Everyone in Mendoza loves Mr. Hugo. I’m sure Mr. Hugo is fabulous. But, we decided to wine taste without him. It was a hard decision, one with many concerns. Could it really be done?
Mr. Hugo rents bicycles in the town of Maipu, which is near the city of Mendoza. He rents bikes, gives out a wine map, bottle of water, and drink at the end of the day. So many people rave about him, I assumed it must be all hype, until several different friends that live here year round also recommended him.
We would have rented from Mr Hugo except for two things. I am terrible on a regular bike and Jeff is too smart to go wine tasting with me on a tandem. He knew that after my first sip of wine I would have refused to pedal and he would have had to drag me all around town. But, could we do it without Mr. Hugo? We didn’t know.
In Mendoza we called a taxi to take us to the first winery. Even he was dubious of doing this without Mr. Hugo. He pointed out Mr. Hugo’s storefront as we drove by just in case we changed our mind. For the equivalent of $15US we arrived at the first winery.
Our first stop was the winery Trapiche. We’ve seen this label in the US, so we were excited to try their wine.
Two of Mr. Hugo’s rental bikes were parked in front, taunting us.
There were four Mr. Hugo riders on our tour. They ignored us older taxi-riding wine tasters.
In the tasting room, Jeff was able to engage the youngsters in conversation while I became fixated with the world’s fanciest tasting room bathroom sink.
After the quick tour and tastings the Mr. Hugo riders rode away while we waited for a taxi. The winery called us the cab, but we had to amuse ourselves while we waited for it to arrive 30 minutes later.
When the taxi showed up I was dubious since it didn’t look like a taxi. But, for the equivalent of $6 US he took us to the next winery.
Tempus Alba had even more Mr. Hugo bike renters.
The winery was beautiful with a self guided tour, vineyards overlooking the Andes and a fabulous patio with a wine bar and restaurant.
We were the only non Mr. Hugo renters and also the only people over the age of 22. I haven’t seen this many college kids trading travel stories since 1989 when I was one of them. Although lacking the youthful exuberance and travel bravado of the youngsters, we did have something they may not have, money to spend on wine and good food. We went wine tasting crazy.
Unfortunately, a city information guide had told us earlier we might get mugged in this town. So, although there were bikes, police cars, trucks and cars whizzing by, I was sure we were lost and about to be attacked. We weren’t.
This third winery was just OK. The wine was good, but there was a strange vibe inside (not to mention about 30 Mr. Hugo bike renters). Unfortunately, instead of doing the tasting outside it was in a weird smelling basement like room.
We skipped the tour and went back outside and waited for a bus home. The bus cost the equivalent of 30 US cents. And, best of all it dropped us off at a bakery.
Would I recommend Mr. Hugo? Sure, everyone looked like they were having fun, the bikes looked good and I’ve heard nothing but good things. Would I suggest still going by taxi, walking and bus if you don’t want to bike? Absolutely!