March 31 -
Our day off in Tunuyan was all about wine and good food. We planned our bike route and set reservations with wineries in the Valle de Uco for the following day. And we took a day trip to a nearby vineyard in the La Consulta winegrowing region to a winery called O.Fournier to spoil ourselves with a five-course meal paired with flights of wine. Normally, we have pretty good about budgeting on this trip, but we decided since we were in wine region, we needed to throw all of that budgeting out the window. I mean, how else would we be able to schmooze with the upper 1% of Argentina, or for that matter as we came to find out while on all of our tours, the rich peeps from North America.
And if guilt really got to us, my birthday just happened to be landing quite nicely in the middle of this, so instead of cake, well, there is wine.
Before setting off to drink, we met some great travelers, Claire and Nick, from the U.S., while on a grocery run. There happened to be a fully loaded tour bike in the parking lot so we of course walked up to it and while chatting about it the owner and her beau walked out of the store and said hello. We talked about bike touring and how important it was for us to feel this sense of balance between riding and taking days off. And how so many bike tourers we met were going all out every day for what? Claire had a recent turn of events in her ride and now was heading to the Northwest region of the Argentina, so there was a lot to talk about. Great people, and we look forward to hopefully having a beer with them someday in PDX.
We then hopped in a cab and drove to this immense winery and pulled up to gated security to tell them we had reservations. We then drove and drove and drove through endless rows of vines until we pulled up to this enormous concrete complex of harsh architecture that basically was meant for one thing....large volume production. 1.5 million bottles per year. As we got dropped off, a woman greeted us and guided us to the restaurant where we indulged in some really delicious cuisine. The reason we chose to go here was mainly for the chef and the quality of the food he prepares. We were very impressed with the food, especially since we have been missing the foodie culture back in Portland.
After dinner, we finally found someone to give us a tour of the premises. The owner, from Spain, owns this winery and two others. The production and storage facility were all in one building and they were running quite a large operation. It was very interesting to see, but we left hoping that future winery visits would lead us to bodegas with more heart and soul, with smaller scale production.