Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bodega Benegas

On Wednesday I went on a winery tour with my cousin, Verena and her friend Milagros. The winery, Benegas, is one of several located in Mendoza. We chose this winery because a friend of theirs, Tola, takes English speaking tourists on winery tours, and this winery is one of the four stops they make. Not knowing how long it would take to get there, we ended up arriving an hour early. It wasn't hard to keep ourselves entertained. All three of us brought our cameras, and this was probably my favorite picture.

That's Verena taking a self protrait, with Milagros and me sneaking into the background.

The winery is rich in history. The founder, Tiburcio Benegas, began his first winery back in 1883. The original vineyard, named “El Trapiche”, became the largest vineyard in the province. Along with two others (a Chilean and a Californian) Tiburcio is considered to be one of the first pioneers in the wine industry in the Americas. He brought the first French grapevines to the region as well as very advanced technology. Sorry to be so vague, but I don’t know a lot about wine making.

I'm not sure of all the details, but from what I can recall, his family had to sell the winery in the 1970s due to financial hardship. All the vineyards were sold, with the exception of those which were used to create the family line of wines. However, a portion of the original winery, where we took our tour, was reclaimed by the Benegas family in 1998.

Tiburcio’s son, Frederico, took over the production of wine in 1998. Those vineyards the family held onto in the 1970s are still being used to create wine today.

The main building of the winery is one of the few remaing buildings built from adobe, a material no longer allowed for use in construction due to the frequency of earthquakes in this region. Underneath the main building is a stone cave where 270 barrels of wine are stored. There is no thermostat in the cave. Its location so far underground is the ideal temperature for wine, in both winter and summer.

Verena and me in the underground cave.

We sampled three wines. The first was a Chardonnay from the Family Line. The second was a Malbec from the Estate Line. And the third was a Meritage from the Benegas Lynch Line.

So basically: 1. Delicious. 2. Drinkable, and 3. Disgusting.

Me gusta el vino blanco más que el vino tinto.

The tour was a blast. I think I was just very excited to be around non-obnoxious English speakers. There was a couple from Denmark, a couple from Melbourne, and a lone traveler from Alabama. Here's a group shot:

Other things to note:

'Bodega' is Spanish for 'winery'.

And aside from making award winning wines, the Benegas family also has one of the largest collections of ponchos in the world.

Thankfully this was a wine tour, and not a poncho tour.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to see you all having a
    good time.

    Looks like chardonnay, in your
    hands, turns to gold. Glad you
    found a wine to your taste.

    Good to see you blogging ....
    more please.