In the morning after again waking to the view of the majestic Andes,
we drove in our hired car to the Valley Uco which is another reputable wine area within the Mendoza region. On the way we passed many red shrines
which i later found out were for the Red Gaucho who is celebrated on the 8th of January. The story goes that the Argentine cowboy, Gaucho Gil,
deserted military duties that he thought to be wrong and was captured in 1875 and hung from the tree that acts as a year round shrine in Mercedes. Many people believe that they can pray to Gaucho Gil and he will intercede and persuade God to grant them favors. He takes the place of Jesus for them.
First stop was the Salentein Winery and their Kilka Culutral Centre which houses a private collection of 19th and 20th Dutch art (the owner is from Holland) and also contemporary Argentinean works
We then joined a group tour led by a strapping young man
to learn all about the high altitude conditions for cultivating their wine and the various processes involved and walked through towards the main spectacle, the cellar building where all the action happens
The grand cellar is shaped like a cross and has four wings each containing a smaller two tiered cellar with steal vats for fermentation on the top and oak barells storing the wine below. The four cellars come together in a central chamber that resembles a grand amphitheatre –it was all a tad over the top but nevertheless impressive.
On the way out we peaked into the wineries chapel designed to be at one with the environment and to not have anything to distract you from your own personal contemplation
for another gourmet dining experience similar (it was actually even better!) to the day before
As we ate a storm brewed outside
but luckily we made it home without coming under attack from the golf size hailstones that had effected others areas! We had a beautiful -light- dinner under and enjoyed our last night in Mendoza