There is no better way to experience Lujan de Cuyo than by bicycle! The main town in this region is Chacras de Coria – a sleepy upscale suburb of Mendoza that is so quaint and fun to meander even without the added benefit of all the gorgeous wineries peppered throughout.
We were there in the springtime and luckily had enough days to bike both Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo. I wrote a post about our experience in Maipu but also want to share our experience in Lujan de Cuyo, which we liked quite a bit better.
There’s no public transportation option to get to Chacras de Coria but it’s only about 25 minutes away and you can take an Uber easily. Or you can do what we did and book a tour with Baccus Bikes that includes pick up and drop off.
We rented bikes with Baccus Biking and they were very nice and accommodating. Communication was good, and their bikes were a step above the bike rental shop in Maipu. Their helmets were slightly less grungy also, which was nice. They even gave us a bike lock so we could secure our bikes while they were parked at the wineries.
Like at Maipu Bikes, we got a map with wineries marked on it and they reviewed the route and winery hours with us before we were on our way. Compared to the bike route in Maipu, this one was a veritable maze and we definitely consulted the map regularly when we were biking.
However, there were no streets marked “off limits” and “dangerous” so the prospect of taking a wrong turn didn’t feel nearly as scary.
The region of Lujan de Cuyo is a residential suburb of Mendoza. If you’re planning a trip here, no doubt you will come across many guest houses located in the main town, Chacras de Coria.
We opted to stay in Mendoza for our entire stay and I’m glad, as the area seems pretty low key and sleepy.
The streets here are quiet and tree lined and pass by many very nice homes. We enjoyed looking at all the big houses and speculating about how much they cost.
A few of the roads are wider and accommodate faster traffic but they all had very nice bike lanes. We did encounter a snarl of traffic near a school but while there were a lot of cars to maneuver around, they were moving at a slow crawl so it was no big deal.
There were six wineries marked on the map:
- Nieto Senetiner
- Alta Vista
- Carmelo Patti
- Clos de Chacras
We managed to make it to two of them. Three if you count our attempt to visit Alta Vista where we were turned away because we didn’t have a reservation.
Most of the reason that we made it to only two wineries was because we fell in LOVE with Viamonte.
For one, the tour guide was Canadian which meant her English was native and she could easily field our bizarrely curious questions. She was also extremely affable, as Canadians are wont to be.
We were talked into a tour instead of just a tasting and the tour turned into a meandering walk with guide and winemaker that ended in a double tasting for both of us (normal tasting and the reserve blend tasting), plus a couple of extra tastings including a side by side comparison of a glass of “good” wine versus a glass of the same wine but a bit oxidized.
Of course, after drinking all that wine we had to stay for lunch and a walk around the grounds to help us digest.
Before we knew it, several hours had passed and we were ready for a nap.
If you go to one winery anywhere in Mendoza, I recommend Viamonte. Their wines were awesome, the tour informative, the grounds impressive, and their food – amazing!!
Bodega Carmelo Patti was about as different as you can get from Viamonte. Where Viamonte is a sprawling estate with manicured grounds surrounded by acres of vines, Carmelo Patti is tucked away in a residential side street, with no signage, and looking for all the world like just another house.
After we biked up the long drive, towards the back of the building, we could see a large covered area, filled to the brim with crates and pallets of wine. Inside a small outbuilding was Carmelo himself, standing at a folding table covered by a vinyl tablecloth, ready to talk to you about his wines.
But the simple decor belies a long and prestigious history for Carmelo Patti, as we soon noticed the walls and bookcases that were covered with press clippings and articles about him in various wine specialty and other magazines.
Unfortunately, Carmelo’s wine tasting was in Spanish only so we missed out on some good explanations but were luckily still able to enjoy the wine.
Could we have made it to more than two wineries in the five and a half hours we were biking? Yes. Would we have had it any other way? Nope.
The biking in Chacras de Coria was lots of fun and much more scenic than Maipu. However, the directions were less straight forward and we spent a decent amount of time consulting the map and the maps on our phones.
The wineries themselves had more structured times for tours and tastings than in Maipu and some of them even required reservations. However, the ambiance of the town and the warm reception at the wineries we did go to, more than made up for any small inconveniences.