The Traveling Steve's

Mendoza Wine Touring 2018 – Day 2

We started our second and last day of wine touring thru the Luján de Cuyo region of Mendoza.  Like yesterday, we would tour two wineries, followed by a late lunch at a third winery.  Our first stop today was at Pulenta Estate Winery. If you’ve never heard of Pulenta Winery before, you must not own a Porsche!  Not that we do either, but as they say on their website, Pulenta Estate has had a relationship with Porsche since 2003, and they bottle a special label each year for the new model car that is coming out that year; most recently the smaller “Macan”.  I was a bit disappointed they didn’t have a sparkling (or even any) Porsche sitting out from of the winery for a cool photo op, but we settled for a photo by the sign, and a small blurb about the Porsche relationship inside in a display case.

While waiting for the tour to start, we took a few photos around the entrance. The leaves were so colorful in this Fall season in Argentina, and there were even a few bunches of grapes on the vine for photos, as the harvest had been done a month or so before. 

Once inside the wine-making facilities, we saw the equipment, barrels, fermenting tanks etc in the wine caves, similar to some of the other wineries we have visited. They did have some extra large barrels, however, and in one area they were stored on a ‘rowing’ apparatus where the wine-maker’s staff would have the barrels rolled back and forth – quite heavy, it took several people to actually do this.  I tried doing by myself, but no luck other than posing for a picture!

 What set Pulenta apart from other wineries, however, (in addition to great wines!) was a small display corridor showing some fancy sports car engines.  While they still didn’t have an actual Porsche in the wine caves, they did have three engines on display of a Porsche, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.  I’m not a huge car buff, but for the serious fine car connoisseur, this would be the highlight of the tour – forget the wine!

Well, you can always dream about having a Porsche while thumbing thru the magazines!

After our tour it was time for the wine tasting, which we had at a large table off of the lobby, adjacent to the huge wine rack and the display case we saw upon entry.  

We tasted three red wines, and although we didn’t taste the Porsche-labeled wine, our guide told us the last wine, the Gran Corte was the same wine, just without the Porsche label.  Of course we would buy that same wine with the Porsche label upon checkout.

 We really enjoyed Pulenta Winery, and my only disappointment was that didn’t sell Porsche caps with the winery name on it.  Ok, well my second disappointment was they didn’t have an actual Porsche on display! LOL!  The standing joke at Pulenta winery is “If you buy a Porsche you get a bottle or case of their wine for free, but not the other way around!”  We had a really fun time at Pulenta, and got our photo taken with our Pulenta Winery guide on the way out.

Our next stop was to Belasco De Baquedano winery.  Below are a couple photos from the entrance, inside the lobby, and with our Vendimia Wine Tours guide, Leo.

Of all the wineries worldwide we’ve been to, this winery had something we had never experienced before; an ‘Aroma Room’.  Quite simply this huge and artistically red decorated room featured some 46 different fragrances to ‘sniff’ from!  

Each fragrance was ‘sniffed’ from an individual station, where you would turn the handle back and forth to ‘smell the roses’ or whatever scent you were trying out.  The fragrances were displayed around the room and grouped together by type; i.e. floral, citrus, mineral etc, and had a descriptive poster at the station describing what to expect.

 We tried doing a ‘blind sniffing’; i.e. without first looking at some of the posters, but except for some of the more obvious scents like banana and coffee, we didn’t get many of them right!  It was quite fun trying though, and this aroma room is the first of it’s kind in Argentina.  I guess it helps the winemakers or sommeliers with their descriptions, and ‘noses’. We never do well when asked to explain the aromas of different wines!

The Aroma Room, also had displays of different soil and mineral types, as well as exhibits such as a ‘cork’ tree and the primary regions where cork is harvested.  The Aroma Room was a very interesting and unique museum-like exhibit, and very educational for the wine enthusiast as well.

We then went back upstairs for our private wine tasting.  We had several wines, finishing with an ‘ice wine’; i.e. Late Harvest wine.

  While we don’t normally like the sweeter type dessert wines, this 2010 ice wine vintage was quite nice; having matured nicely, and similar to a port.  We ended up getting four of the ice wines to take home, which were 1/2 litter; only 375 ml instead of the standard 750 ml wine bottles, and a couple bottles of the Swinto Old Vine Malbecs.

Our last stop was at  Bodega Vistalba, which was a perfect way to end our day and tours of Mendoza Wine Country, with a final food and wine pairing lunch.

  We first toured the extensive grounds, followed by an interior tour of the wine-making facilities and caves.  Like the other vineyards we have visited this trip, the leaves were brightly-colored for the Fall season in Mendoza.  From the photo below you can see the vineyard framed by the beautiful Andes Mountains in the background.

The lunch was in the Vino Cafe, and was outstanding!  The multi-course meal was paired with some of their wonderful iconic wines.

 I felt bad as Steve (DOS) didn’t have as much to eat, as he was still not up to eating a lot from the previous day’s meal as I mentioned in the last post.  Fortunately, no goat ravioli on the menu!

The food and service were incredible, and the service was fantastic.  Unlike some fancy and upscale eateries, I enjoyed everything on the menu.  The wines were well chosen, and refills were encouraged.

I told our waitress this was the best filet I had ever had, while the salmon was very good too. The filet was absolutely delicious and the wines were exquisite.

We met and talked to some Americans at the adjacent table, and DOS even got a photo with this man who was a retired commercial pilot as well!

But as all good things come to an end, it was eventually time to head back to our hotel.  As this was our last day of touring in Mendoza this trip, we said bye to Leo and Rollie as they dropped us off at our Hyatt Hotel.  As we had purchased quite a bit of wine today, they helped us bring it back to our room.

After two days of wine touring, and a full day Andes Mountain’s tour, we were all set now for a shower and nap, on this our last full day in Mendoza.  Muchas gracias, Leo, Rollie, and Reuben for such wonderful tours you did for us! Until we meet again . . .






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