03/06/2008 85 °F
Mendoza, the fourth largest city in Argentina is the country's center of wine production and is also known for its food and art culture. Located just below the Andes, the views and weather make a dramatic settling for the vineyards surrounding the city. We could spend a week visiting all of the wineries here, but we have to limit our visits to three.
The highlight of our visit is our lunch at Ruca Malen where the chef serves us by far the best meal we have had in South America. This meal, the view of the Andes and the Malbec make for a near perfect afternoon.
Our visit to Mendoza also includes time to visit the studios of some local artists who graciously show us their work and some horseback riding in the foothills of the Andes.
The history of Mendoza is fascinating. Located in a desert, the city is irrigated by an extensive grid of canals that line both sides of virtually every street. This system was originated by the indigenous populations and expanded by the Spanish beginning in the 16th century. This results in a very lush environment of many parks and plazas and beautiful treelined streets.
This week in Mendoza is the grape harvest festival and the local regions each have nominated a candidate for queen. This generates incredible excitement and the city is filled with advertisements for each of the candidates and there are fireworks at night. Unfortunately, we have to move on before hearing the results of the elections.