You can usually find me writing or leading some walking holiday in Italy. I took a detour so that my husband, a self-proclaimed oenophile, could discover the wines of Mendoza. I searched for a holiday that combined his love of wine with my passion for bike riding in the countryside. Trying to find one to merge our two and very unrelated loves could have been a challenge. Thanks to Duvine, it was as easy as signing the application form and writing a check.
Day one began in Mendoza city where we had spent the evening. Little did we know when we arrived the night before, that it was the Vendimia, the celebration of the wine harvest? Our pre tour night saw us crashing a pageant party, watching the crowning of the region’s Queen, tasting amazing wines, and dancing until 2 a.m. to a great band.
On our first bike day we already felt acclimated to our surroundings. Guides Sergio and Juan were consummate professionals. The first was more of a biker while the latter an expert on the culture and monuments. Unfortunately, my husband’s back was out on the first ride but he did get to join us for lunch with wine, a welcome toast with wines, a Michelin star dinner with wines, wines and wines. There was enough red and white liquid to forget about any aches and pains.
I think that this wasn’t a typical Duvine tour since it started in the city rather than the countryside. But each day introduced us to more and better scenery. Mendoza is said to be like Napa 30 years ago. Vines are young and roads are rugged. Despite an as yet uncultivated tourist industry, the meals could easily please the most discerning foodie. At each vineyard we were educated with a different piece of the wine puzzle. Some sommeliers talked to us about wine pairing while others helped us find the hints of chocolate and vanilla in the deep purple Malbecs. Still others explained the aging process in a desert where the heat could easily evaporate the liquid gold.
I’m not quite sure how everyone cycled so well given the amount of wine we tasted. At least I tasted, the others drank – draining upward of 5 or 6 varieties per meal. Downing our red liquid –and sometimes white – we’d hop back on our bike to another vineyard for more of the same. Rides were of moderate difficulty covering relatively flat but rocky terrain, demanding mountain bikes for this trip. My fave part of it all was an Andean backdrop against a clear blue sky, one that made it look like the mountains had been painted on in two dimensions.
As an added bonus, on our way out of the Salentin winery, clad in our purple and white Duvine shirts, we were stopped by a camera crew. In perfect English they asked if they could interview us for an Argentinean national television show.
“Of course,” we all chimed.
Then the interviewer informed us that the interviewee had to speak Spanish. That left me as the new star of the show. I’m still waiting for the link to the TV show but it’s an exciting thought to have been interviewed in all of our Divine garb and to have been able to share my new-found knowledge about wines.
My husband drank more, but I became a wine expert. I am also a hooked-on-Duvine traveller. Their attention to details, amazing guides, and comprehensive service really can’t be beat. I have tried other cycling companies so I feel I can confidently say that Duvine rocks.