The morning of our final day in Mendoza was free time, so I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the area around our hotel. Across the street from our hotel was the Plaza Indepencia, the largest park in the vicinity. Tree- lined streets took you to four other parks within a few blocks of each other. The area was beautiful and quite pleasant to stroll around.
Gentle rain was falling as we arrived, that afternoon, at the final, and perhaps most uniquely-designed winery of our tour. O. Fournier winery is located in the Uco Valley. The winery is, if I recall correctly, 7 stories high – most of it underground. Using gravity to move the wine saves the use of pumps. Grapes are unloaded on the “roof” (at ground level) and move down through the floors as the transformation to fine wine takes place. A central column, with a skylight at the top, carries light into the depths of the building, reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Another unique feature was the barrel room. Holding only a fraction of the number of barrels it was built for, the walls of the room are lined with art. Looking down from the catwalk above the room, it is certainly an impressive gallery!
From the gallery/barrel room we entered the “library” which holds wines of different vintages and labels instead of books. The shelves surround a large boardroom table. Now this is a library I’d happily spend time in!
An underground passageway returned us to the dining room from where we had started our winery tour. Here we would enjoy our final dinner in Argentina, accompanied by some great O. Fournier wines. The rain had let up, leading to an incredible view out the windows, across the pond and vineyards, to the sun setting over the Andes. What a perfect ending to an incredible tour of some of the finest wineries in Chile and Argentina.
Our tour was more than just a series of tastings. We had the opportunity to see where wines, in some cases that I had been buying for years, came from. In talking to the wonderful, friendly folks at the wineries, we learned more than just about the wine. We learned about the culture, the backgrounds of the winemakers, and the history of the wineries in what has become an important wine-making region in the world. In so many ways it was a voyage of discovery.
My thanks to Janine and Daryl for being such incredible, friendly and attentive tour leaders.