’t even have to saturate this bih

 We were allowed to return our bikes without any issues, apparently, this is a regular thing because alcohol turns people into forgetful, selfish assholes.  We went to the Maipu Bikes happy hour for about 30 minutes before calling it a day.  Drunk, tired, and satisfied.

All in all, it was an amazing day, don’t let my negativity convince you otherwise. And more importantly, I learned, yet again, to just go with it, regardless of what your anxiety tells you.  The more you embrace the weird and unknown, the better it will pay off.  On to the next.

 

 

 

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