Some feelings, like the love of wine, are experienced unconditionally. For this feeling you are ready to do anything – to fan its fire in difficult times, to resist it when you have no other choice, but most of all, you enjoy every moment of your love of wine.
Different people show their love in different ways, but the common thing among all wine lovers is the desire to take pleasure in many wonderful moments in a long and happy life. We have been active wine lovers all around the world and we have never missed a chance to try anything interesting and traditional. We have stumbled upon lovely and quite a lot bad wines, but that is how it is with love – you don’t give up just because of some problems.
Mendoza was a long-awaited stop in our journey through South America. As it turned out, there were about twenty other activities in and around the city, but who cares?
Wineries till you count to 1200, vineyards all the way to the horizon, this is Mendoza according to 90% of the visitors.
While we were being frozen by the wind in Patagonia the thought of a glass of Malbec warmed us. While we were sweating buckets in the scorching streets of Buenos Aires, the thought of a glass of Torrontes cooled us down. We could see ourselves riding bikes through Maipu valey, raising dust along with many other enthusiasts in a race towards the next winery. We wondered how we would manage to stay upright on the bike after the third wine tasting, we thought about all the shenanigans we’d get up to on the road. It turned out we were not to find out, the accident on Perito Moreno made sure of that. Instead of bikes and wine we settled on wine only.
The most logical thing to do, when you don’t ride a bike, is to make the most of the wine. In support of this slogan we spend the whole day in four wineries, which made the effort to impress us. Even though our memories blurred after so many tastings, let’s see what happened before I submerge myself in the depths of a rival Chilean wine…
Argentina is proud of the sudden change in the quality of their production 20 years ago. It is said that they used to make table wine, nothing special but things changed and now even the Argentineans themselves drink more of their own elegant wines. Along with the self-confidence comes the difficult task to convince the foreigners of the high quality. You have to admit it, it is hard to grow a vineyard in the desert and they have amazing irrigation systems. The same can be said about the hail protection. No expenses had been spared by the richer wineries in assuring protection, not to mention the standard markers like rose bushes. While the Uco Valley enjoyed different climate and altitude, here in Lujan they made more of an effort to preserve their traditions and their reputation. In the older wineries we were impressed by the concrete fermentation tanks, which are considered to be better than their modern counterparts.
Benegas were founded around 1908 and the owners have several wine cellars. They had a long cellar, full of French oak as far as the eye can see and special cells with several samples of every vintage and wine. What a prison to be locked in! They brought us rosé wine as a welcome gesture, young Chardonnay, Malbec for a meeting with friends, Sangiovese (rarely found in Argentina, apart from blending) and as a finish – Cabernet franc from 2006.
Cruzat have specialized in the production of sparkling wines. The interesting part was that we specialized in bottling classic extra brut. Only after getting familiar with this complicated production process were we allowed to enjoy a blend of 60/40 Pinot Noir to Chardonnay and Rosé Extra Brut from Pinot Noir. We had to drink our own bottle with tilted label that same evening…it was obvious that we had picked up a little from the professionalism…
Finca Decero is a wine cellar, which started from scratch, but the result is impressive. Apart from the romantic view of the mountains and the green rows of grapevines, the restaurant took care to dill our bellies with gourmet meals. We insisted on the wine again – Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and the jewel in the crown – Petit Verdot.
Alta Vista welcomed us directly in their tasting hall where we started off with rosé of medium quality, we continued with the deceiving Torrontés, then a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, later a Malbec from 2009 to finish with a blend of Malbec to Cabernet Sauvignion – the bottle was 800 pesos on sale. Some of the wines of this cellar make it to the wine charts like The 100 best wines. They achieved ratings of 90+ in the vintage charts of WE, WA and so on.
A sunny day, a lot of wine! You could tell that we liked it by our reddened cheeks and dreamy gazes. Full of ideas about what we were going to drink in the next restaurant and what to grab from the next shop, we headed slowly towards the heat of Mendoza. It truly is a desert! But after sampling its fruits, we only wish for more such deserts! Amen!
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
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