Uncorking Greatness at 3,000 Feet
A journey into Mendoza, Argentina’s undiscovered vineyards and the home of its most storied producer, Catena Zapata by Air Mail's Mark Rozzo and Ashley Baker on the Ozempic craze.
To get to Mendoza, the capital city of the Argentinean province of the same name and the nerve center of the country’s vast wine region, you first fly to Santiago, Chile. There, you connect with what I generally describe to friends as my favorite flight. The opening minutes are less like takeoff and more like liftoff, as you rocket skyward at an unusually steep pitch. The pilot is making this precipitous climb because the Andes Mountains are dead ahead, and—sorry to mention it—nobody wants to end up like the Uruguayan rugby team that Piers Paul Read wrote about in his 1974 best-seller, Alive.
Soon enough, you’re up there surrounded by crags and snow and cerulean sky; the jagged tips of the highest peaks in the western hemisphere are just within reach outside your porthole. If you’re on the port side, you’ll glimpse Aconcagua, the king of the Andes, at nearly 23,000 feet.
Then, before you know it, you’re up and over; the wide valleys and snaking foothills surrounding Mendoza now spread out in every direction. Deep irrigation ditches called acequias etch this arid, ocher terrain, where approximately 77 percent of the world’s Malbec wine grapes are grown.
Looking down, you feel like you’re seeing a mash-up of New Mexico and Tuscany, a landscape that alternates between tawny desert and dappled vineyards, with tall poplars—alamos—lining farm lanes. » CONTINUE READING
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