Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Mendoza: A Positive Initial Impression
Alive, where a plane carrying the Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes, and some of the survivors resorted to cannibalism. A bit morbid and gruesome (Ok, maybe more than a bit). But my flight had no problems and I safely landed in Mendoza.
Park Hyatt Hotel, a quite grand and elegant place. It has Old World charm but modern amenities, and you won't be disappointed staying here. We ate lunch outside on their patio, Fred and I sipped rose at their wine bar/store, and even gambled in their casino. In comparison to many U.S. casinos, it is fairly small, with a handful of table games and a bunch of slot machines. But limits are low, such as blackjack where you can play a hand for 10-25 pesos, about $2.50 to $6.00. I have broken even so far so that is not too bad. It sure beats losing.
Winebow, a wine importer and distributor who represents several producers in Argentina, we are seeing far more than just Winebow clients. In fact, about half the wineries we will visit are not Winebow clients. Their intention is to promote Argentina wine as a category, and not just their own client's wineries. For example, both of the wineries we visited on Monday are not Winebow clients. This has helped give us a more balanced view of the region, and I respect Winebow for arranging us to visit those wineries.
Francesco, an Italian restaurant, where we dined and drank wine with several winery representatives. The antipasto, pictured above, was a highlight, especially the fried olives. We got to drink several different wines, from a Zuccardi Torrontes to a Tomero Petite Verdot, a tease for the more in-depth tastings we would do the rest of the week. Overall, I enjoyed all of the wines, and a couple were even impressive. The winery people were all quite personable, jovial and informative. It was a nice, informal way to get an initial impression of them, as well as their wines. We even got to taste some Argentina olive oil, which was also impressive, especially that made with the Arauco olive.
Fred, and meet for the first time numerous other wine writers. Overall, it has been a very good group of people, and their combined knowledge and experiences have enhanced the trip. We all have our own unique perspective on wine, and it is always beneficial to hear those perspectives, as they can positively impact our own. Plus, we have had plenty of non-wine related conversations as well, from zombie flicks to CAFOs, from pets to favorite restaurants.
And I did get to eat a new animal as well!