Monday, March 31, 2014

Touring Mendoza - part 3 of 4, trip to Chile and Argentina

I know it may seem a little strange that I'm posting about a trip that was a year ago...and I admit it's a little weird.  But I write this blog as much for me as I do for the handful of friends and family who read it!  So while I'm a little tardy in these posts, I still want to do them, and hope you still enjoy reading them, or at least looking at the photos :)

After an awesome time in Santiago, we got back on a plane and headed over the Andes to Argentina.  The views out the plane window were just breathtaking.  

In Mendoza, we decided to hire a driver for the 3 days, and we are so glad we did.  Miguel Saenz picked us up and at the airport and drove us everywhere for the whole time we were there.  He was great - his English was very good, and he was incredibly knowledgeable about the area and wineries.  He and M emailed several times before we got there, and between the 2 of them created our list of wineries to visit.  

The roads in Mendoza were wild - no signs, and they would just fork without notice...or directionals!  Plus he helped with the security guards at the wineries.  I can't imagine doing Mendoza without him and highly recommend him if you're traveling there (just Google him!)

We started our trip in the MaipĂș region, and our first stop in Mendoza was CarinaE bodega.  

A boutique winery that produces about 260,000 liters, they grow Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and age their wine in both French oak casks and cement tanks.

Our next stop was Trapiche.  According to their website, Trapiche is Argentina’s largest exported premium wine brand, exporting to more than 80 countries world wide.

They have aisles and aisles of cement tanks, it was crazy.

These are wines that you can find easily in the US.

Next up it was lunch time.  Many of the wineries have these huge lunches, tons of grilled meats and you do the tasting during lunch.  

Lunch at the Familia Zuccardi winery was wonderful.  It was so much food, similar to an American Texas steakhouse where they just keep bringing grilled meats as long as you will accept them.

The setting was lovely.  Their wines are easily available.  We even had one of their Malbecs on the plane down.  And they have delicious olive oil - we brought home a bottle for my parents and for us.

After the long lunch, Miguel took us back to the hotel to check in and relax.  We wandered around the city of Mendoza, which was much larger than I expected.

Apparently Sunday night was market night, as there were hundreds of people out shopping, picnicking, dancing in the street, playing soccer and enjoying the evening with their families.  

Miguel picked us up at 9am the next morning, and our first stop was Achaval Ferrer for a tour and tasting.  Located in the Uco Valley, it was a little drive from Mendoza.  We love their wines, and had a great visit with beautiful views.  

Next was the complete opposite looks wise - Vina Cobos.  It was a huge, modern facility.  Vina Cobos is connected with the American winemaker Paul Hobbs.  

They have several different labels - Cobos, Bramare, and Feline. We had gotten a Feline Malbec from a local wine shop before, so were excited to visit - and it did not disappoint! 

Following that visit was another big, fancy lunch, this time at Ruca Malen.  

The weather was absolutely beautiful, we could have sat there all afternoon.  

The food was very fancy, and everything was delicious.  It was a large tasting menu, so we kinda were there all afternoon!

After some espresso, we headed to the final winery of the day, Alta Vista.  

The winery was built in 1899, and is about 15km south of Mendoza.

They use lots of small cement tanks for their wine, and make mostly Malbec, Chardonnay and Torrontes. 

We did the tasting in the fancy testing room.

That evening, we poked around Mendoza and found a great brewery for dinner...we needed a burger and break from wine!

We spent the third and final Mendoza day in the Uco Valley.  

There was a bit of confusion with the first winery, so luckily Miguel was able to make a phone call and rearrange some things - another bonus to having a local driver!  We started the day at Domaine Bousquet.  They use a few huge wooden tanks, as well as some cement ones.  The setting was gorgeous, and wine delicious too!

The family is from France, and is using more of a European style to make their wines.  We really enjoyed this visit, and the wines were delicious - we brought a few home with us.  The winery is quite large and has guest rooms available, plus they do events throughout the year like cooking classes.

Stop #2 was Adeluna Cellars, just down the street.  It was beautiful, and had really cute dogs to pet!  

The wine wasn't our favorite, but we still enjoyed the beautiful setting. 

Our final winery stop of the day was Bodegas Salentein.  Their barrel room is famous for it's design with a grand piano right in the center.

After the tasting there, we headed just around the corner for a wonderful lunch at the restaurant at Bodega La Azul.  Even though you felt a little like it was an unfinished building in a field, cause it was, the food was delicious.  The chef came out and talked with us for a while, too, which is always a treat.

The winemaker was our server at lunch, and then took us into their barrel room to try the new vintages of what we had at lunch.  He was so nice and welcoming, it was a great end to our time in Mendoza.  

If you go to Argentina, we highly suggest Mendoza...and our driver Miguel!  It was such a treat to have him with us for those 3 days.  And incredibly helpful, it would have been a mess with us trying to navigate and talk to the guards at the wineries in my broken Spanish.  

One more stop on our South American Adventure - Buenos Aires!

See other posts from the trip here - Chilean Wine Country and Santiago 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feeling a little green

We are slowly starting to make small changes around the house to freshen it up a little, and make it feel a little more youthful.  Since we moved in, I knew I wanted to paint the back of the bookcase in the dining room, similar to what I had done in townhouse.  

Everything in the house is Canyon Cloud.  It's a light, pale yellow color that's starting to drive me nuts.  So I decided this would be an easy, quick weekend project that I could do to bring some new color into the house.  

I decided (with the help of a paint colorist) on True Green from Benjamin Moore.  I had it matched to a semi-gloss paint and primer in one from Behr.  

It ended up taking longer than I expected (doesn't it always?) because I had to do 3 full coats.  And the shelves are literally built in, so I couldn't remove them to just paint the whole wall.  

But I think it turned out great!  In the old house, I felt the color made everything pop out, I feel like it's harder to see some darker items.  So I've done a bit of rearranging to bring in some lighter, clear pieces.  I think I still have some editing to do, but it will do for now.  I feel like YHL, on the hunt for pretty white things to put on my shelves!