and when i turned to the west i was met by the Andes towering over the vineyard
To the Chandon Argentina Botega (Winery).
The Mendoza Province in which we are staying is considered the heart of the winemaking industry in Argentina and accounts for nearly two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua,
vineyards are planted at the some of the highest altitudes in the world with the average site located 1,970–3,610 feet (600–1,100 meters) above sea level. In terms of grape varieties Malbec has emerged as the most important variety followed, in planted acreage, by Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Back to Chandon, we had a very informative tour of the cellar
followed by a refreshing tasting in the very spacious and light filled building
of a selection of their sparkling wines
Part of this ride wasnt as pictureqsue as we had to peddle along the sparse highway and i tightly held my skirt down so it wouldnt fly up when the big trucks passed (this happened once much to the delight of the following truck who responded with a loud toot! 😦 )
And sat down to an 5 step feast of amazing meals designed solely to complement the selction of wines … mmmm We started with caramelize leek and carrot on a skewer flavoured with a citrus emlusion paired with a Citrusy Sauvignon Blanc. Followed by a delicious sweet and sour pork empanada with roasted onions and raisins (empanadas are local to Argentina but can simply be described as a gourmet sauage roll haha) paired with a Cabernet Savignon from 2009 – the pairing of wine and cuisine is really a scientific thing, blending flavours for desired chemical reactions – and with this pair the chef got it spot on – it was incredible and definitely my favourite out of the lot
Though the other dishes were still amazing, including step three – a smoked pumpkin terrain, crust with sun dried tomatoes, merlot sediments and plums paired with a Ruca Malen Merlot which was 87% Merlot and 13% Tempranillo
And for the main course (although i would have been completely satisfied with just the prior three!) we were presented a huge beef tenderloin medallion with baked potatoes and zucchini on a cheese and almond pesto paired with a smooth Cabernet Savignon from 2006 to complement the vegetables AND a full bodied and slightly spicy Malbec for the beef
Feeling like stuffed prized piggies (none of us could finish the beef) we had a shot of refreshing chardonnay, lemon and rosemary granitee before the incredible dessert of Panna cotta and fresh fruits that again, none of us could finish!
Eventually we mustered the energy (feeling a siesta would have been perrrrrfect) to hop back on our bikes in the glaring sun and get our behinds into action as we pedalled back a few km’s
While i am doing my best to soak in all of the information offered by the Sommeliers and wine experts, when i return to my room and walk beneath the vines full of plump grapes ripe for picking
i dont have the self control to think of their long term significance and quickly pinch a few whilst no one is looking – SO good.