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Mendoza – More Wine Country

January 10, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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Mendoza, Argentina is a winery paradise at the foot of the Andes. It is known to be the Napa Valley of Argentina. While this region is well known for their incredible wine, being the fourth largest city in Argentina, Mendoza also has quite the funky nightlife. However, for wine and food lovers, it is Heaven, much like how I have pictured the wine regions of France. This midwestern town of Argentina just seems to have a flavor for every taste bud.

To get to Mendoza we took a bus from Santiago, Chile. The bus drove over and through the Andes. As frightening as it was at times, the views were incredible. To look up at the snow capped mountains and see the waterfalls flow through the them truly was a picturesque moment.

When we arrived the first night Tyler and I decided to walk around downtown, grab something to eat and get a feel for the city life of Mendoza. As we walked down the streets the blocks were filled with little bars, cafes, and restaurants. The funkiness reminded us of Dickson Street in Fayetteville, and continued on every street we turned down.

The next morning we were off to our first winery in Mendoza, Terrazas de los Andes. This winery was founded by a French Company Moet & Chandon in the fifties. The company sent their wine making director to explore this region of South America. They found the native soils to be very interesting, and impressive as they were able to obtain great quality wines even under the high altitude and climate conditions. So in 1959 Moet & Chandon founded Bodegas Chandon Argentina, their first french winery located outside of France. This was also the first French winery in Latin America, now well known by the name Terrazas de los Andes. The winery itself was much older than the winery we had visited in Santa Cruz, allowing us to have a completely different experience through the tour of the facilities. Much of Terrazas was filled with the history of their wine.

The fermenting process of the wine is done in stainless steel tanks, as most all wines are now, but they still had an original concrete tank from when they first began producing wine. Which I found most interesting due to its history. Back when wine was first being made in these concrete tanks, men had to clean the tanks after the fermentation process. To do the cleaning one man would crawl through a small hole in the front of the concrete tank and begin to clean, many people died from the fumes left by the fermentating of the wine. I still can’t believe people had to to die many years ago for others to enjoy wine!

Our second winery to visit was Bodega Ruca Malen, which is a small family owned winery. A man by the name of Jean Pierre Thibaud, an Argentinean coming from a French Family naturally had a passion for wine. His father held an incredible wine collection in the cellar of their country home outside Buenos Aires. One day it was discovered the cellar had flooded and all the labels were lost, so the family drank the finest wines of the world without knowing exactly what they were. They say Thibaud’s love for wine was spurred by the flood. Later in his life Thibaud met a frenchman by the name of Jacques Louis de Montalembert, and discovered they both had the same dream of starting a winery in the perfect climate of Mendoza, Argentina. The winery has continued to stay small, producing only premium wines as the two men had both wished.

Visiting this winery was a highlight of our time is Mendoza. The small, friendly atmosphere of the winery was a unique experience. The restaurant with gorgeous views of the vineyards sitting below the snow capped Andes was astonishing and an experience in itself. As a part of the winery tour the tasting was served with a five course meal. The pairing of the food and wine was just as incredible as the view before us.

Overall our wine experience in Mendoza was something we will take with us the rest of our lives. As much as we love wine, we have never been to a vineyard before this trip (at least while old enough to remember and enjoy). These visits were all made possible by an amazing family friend of ours. Thanks to him, Tyler and I have been able to truly experience the superb wineries of Chile and Argentina.

Adios,

T+C

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5 thoughts on “Mendoza – More Wine Country

  1. Chelsea and Tyler i am so happy for yall ! yall are given a FAIRYTALE to experience! i wish both of yall alot of fun but mostly safety.. BTW, your proposal pictures are amazingly beautiful! they were so good you dont even need an engagement pic session! ill keep enjoying traveling the world and all it offers thru your pictures and blogs! love you

  2. Sounds like y’all are having an amazing time! The blog is great and you both are so good with words! I cannot wait to read more! Love you both!!

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