9am is the new wine o’clock.
My personal rule for drinking is that you shouldn’t have an alcoholic beverage before 12pm. Unless, of course, you have been out all night, in which case drinking in the morning is perfectly acceptable. But if you have had a good night’s sleep and woken up feeling fresh, starting to drink before 12 o’clock – beer o’clock – is stretching into alcoholics territory.
Well, on this day I broke the rules. But with good reason.
A trip to Mendoza will inevitably involve a wine tour of some description. Most people tend to go with the cheap and cheerful bike tours of neighbouring Maipú available on almost every corner in the town centre. My sister did one of these tours and she really enjoyed it, as did lots of the people I met along the way, but I had been told that you don’t really get to try that much wine on those tours and certainly not the good stuff. Lonely Planet recommends two companies that offer deluxe wine tours,
“They’re not cheap, but the benefits are obvious – small group sizes … a knowledgeable English-speaking guide … and access to some of the more exclusive (i.e. better quality) vineyards. Winemakers are much more likely to be getting the good stuff down off the top shelf for you on these tours too.”
My Mum had given me £100 for my birthday before I left which I was to save for something special so I decided to splash out on a tour of Luján de Cuyo with Trout and Wine. The tour cost US$165 (£106) which I thought incredibly reasonable given that included a tour and tasting of three top-end wineries as well a 4 course lunch and matching wines with unlimited top ups at a fourth bodega.