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It’s difficult not to like Mendoza. Tree lined wide streets with water flowing at the edges, beautiful plazas and parks in abundance, and situated in the heart of Argentina’s prime wine growing country. It is a big enough city to have decent coffee, and an array of great eating spots, yet is small enough to retain a comfortable charm, where one can feel at ease after just a few hours wandering the streets.

The heart of the city was carefully laid out in a strict grid after a large earth quake destroyed the old city about 150 years ago. So, even though Mendoza is surrounded by semi desert landscapes, the designers were able to create a city that is shady and cool in the harsh summers, with irrigation running from the mountains to feed the city and the near by vineyards all year round, and wide streets and plazas to better cope in the event of another earthquake.

Water from the mountains looming in the backdrop of the city is also used to irrigate the nearby wineries, with days alloted for each parcel of land. The wine makers are able to strictly control the amount of water feed to the vines at the various stages of grape production. This water control and the hot consistent days and cooler nights have created perfect conditions for grape production, enabling the region to be the largest wine area in Latin America.

After bidding Adam farewell, I arrived in Mendoza for a week of Spanish classes, and plenty of wine tasting on the side. I had lessons untill 1pm each day, then filled the afternoons with homework, guitar practice on the roof top of my hostel, and long walks in the streets of the city (once it had awoken from a long lunch time siesta).

After Adam returned from his week of partying in Australia, we took a local bus to the nearby town of Maipu, the main wine producing area, hired bikes for the day and took off into the countryside. We were a bit shocked to find that all the vineyards charge for wine tasting- 15 to 20 pesos- and offered only sips of up to three wines to try (often the youngest and un-oaked varieties), seemingly making up for the lack of wine included by giving guests a tour of the winery and wine making process. Luckily we choose three quiet different wineries, as after a few of these tours you knew the speale by heart!  Our stops were all within 10 km of Maipu, through  picturesque country side, with long roads lined with mature plain trees, and tresselled vines either side . Needless to say Malbec is the clear winner in these parts, with Cabernet Sauvignon being the runner up.

The pick of the day was our last stop, at Tempus Albus, a new winery with a lovely roof top restaurant overlooking the small vine yard. Rather than the usual set up they had a self guided tour, and then for wine tasting generous samples (nearly full glasses) of three wines for a small price. We choose six between us, added a delicious cheese platter to the table, and settled into our surroundings in the sun.

Full of cheese and wine, rosy and tipsy, we sauntered happily back to Mendonza.

On our last day in town we managed to cook our own asado (BBQ)at the hostal, as the place was practically empty, and there was a grill in the back garden begging to be fired up. In our excitement we were a little too eager, not waiting for the fire to die down quite enough, and ended up with chared rather than grilled veges, but the  juicy Argentinean beef, morcillas, and chorizos were fantastic. Washed down of course with a local Malbec. Divine.


One Comment

  1. Enjoyed your new blogs. Looks like we need a return visit to the vineyards – maybe not for quite a while. weather looks a bit warmer at that time.
    Love Mum xxx

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