Contradicting Popular Opinion with my thoughts on Mendoza

I made an excursion out to Mendoza last Tuesday for one last grass-fed-steak-for-pocket-change in Argentina before I leave Sud America next week. Mendoza is the country’s wine capital, producing over 70% of all Argentine wine, and since I love nothing more than a round, fruity Malbec, I hopped on the 7 hour bus across the Andes to visit the vineyards.

crossing the border into Argie one last time

crossing the border into Argie one last time

I was expecting Mendoza to be some sort of foodie’s paradise, with wine flowing from faucets and olive trees growing out of the sidewalk. Instead, I found discount stores selling household odds and ends and souvenir shops selling “artisanal” wine to the naive tourist. I appreciated Mendoza’s lack of charm, however, (they weren’t tryin’ to kiss up to nobody!) and instead focused on the consumption of wine during all hours of consciousness, interspersing my Bacchus stint with a bikeride through some vineyards and a ginormous hunk of Bife de Chorizo.

assload of malbec grapes

assload of malbec grapes

Hangin' with Mr. Hugo, the bike rental man, after visiting some vineyards. Can you see my wine-stained teeth? I swear I'm not a vampire.

Hangin' with Mr. Hugo, the bike rental man, after visiting some vineyards. Can you see my wine-stained teeth? I swear I'm not a vampire.

Felix dives into his steak like a shark.

Felix dives into his steak like a shark.

I left Mendoza feeling ambivalent about the whole experience…it was a massive effort to haul myself across the border again (warning to all those who ever plan to cross here; the po po’s are the strictest I’ve encountered) and also to get out to the vineyards. It was kind of a field trip I felt like I had to do as I am rounding out my last days here. I didn’t check out as many wineries as I wanted to because of distance and cost, and the vineyard tours were filled with oenephile wannabes- the whole experience just seemed better suited for a couple with a cash flow. Well, what’s done is done and I have moved on from Argentine Malbec to Chilean Carmenere.

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~ by ceciliabien on March 24, 2009.

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