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Argentine Wine is Mighty Fine

December 14th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

And being in Mendoza is a pretty good way to experience that.

When Tracy and I arrived at Mendoza’s bus terminal at 8am the other day we were soon met by a woman who thought we might like to rent one of her furnished tourist apartments for our stay (there’s something about standing next to a heap of luggage with nose buried in a copy Lonely Planet that really gives you away as a tourist).  She (and her husband Julio who soon joined us) seemed friendly enough and the idea of having our own place with a kitchen for a paltry 120 pesos a night enticed us to agree to give the place a look.

It was probably at about block 4 of our 5-block walk to their car when the wisdom of NOT getting into the car of someone who just picked you up at the bus station kicked in, so we ultimately declined with our apologies and said we’d circle back with them after taking some more time to orient ourselves in the city.  (Paranoid?  Maybe.  But in fairness we’d watched the new Will Smith movie the night before during the bus ride.  You know, the one where he offs himself with a jelly fish in an ice bath in order to donate his organs and be a hero.  We as scraggly travelers may not have cash enough to justify such an elaborate ruse by would-be evil doers, but our organs are in fab shape, yo.)

We did circle back with them the next day.  After a one-night stay at the good-time party hostel Damajuana (that looks and acts like a frat house) for 170 pesos, complete with shared bathroom and sudden blaring tunes at 2am, we were in a good place to appreciate the heck out of Nancy and Julio’s offerings*.  With kitchen, air conditioning, and peaceful sleeping conditions we are delighted.  AND after now three nights I’m pleased to report that NOT A SINGLE organ of ours has been harvested.

Right then, so about wine: I’ll not go too much into our bike tour of neighboring Maipu’s wineries as it got cut short by the rare privilege of getting to experience what must have been the bulk of desert-like Mendoza’s annual 200mm of rain (this may have been for the best, as I’m still feeling the effects of the hard plastic seats after a mere 13km).  It was the Vines of Mendoza wine tasting room that really captivated my interest: for 60 pesos you can do what’s called a “flight of wine”, or a carefully selected progression of 5 glasses of wine complete with insightful descrption of each.

I am still at a place where drinking wine usually amounts to sipping quasi-grape juice with a kick, of variable nummy-ness, and that hopefully doesn’t burn too much going down.  I still like it, I just don’t have many distinctions by which to appreciate the difference between, say, top shelf vs. three-buck-chuck.  That said, having a little card that tells me what subtleties to notice and enjoy does wonders for helping my suggestible little brain appreciate the particulars of one specific wine versus the next.  Tracy and I both became fans of 4 out of the 5 wines in our flight, and were moved enough to buy a dozen bottles, shipped to her folks’ place in time for the holidays.  Y’all please let me know if any pretentiousness about my expanding wine appreciation creeps into my day to day conversing, ok?

In two hours we paraglide.  Soon I’ll know if it gives as much of a buzz as the rapid fire wine tasting we did to pick bottles 10, 11, and 12 of the aforementioned dozen!


*It should be noted that I LOVED those kinds of hostels during Eurotrip ’04, and I’m struck by how strongly the sentiment “I’m getting too old for this” resonates here.  Makes me seriously wonder: am I going to yell at kids to get off my lawn someday, too?

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