An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Floating in a Rio of Malbec

Oh yes, in Mendoza there is fantastic wine everywhere. I bet you couldn't buy a bottle of rotgut if you tried. At the one and only Mendoza milonga (more info next post), there was even a wine list of great bodegas--not like the red, white, or sparkling choices in the milongas of Buenos Aires.

One major highlight of our Mendocino stay was a full-day private wine tour organized by Javier Inzaurraga, the son of the owner of the B&B where we stayed (Plaza Italia.) We left early in the morning in his car and were soon tasting delicious vinos tintos around the fire in the cozy lounge of an antique winery at the foot of the snow-covered Andes...sigh. We hit a few more wineries before having a gourmet lunch at another one, Ruca Malen, with more crystal goblets on the table than food!

We thought we were done after that, but we visited another spectacular bodega with subterranean tasting rooms that should be photographed for Architectural Digest, if they haven't been already.

Having been to Napa, Sonoma, and Mendecino valleys in California, and several wine regions in France, the comparisons are obvious. To my eye, I would describe the landscape as like that of Santa Fe, New Mexico, topped by the snowy and spectacular Andes. We were there in late fall and I had been worried that the vineyards would not be as lovely to see as in the summer, but the colors had turned and it was gorgeous. I hope we can return in another season, but autumn has always been my favorite time of the year anyplace I go.

What's so interesting about the wine industry of Mendoza is that it is pretty much run and marketed by Americans. Our first night, we headed over to the Plaza Independencia to visit The Vines, a beautiful, sophisticated space for only degustacion. They won't even sell you any wine, just membership in their wine club, which ships from California. We had a great tasting of 5 wines conducted by pretty and bilingual Gisella Cangialosi. The Vines will even sell you little plots of land so you too can be a vintner! But hurry, I think they are almost sold out!


Elizabeth said...

Ooh, this sounds like so much fun. did you find any vinos blancos? We have been trying some wines made with the torrentes, or torrantes grape. Very nice. Oh I would love to see this wine country. Maybe later this year.
Hugs to you both.

tangocherie said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Yes, they do feature some white wines as well, and you are correct about the torrentes. Deleesh. They also make a special vodka from grapes, which I would have loved to taste but didn't get to. Plus olive oil tasting is also quite big there. Next time.