Some places just don’t motivate me to write. And this time Mendoza is one of them. Perhaps it is the weather or my choice of activities or the timing of the trip to Mendoza. I think I’m going to blame the timing of the journey since I’ve just said farewell to people I shared a special bond with during my exchange experience and may never see again. But I don’t want to let the timing of life destroy the potential beauty of Mendoza. So Marvellous Mendoza….
Crossing the Andes was an experience in itself. Honestly I did sleep for 90% of the six hour journey from Santiago to Mendoza. However, I was awake for the important part. The part where I had to fork out $100USD for the reciprocity fee to enter Argentina as an Australian citizen… and catch a glimpse of the beautiful snowy mountains.
According to the Lonely Planet book, it’s a crime not to travel to Mendoza and not visit the vineyards. Our first full day in the town we have a tour organised and are off to the vineyards. I’m not a wine drinker, nor know much about it, but I didn’t really want to commit a crime. In Mendoza, myself and Hannah, my main travelling companion are joined by a group of exchange students from Austria and France who have (naturally) a better understanding of wine than me. However, by the end of the tour, and after swallowing and savouring a variety of Malbec (the main wine from Mendoza), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir I did pick up a few tips:
- First step, examining the wine and its colour. The richer the colour the greater contact it has had with the grape skin. The deeper the colour the longer it has spent ageing in the wine barrel.
- Second step, swivelling the wine to bring out the tears of wine. After swivelling the wine, a faint undulating line will be left across the glass of the cup. The heavier particles will fall, creating the “tears”. The greater amount of tears indicates the greater amount of alcohol present in the wine.
- [Alcohol is produced from the fermentation of the sugar present in the grapes.]
- Finally, tasting the wine and the fruits mixed within its flavours. Fruit is never actually added to wine but is produced in the fermentation process and the natural flavours present in the oak barrels. Yeast strains are added to grape in order to react with its chemical compounds.
- Unfortunately my timing was off, June being the season when there is no produce in the vineyards and no visible production of the wine apart from their presence in the barrels so I wasn’t able to see wine production.
The remainder of our time in Mendoza is spent exploring the central park, San Martin. The next day the weather was perfect. A part from the trees lacking leaves and the bushes lacking the colours of flowers, the sky was blue, the grass was green and people were about enjoying the fresh air.
Hannah and I buy lunch food and attempt some sort of picnic in the park before renting some bikes, taking a map and headings towards the back of the park and up the hill to enjoy the views of the Andes and the town below.