24 December 2009

Wine, Wine, Wine and Sometimes Chocolate

Four days in Mendoza, four wineries, and more wine and chocolate than I can remember. Hmmm, delicious.

K's family - her mom, dad and sister - came down for the holidays, escaping the blizzards striking the midwest. They immediately left Santiago to join me and Piero in Mendoza. The two of us cooked up our own storm in the kitchen, with brown rice-based asparagus risotto, salad, fresh breads and cheeses, and of course, local wine. We ate until we were full, and then ate some more. We drank before, during and after dinner. And this, my friends, was our theme for Mendoza.

Argentina is the 5th largest producer of wine in the world and Mendoza is at the heart of it all. Our first full day here was a relaxing day of walking around the city, enjoying the tree-lined streets and numerous parks and plazas. We hiked up Cerro de la Gloria for a great panoramic of the city. Day two was spent on four winery tours. Many of the people at the wineries had been to UC Davis because of their wine expertise and proximity to Napa/Sonoma. We downed more glasses of wine than anybody cares to remember, to the point where we swore off wine forever. Or at least until the next afternoon. On Day three we recovered from Day Two, until we started reliving the joys of day two by imbibing the bottles we bought at the wineries. All of this wine was accompanied by vegetarian dishes lovingly created by Chef Alisa.

We did eat out two times. One night Piero, Dennis, Marilyn and I went to an bar-b-que buffet. At only $8 per person, we easily plowed through a few cows and a cart of ice cream. If Argentina is known for three things it is: tango (which we have yet to taste), wine (see above), and the best beef in the world. It definitely delivered on the meat. However, we were also able to find a vegetarian buffet on another day. I believe it was the best vegetarian food I've ever had. It was also the only veggie buffet I've been too.

My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the good food we've eaten. Mendoza is a rather pleasant city and the wineries are muy fantastico. I definitely like Argentina!

After a few days in the city though, we were all ready to hit the road and find some mountains for Christmas. . .

The royal treatment from our friends at Piatteli Vineyards. Because we know the owners back in the States, we got to drink straight from the barrel, the steel taps, and our tour was led by the wine master. They also delivered three bottles to our apartment for later enjoyment.

After another thorough wine tasting at Bressia Vineyards

Piero drinking straight from the tap at Piatteli Vineyards

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