Mendoza is a dreamy place. It's easy to see why we ran into so many honeymooners and world travelers while there, the romance grabs you and swings you into a whirlwind. The tree lined streets are magnificent, there are parks on every other corner, stained glass buildings and old world passion. Authenticity is around every corner, in the wine, green spaces and red meat daring you to take another step. The color pallet is a simple one; the bluest blues of a dry hot sunny day, perfect fruit of the loom purple, deep forest greens, oaky wood and white capped mountains. In the span of a sip one understands life's greatest balance, the perfect blend of sun, water, vines, energy and sugar.
Our 2012 Carnival was the antithesis to last year. We went from booming drums. glitter filled chants and bouncing ladies in the city of Samba to quiet evenings in starlit courtyards, keeping the day's hour always with a glass in hand and eating like the gluttons of glory day Rome. You can't compare and both were simply exquisite.
Mendoza has three main wine producing areas, The Uco Valley, Maipu and Lujuan de Cuyo. Each has their own bit of history and significance and if you look at a bottle of Malbec most likely the valley will be mentioned. The Uco Valley has the most posh, is the most well known and has the highest elevation. Most people compare it to Napa 20 some years ago back when there were family owned wineries with big old red trucks hauling equipment around the fields and corporations running the business were no where to be found. Brothers and sisters run the winery because its all they know, trying to preserve their grandparents history back when wine was but a bottle of red or a chilled glass of white. Introducing grape varieties and a preference for quality over quantity is fairly new. Argentina always produced a lot of wine, more than any other place outside of Europe but they consumed 90% of it, those selfish (seriously good looking) cowboys! But after the early 90's they realized the potential in exporting and coupled with the downfall of the peso and the upswing of tourism, they began to perfect their Malbec. Today they play host to a few special, only found in Argentina grapes like Torrontes and Bonarda but their Malbec with 25,000 hectares (in all of Argentina) is the most popular. From what we hear however, Bonarda is the next big thing so look out for it in stores as it is momentarily cheap as so few people know of it.
I would highly recommend Ampora Wine Tours, I can't say enough good things about the cooking class and the wonderful tours. Make sure you eat at the famous 1884, Francis Mallmann's famous digs as he is the chef del dia in Argentina and soon to open a restaurant in Napa. My girlfriend was there around the same time and we both agree, try and stay in the city for a night or two and then retreat to a finca in the country. The fincas have small wineries and the particular one we stayed at had a pool right in the middle of the vineyards. Can't beat that!
Mendoza is quiet and civically beautiful, the country side it's juicy sweet and rustic companion. Both are waiting for you...
finca in Chacras de Coria
chef Laura from cooking class who was AWESOME
ahh the Andes
the fancy winery, O. Fournier
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