martes, 18 de mayo de 2010

Mendoza! part 2

The last bits about my trip to Mendoza.
After the last night with Juan, Lucas, and Negro up at the hostel in Potrerillos, we woke up early and headed back to Mendoza to make a wine tasting tour that we had booked for 2:00pm. We barely made the bus, but we made it and took a long windy way back to the city. We had to find a new hostel to stay at since our reservations fell through at Huellas Andinas, but we found one just in time to lock up our stuff and rush over to the bus to get going on the wine tours.

 It was a beautiful drive there, with the Andes Mountains next to us covered in snow. When we got to the first one we were given a spiel on the process of making wine.

They squeeze the juice out of grapes that were picked at the perfect time of day to maintain sugar and acid levels. With this machine they separate the solid grape parts (sometimes including the stem) from the juice and use the solids for the wine making process. They either let the naturally present yeasts to ferment it into wine or mix in some cultured yeasts. 

It ferments in a metal vat at a cool temperature in a humid environment for 3-4 weeks, and then it is transferred to oak barrels for aging (9 months - 3 years depending on the desired quality).

The flavors from the oak wood become part of the wine the longer it sits to age. Less aging time yields a more fruity flavor, more time a more smooth, oak flavor. 

Then it is transferred into bottles and aged more, and sold. This is the general gist. We went to two different red wine wineries (which was good because what I didn't understand in the first tour got answered in the second tour).

Then we went to an Olive Oil plant. No one expected that, but it was fun. Not only did we get 2 wine tastings in the day, we got some olive oil samples. TO TOP IT OFF, we finished the tour with a bonus trip to an artesenal liquor shop. We got to sample any of the liquors or alcohols they produced, one of which included..  ABSINTHE!

I chose to sample absinthe 

because it is illegal in the USA and when else am I going to be able to? The guy lit some absinthe-soaked sugar on fire (the blue glow on the spoon), then mixed it into the mini-shot.

 Supposedly you see green fairies if you drink this stuff. 
I did not (only because I didn't have enough, I think ;) )

Let me tell you.. this stuff is strange. It burns, but it's not a painful burn. It's like drinking heat, and it traces your insides as it goes down. I couldn't do the shot all at once, I actually sipped on it til it was all gone.. I imagine that this is a much more torturous way to finish a shot of absinthe, but I also didn't want to brave it and end up puking all over the floor.

That night we had plans to see this musician live at a bar called Leyenda. He was amazing!! He sings in English and Spanish and has been traveling around doing what he loves since he was 15. What a life. You can't really do that anymore unless you really have talent, and this guy has it in the bag. After his show Katelyn, Wade, and I ended up hanging out with him and his manager. We all went to a bar on the sketchier side of town and drank until dawn, it was a great time. Eventually we said our thank yous and goodbyes, and hailed a taxi to make it back to our hostel, where we slept til late.

Our last day of the trip... we woke up late and wandered around wondering what we should fit in before our bus departure at 7:30.

We went to the main plaza and looked at all the artisan stuff being sold, and KateLyn decided to get another dreadlock. Meanwhile, I went to another hippie guy and bought a customized ring for my oldest dreadlock. It's a macrame-style strip about an inch long made of green, white, and black floss. it's great, I love it.

After this we headed to the fountain at the center of the plaza and parted ways. I laid down and accidentily fell asleep. They came and woke me up and we went to the hostel to gather our things, and went to the bus station. And so ends my trip to Mendoza!

Stay tuned, next up is my trip to Bariloche with API!

1 comentario:

  1. Great pics!!
    I hope as soon as I can live the Buenos Aires apartments taht my frieds and I are staying, we can visit Mendoza!!! We love wine and peace.... I think we must not leave Argentian without visit that place, what you think?