The Vines of
El Tren al Fin del Mundo
March 12, 2006

It’s not too many times that a little outing warrants its own journal entry…but today I am making an exception.

The place? Vines of Mendoza.

The activity? Tasting wine.

But this wasn’t just
any type of wine tasting…

Normally those places that you see advertisements for do nothing more than lure hoards of tourists in just to turn them right over
and hoard them out.

This place was far from that.

I came in not knowing really
anything except that they were called ‘Vines of Mendoza’ which clearly meant that there was wine to
be drunk here. For me, that is as good of a reason as any to enter. The hostess, who was absolutely as sweet as could be, told me a
bit about the place. It was a boutique tasting room that only offered wines from boutique vineyards.
Well, where do I sign up???

She showed me my different options of flights I could choose (tintos, Malbecs, Argentinean varietals, reserves). I didn’t even have
to hesitate to choose the Malbec tasting. After all, it isn’t every day that I can ‘contrast and compare’ a sampling of five different

The wine bar wasn’t
full but there wasn’t an available pourer at the moment. I didn’t mind. This is Argentina. Who cares if it’s
getting later? She told me that Wendy would serve me when she was done. Basically, my point is that you have one person’s
undivided attention. When does
that ever happen? There was no quick turnover here. It was all about making people
knowledgeable with the wine they were drinking.

In any case, I had to wait a few minutes. This is when the hostess brought over a glass of sparkling wine for me (before I hit up the
Malbecs). To be honest, I was impressed and thankful enough for the glass of water that she brought over prior to the bubbly. She
also took a few minutes to explain the different ‘nights’ that they have here – wine and cheese pairing (which I sadly missed as I got
there just when it ended) and bubbly nights on Fridays when they also have live music. Shoot…it’s too bad I’m leaving tomorrow.

A few minutes later Wendy became available. I told her I was going the Malbec route. I couldn’t be happier that I chose this flight.
Five different types. Pours that were easily half-a-glass each. Many different tastes.

As always, the first one was ‘okay’ and the last one was the ‘crème de la crème’. But the ones in the middle (like the 'Taymente
Malbec 2004 and the 'Obra Prima Reserva Malbec 2004) were all very good. It was great tasting a bit of one and then being
poured the next and so on. This made it so that there was remaining wine in all of the glasses by the end and you could really
compare what you were tasting. The wine bar is also extremely well-built in the sense that there is a thin white rectangle at each
tasting area where light shines through. Perfect way to see the different shades of color of the wines.

As always, I ended up loving the most expensive - Enrique Foster Limited Reserva Malbec 2003 (though there was no way I could
justify spending $44 US on a bottle that I would probably break along the way).

I wish I found this place earlier. It wasn’t necessarily ‘cheap’ (it was 30 pesos…or $10 US… which is relatively pricey out here) but,
for me, it was worth peso.
Back to Argentina.
Back at the port.
Tierra del Fuego National Park.