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Salud from Mendoza

sunny 32 °C

The Andes loom over the city of Mendoza like a giant umbrella and shelter it from all but the most persistent rains. The city and its surroundings should be as dry as a bone in the mountains' shadow yet its boulevards and parks are just brimming with century old trees...
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Mendoza is hot, with mid-summer temperatures reaching into the 40s, but its ultra-wide boulevards, traffic free zones and living canopy make it a great place for pedestrians. Restaurants, cafes and bars,flow onto the shady sidewalks and allow residents to escape the searing sun during the afternoon siesta until the stores and offices re-open at 6pm.
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The restaurants don't re-open until 8.30 or 9 but that gives us plenty of time for a pre-dinner drink and, as Mendoza is the wine capital of Argentina, drinking is both easy and cheap. This pleasant little local Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve cost about three Canadian dollars...
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The Mendoza region is blessed with dozens of major wineries. Many Spanish vintners set up shop here after the rapacious phylloxera aphids spread from North America to Europe and wiped out their Old World vineyards in the late 1800s. With good soil and plenty of sun the missing ingredient was water in Mendoza. However, the meltwater from the snow capped peaks and glaciers of the nearby Andes was easily chanelled and the city and the desert soon bloomed...
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The Lopez winery was founded in 1898 on the outskirts of Mendoza and is still a family business producing 20 million bottles a year and our 'private' tour of the winery was one of the most informative we have ever enjoyed. (It was private because no other English speakers showed up for the free 2 hour visit and wine tasting). Our guide, Nicolas, gave us the works from the 30,000 litre French oak barrels...
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To the glittering stainless settling and filtering tanks...
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And this ancient British steam powered fire engine in the museum...
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And then, the best bit, where we had an in-depth lesson on wine tasting and even got to try several very generous glasses of their wine including some of their most expensive...
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Sad to say, but we actually preferred the plonk. However, we now consider ourselves experts. Unfortunately the Lopez wines are not sold in Canada, (in fact few of the 20 million bottles are sold outside of Argentina). However, Nicolas suggested that we should take at least one bottle home with us – and James chose this one...
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It may seem a romantic notion but the next time you are enjoying a glass of Argentinian wine from Mendoza pause to reflect on the fact that every drop of grape juice squeezed into the bottle began life high in the Andes as a glacier.

Posted by Hawkson 13:56 Archived in Argentina

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Comments

And a good bottle of wine with your 8:30 dinner. What a great way to spend the day.

by R and B

Good choice Jim. Looks like a delightful region. Beautiful tree lined streets. Very inviting. Beats our cold rainy Vancouver day.

by Sue Fitzwilson

A rare bit of restraint? Does present problems with carry on though. Another lovely city - thanks for the introduction.

by Tom

Need to get to LCBO to check out the Mendoza range, Salut!

by kenhuocj

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