This is the last review from my trip down memory lane of my most memorable travel destinations, Mendoza Argentina. If you have traveled to Buenos Aires or to the other large city of Rosario you will feel “big city” life. People are busy, people need to get from place to place, and it’s not conducive to openness. As the third largest city in Argentina, Mendoza is much different because the people are far friendlier, and there is warmth from this city that is very rare. When I first traveled to Argentina I spoke nearly no Spanish except from a phrase book, and when I did speak Spanish, it was horrendous. This didn’t stop me from walking the city and meeting some of the nicest people in the world.
There was Pedro who was my ambassador taxi/remise driver who saved me from renting this car at the airport. If you would have seen this car it barely fit my suitcase and it would have never made it to the Andes. Despite the fact that the all of the banks were closed due to the national banking crisis he still took it upon himself to show me around the wineries, the mountains, and the club on my last night. Only charging me enough so he wouldn’t get in trouble with the boss. It’s where I learned the term, go to the club with your sunglasses on and leave with your sunglasses on. Yes, those clubs are up all night to the wee hours of the morning.
There there were the kids playing in the main square would always wave to me every day and practice their one or two words of English. They felt so proud and those smiles have remained in my memory for ten years now. From the grocery store clerks to the wine merchant who opened a bottle of champagne for me to drink with him and his family while I shopped. I don’t have one bad memory from my week-long visit. I want to go back to Mendoza this winter for the warmth of the sun and the people, and if you ever have the chance to visit any town in Argentina, Mendoza is number one, and Bariloche is number two.
In saving my best memory of Argentina, I have saved my favorite reasonably priced Malbec for last. The 2008 Ben Marco Malbec is an absolute gem. From your first drink you will know that this is a medium-bodied wine with a ton of flavor. As I mentioned in my previous post, a Malbec is best enjoyed slowly, and with more air it will really open up and please your palate. Each drink will produce a layered and long lasting fruity finish. It’s hard to explain, but this wine is produces such a great sensation while you drink it. The wine is not overly complex, but when you drink it young it really surprises you with the layers of taste it has. I am looking forward to having a bottle of Ben Marco tonight to enjoy the finish of another week and to look forward to Thanksgiving.
I cannot say enough about this wine because I have enjoyed this Malbec over many of its past vintages. Wine Spectator has consistently rated it 90 or more since 2001. With the 2008 there is 10% Bonarda grapes which really blends well with the Malbec grapes to produce a smooth wine. For a price that is regularly below $20 you are not risking much to give this wine a chance.