When in Mendoza, happiness tastes like an old wine
Simple, but happy life tastes like good wine, combined with tasty parilla (Argentinian barbeque), next to thousands of green trees surrounded by imposing mountains, on a sunny but not extremely hot day! This is what we felt when we reached Mendoza after almost 50 hours of travelling by bus from the cold and windy Punta Arenas in Chile.
For those of you who wonder why we chose to take a bus instead of a plane, the answer has three parts. On one hand, it costs us 5 times less than a plane, we were able to admire the whole Patagonia, the Andes, the lakes, the volcanoes on the road and…we were not in a rush. On the other hand, the experience of having 3 border stamps from Chile and 3 from Argentina in less than 3 days hours is priceless! There is only one road that links Southern and Central Chile which passes through Argentina and it keeps entering and exiting the 2 countries. We are now experts in crossing borders once or twice a day.
But let’s come back to the happy life in Mendoza, the “Bordeaux” of South America, center of Argentinian wine industry, surrounded by snowy peaks of the Andes and situated not far from Aconcagua (at around 7000m it is the highest mountain in South America). With more than 80 000 trees, it seems like a city in a park, all green and providing pleasant shadow on hot days. It gives the feeling of an omnipresent “art de vivre”, with siesta still being part of everybody’s everyday life, with good wine at every corner, good food (I had the best grilled chicken ever and The Bear had all possible beef parts and he declared them yummylicious), nice houses full of charm…a good place to retire one day.
Thousands of wineries (“bodegas”) with tens of thousands of vine hectares surround the city, specializing mostly in Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Chardonnay and Carmenere. Of course we couldn’t miss the chance to visit few of them and that’s when the happiness went even higher with each wine tasting. Our favorite was a 2013 red Reserve from Vistandes winery, but considering that it was the last one we tasted, this decision could have also been influenced by our “alegria”… However, we had visited wineries before, so the production process and all other “technical” details were not that interesting. But we managed to stop our thirst for new things in an olive plantation where we were explained the olive oil and vinegar production processes. The highlight was the tasting at the end, with all kind of “virgins”, “extra virgins” and sweet vinegars for desserts. Yes, we started with wine and finished with olive oil…delicious olive oil! Isn’t that happiness?