After a week full of activities in Buenos Aires, we reached Mendoza on Friday night. Some Malbec and Cabernet as welcome drinks at the hotel got us in the spirit for the upcoming wine country experience the next day.
Finding a good place for dinner was not so difficult, but our large group posed a challenge for most restaurants in the small but busy town. So we decided to split; later many of us experienced some of the richest pizzas and sandwiches of their lives in a road-side tent.
Next morning, after doing the “where is Raj” check, we started our long awaited winery visits. On the way, Kate and Leona provided a much needed 101 on Wine. This basic education was enough for us to act like a group of wine snobs and argue over the smell, color and texture of the different wines that were coming our way later in the day.
A beautiful sunny morning and views of the snow clad Andes kept us outside of our first winery of the day (Achaval Ferrer), for a long time. Then we saw tanks and tanks of wine followed by a wine-tasting session. The wines were so delicious that most of us could not resist taking some home.
Next we went to Catena winery. It would be more appropriate to call it a wine-castle or a museum; from cellar to rooftop, everything in this winery was a remarkable piece of architecture. We learned a lot about wine making, the impact of soil and climate, maybe a little more than we had anticipated. The afternoon snacks rich with delicious cheese, empanadas and wines were absolutely worth the wait.
After a packed day and consuming plenty of wine we had a luxurious dinner waiting for us at the Club Tapiz. A place secluded from rest of the world, getting there after dark reminded of shots from a horror movie. The place had an unmatched retro look and luxury of its own class. No matter how “meaty” (as Paroma stated) dishes were in Buenos Aires, nothing could match the deliciousness of dinner at Tapiz. The group, including the faculty members, showed an exemplary camaraderie in sharing a surprise gift and supporting thoughts at the dinner for the victims of La-Boca. Later, most of us ended the night, or rather welcomed the morning, with a few moves on Latin beats in Mendoza.
After a late night, next morning we had just enough time to pack and catch breakfast before we head to airport. We still managed to squeeze in Norm’s “saving the Dolce” sprint at the last minute. Breathtaking views of Andes from the plane on a somewhat bumpy flight from Mendoza to Santiago made it a bit easier to say Adios to the beautiful wine country.