Today we’re taking you on a full-day Bodegas Lopez tour featuring a country-style breakfast, a winery tour, a visit to the vineyards, lunch at the bodega’s restaurant, a wine-tasting and more!
Our Bodegas Lopez full-day tour
No trip to Argentina would have been complete without a detour to Mendoza, so, for our final week in the country, we invited my dad down from Canada and planned an itinerary that involved some vineyard and winery hopping. Who better to share a glass of Malbec with than my wine-loving Argentine father, am I right?
We kicked off our week of wine touring with a visit to Bodegas Lopez!
This is an established name in Mendoza’s wine-making scene, and they are also a popular bodega with day visitors seeing as they offer a mix of free and paid tours. Their free tour runs for 1 hour and includes a tasting of 1 red and 1 white wine. However, we were looking for something a bit more in-depth, so we signed up for El Estilo Lopez Todo el Año (The Lopez Style Year Round). This was a full day activity that included breakfast, a tour of the bodega, a tour of the champañera, lunch at their on-site restaurant, and a wine tasting.
The day was a blast, so let’s take a look back at exactly how things unfolded.
Country-style breakfast at the bodega
We arrived at Bodegas Lopez at 10:00 am where we kicked off our tour with breakfast; because you’ve got to get some food in your belly before you go wine tasting!
After checking in at the welcome centre, we went upstairs to the living room which had floor to ceiling windows and views of the Andes off in the horizon.
Here they had set up a hearty Argentine breakfast featuring pan casero (homemade bread), medialunas (croissants), facturas (pastries), criollitos (millefeuille lard bread), jamón crudo, butter, berry jams, orange juice, tea and coffee. It was divine!
We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and then, when we couldn’t stuff ourselves with any more bread, we went downstairs and met up with our guide for the day, Nicolás.
Tour of the Bodegas Lopez Winery
Now it was time to tour the bodega!
We happened to be there just as a truck full of grapes was arriving and unloading, so we got to watch that process. The grapes were dropped into a large metal bin, where a rotating destemmer separated the grapes from their stems.
We then watched as these grapes were crushed and pressed before continuing their journey on to fermentation.
It was fascinating stuff, but also, I’m a wine-drinker, not a wine-maker, so best to leave the details to the experts.
After a guided tour of the bodega and learning about the whole winemaking process from start to finish, it was time to visit the wines undergoing the ageing process.
We walked into a storage room with countless rows of wooden barrels, all of them French oak, and many of them large enough to qualify as studio apartments! Seriously, Nicolás opened the door so that we could peek inside an empty barrel and it reminded me of my very first studio apartment in South Korea.
The barrels were all stamped with the amount of wine they can hold, like 120HL, which would be 12000 litres of wine! But that was not even the biggest barrel of them all; we would see some real behemoths later on in the tour.
We finished up this portion of the tour with a look at the laboratory, where the enólogos, also known as wine geniuses, were conducting tests to ensure the wines were in tip-top shape and ready for bottling. They were wearing lab coats and everything! It would appear winemaking is both an art and a science.
Visit to the vineyards at the Champañera
Next up, we walked a couple of blocks over to the champañera, where they specialize in making champagne, champaña, espumante, sparkling wines, or whatever you want to call it.
They need to produce this wine in a separate area because the process is quite different and involves adding both sugar and yeast, something that cannot be done to their other wines.
The cool thing about touring the champañera is that we got to see the only part of the bodega where they still have vineyards on site. What was once countryside has developed into a city, so that means that the vineyards are a lot further out.
The oldest wine at Bodegas Lopez
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the tour was laying eyes on the oldest bottle of wine at Bodegas Lopez: the Chateau Vieux Gran Reserva from 1939!
To put things into perspective, that’s the year WW2 started, the year Batman made his first appearance, and the year nylon stockings went on sale for the first time ever. And that’s when this wine was bottled!
I asked about the price and it retails around 61,000 ARS, which was about $1,375 USD at the time of my visit.
I also learned that every person born into the Lopez family gets 500 bottles of wine from the year of their birth. They gain access to this wine once they turn 18 years old. An amazing present and imagine all the special occasions when they could enjoy that wine over the course of their lives.
Lunch at Rincón de Lopez Restaurant
At this point, we had been talking about wine for a few hours, so it was time to get some vino and lunch inside our systems.
We made our way to Rincón de Lopez, the bodega’s on-site restaurant that features an ever-changing menu paired with their very own wines.
We started lunch with a basket of fresh-out-of-the-oven bread rolls accompanied by a fluffy cream cheese dip with olive oil and pepper. Then came the starter of empanadas, two baked patties stuffed with ground beef and thinly chopped onions; they were beyond juicy! We had these with a glass of the López Sauvignon Blanc.
This was followed by a main of ojo de bife, which is the classic Ribeye steak, with a side of roasted crushed potatoes with coarse salt and garlic and a side of vegetables. The steak was cooked medium-rare, the meat was tender, and we enjoyed it with a glass of the Casona López Malbec.
Last but not least, our dessert was a passionfruit cheesecake with a chocolate base. It was a true work of art! We had this lovely dessert with a glass of Montchenot Extra Brut.
There was also tea and coffee on offer, but I was feeling beyond satisfied at this point!
Wine tasting in the cava
After lunch, it was time for the final event: a wine tasting in the cava!
The ‘cava’ is the wine cellar and at Bodegas Lopez it’s located in an underground red-brick labyrinth that wouldn’t seem out of place in a medieval castle. There was a central octagonal-shaped room where our guide Nicolás conducted the tasting.
Here we sampled an additional 4 wines, including Rosé Montchenot, Casona Lopez Cabernet, Montchenot 2009 (10 años), and Dulce Natural.
My favourite was the last one of the bunch, Dulce Natural, a sweet white wine that was light, fruity and delicate on the palate. When it comes to white wines, I tend to drink a lot of Riesling, and this Torrontés/Moscatel/Viognier blend was just right for me. I ended up buying a bottle to take back home for my mom, because we have very similar tastes in wine.
And that pretty sums up our day at Bodegas Lopez! We left feeling merry that afternoon and I pretty much napped in the taxi all the way back to Mendoza. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to our adventures in Argentina through wine country.
If you enjoyed reading about this wine tour, you may also be interested in our wine hotel stay in the outskirts of Mendoza!
Here’s a video of our full day Bodegas Lopez tour. We hope you enjoy it.
Many thanks to Bodegas Lopez for inviting us to spend the day at the winery in Argentina!