On my recent visit to Argentina, we had scheduled a few days in Mendoza. It is the main place where most of Argentine wine is made, we were to visit a couple of wineries. I was a bit sceptical about visiting these places, I like wine but am not a enthusiast, so was not too sure how much I would like these excursions. I learnt quickly that preconceptions can really cloud your mind and am glad to say that Mendoza broke every single one. First of all we had great weather, I think this had a lot to do with- we were surrounded by so much greenery its beyond belief! Warm and sunny climate with a cool gentle breeze set the mood.
We were picked up from our hotel and had a guide and a driver all to ourselves for the day (luxury indeed)! They took us to winery in the Lujan de Cujo region of Mendoza. The wineries they chose were excellent, the first one was only 10 years old called Vistalba (that’s relatively new in the wine making industry) and the other LaGarde which was 107 years old!
Vistalba with its ‘new age’ technology in wine making and designer cellars turned out to be informative and interesting. As this was our first ever winery visit we were just soaking up all the information that the guide was giving. All from how large the vineyards are to how long each type of wine takes to make, have to say I was so impressed by it all! How the flavours develop and why only oak barrelled containers are used to make wine. Apparently the wine develops better in oak than any other wood and the barrels are used only 3 times to make different levels of wine! The first batch of wine that goes in the barrel in left to age for about 18 -24 months (this is most expensive of the batch). The second batch of wine is 12- 18 months (which has a medium price range and the thirds batch is left age for 6-12 months the cheapest of all. This wine is usually recommended to be used in cooking.
By the time it came to visit the 2nd winery I was better informed on the production. LaGarde winery still uses the same process it did 107 years ago, the method of storage, wine making is so simple but there is a fair amount manual labour involved too! Also here we were shown of fizzy wine and champagne are made! Adding fizz the wine is a lot harder than it sounds. At least I can look at wine and champagne and say “ I know how you were made! ”.
I know this is a long post, but its wine folks- it deserves a special mention! 🙂