Thursday, January 24, 2013
Up not so early this morning (still seemed early!) to have breakfast at the main house in time for our wine tour pick-up. The grounds & main house of Casa Glebinius look absolutely beautiful. Anxious for later today when we return & can explore it a little & take photos.
The main house is beautiful! We were greeted by Maria, wife of Alberto, who showed us to the solarium overlooking the pool where we would have breakfast.
A small buffet of breakfast pastries, fruit, small sandwiches, juice, coffee & tea awaited us. We also saw Alberto who had greeted us last night. Another couple from France also came in while we were there & we visited with them briefly. Maria told us she spoke very little English. She & Alberto are from Italy. I am anxious to hear more about this beautiful place they have developed here. I met one of their two cats, Violetta, who was making herself comfortable in Alberto' s office where he was doing business on his computer. Maria told us Ampora had phoned & confirmed that they would be picking us up at 9:00.
Wine Tour #1
Rami, a good-looking young Argentinian picked us up at 9:00 for the wine tour to the Uco Valley, a full-day tour including a gourmet luncheon at one of the three wineries we would visit. Two other couples, one from New York & a younger couple from Toronto were already on the van. We enjoyed all of them a lot through the day.
After driving about an hour, we arrived in Tupangato for our visit at Bodega Atamisque, a newer winery(all of the Uco Valley is newer by winery, vineyard standards). Our initial impression was that the winery was still under construction ( and part of it is) But it was actually a medium size winery, and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the tastings. Their Atammisque Assemblage was the best one in Pancho y Margarita's opinion.
After our visit there, took off for Giminez Riili Family Winemakers. We met Frederico, one of five brothers who are third generation vintners. His two grandfathers were vintners from Spain who came to Mendoza where Each one started a winery . Apparently children of the two married, now generation two , & then the five brothers (now Giminez- Riili Familia) had their own wineries. The winery we visited is VERY new. It has a very small visitor area, but quite comfortable & cozy. We were joined on our tour by Frederico's young son (maybe 3 years old). His name is Santiago"Santi". Cute little guy & obviously comfortable with our guide Rami. After a tour of the small winery, we were seated around a small square table on a patio & enjoyed a pleasant wine-tasting, complete with cheeses & quince, & then, to go with the special Malbec, we had a treat of very tasty carne empanadas (traditional Argentinian little hot turnover type sandwiches stuffed with a very good beef filling.
Time to move on to Winery #3 - O'Fournier in San Carlos. This is a rather renowned winery, very modern, expensive building, with art galleries. It had an almost "James Bond-ish" feel - or futuristic. It was definitely an interesting contrast to the small family-owned winery we had just visited. The building & the production area were a photographer's delight. Margarita y Conejita are hoping some of their many photos reflect this! After touring the winery, we entered the dining room for our gourmet lunch and wine tasting. We had a variety of many interesting foods during our lunch and of course, delicious wine pairings. During lunch, we dined with the beautiful Andes Mountains in view. The main feature of the Uco Valley (besides the wonderful vino) is the BEAUTIFUL landscape.
Well-fed and with our fill of many "tastes" of vino, we got in the van for the
1-1/2 hr. drive back to our cottage. Our driver has had several very interesting musical pieces to interject on our drive. As we topped a hill overlooking our first view of The Valley, the speakers loudly played Bonanza. Later, Chariots of Fire. The drive home started with a disco video, music and accompanying light show! We were all ready for naps. I guess that wasn't supposed to happen! It was really funny seeing these tired , but happy, wine tasters disco-ing from their seats!
It was a great day, but at 6:00, we were ready to return "home" and enjoy our little casita and its surrounding park grounds. We had had a BIG lunch and none of us could even think of having dinner. We decided our leftover pizza from the night before would be fine for later. I didn't mention yesterday that we love our little cottage in the park. There is a main house, and four 2-story cottages in a beautiful tree-filled park-like setting. The guest buildings are all named after trees. There are 2 cottages that have 2 bdrms. & 2 baths each, and share a living room area, kitchen & patio. The other 2 cottages have 2 separate 1-bdrm. units each, one up & one down. Each unit has a small kitchen,& sitting area, plus a patio ( if lower level) or small balcony are (if upper). The main house was built by Maria & Alberto about 30 years ago for their family. I think I said yesterday that both were from Italy originally. Actually, Alberto is from Buenos Aires.. He showed us a picture of their lovely "park" when they bought it ---- a totally bare piece of property! They decided to plant their park, many varieties of trees, many fruit trees!, and flowers. Gardening is a hobby for both of them. At some point they decided to share their beautiful place with others & started to build the cottages. They built without disturbing their plantings ( or jungle, as Alberto calls it, & this is a quite apt description!) Although the cottages sit fairly close together, each is surrounded by trees that create an arbor & private little spot in paradise. There is also a lovely pool, a swing set area, a small grape arbor, a brick barbecue grill and other interesting things to look at besides the flowers & trees.
Originally, breakfast was brought to each cottage individually (B&B style), but the completion of their sunroom allowed the breakfast to be served there. Drinks are also available for later in the day, so Pancho & Miguel enjoyed a couple cervezas while Margarita & Conejita wandered the grounds finding many interesting things to photograph. Besides the obvious flowers & trees, there were interesting light fixtures, windows, doors & hardware. Even the sidewalks were interesting! Every couple feet there were imprints of leaves , branches & flowers, pressed into the cement when it was set!
We finally returned to our little cottage to relax, enjoy our leftover pizza, and bemoan the fact that we had to be packed up to leave here in the morning before we would leave for another wine tour.