Almost Heaven, Argentina… sorry John Denver

My wife Carmen and I are from Oklahoma, and if you’ve ever been to Oklahoma you could have a ton of observations about the place but one observation would not be the mountainous scenery.  We have two claims to fame as far as geographical/geological structures:  One; the Arbuckle “mountains” (not really mountains, not even close) whose sediment runs sideways.  Two; Cavanal Hill, Poteau, Oklahoma (pronounced Poto).  It is the world’s largest hill at 1,999 ft. tall (one more foot and we’d be hosed).  So with that in mind, imagine the beauty we got to experience going into Mendoza de Argentina, and behold the magnitude of the Andes; simply amazing.

Now, I’ve been to taller places.  One time as a part-time youth minister I went to Monarch Pass, Colorado.  I’ve been to Denver for a day.  Hell, I’ve walked Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii.  But there is something about the Andes in Mendoza that the others didn’t have… wine.  Oh yeah, you know there’s a difference.  Denver was with school; Haleakala was when I was 18; and Monarch Pass was me and a bunch of Baptist youngins (You know what it’s like when a bunch of WASP’s get around each other).

To be at the base of the Andes, standing at the gates Melipal or Fincas Patagonicas, and staring out over the arid grapevines and into the snow-capped mountains is astonishing.  A trip like that really makes you appreciate the wine.  The idea that the most of the wine people drink from Argentina, would not exist if were not for these mountains.  The snow that gets caught on the mountains… melts and runs into a river… which is dammed and rushed to the fields… which grows the grapes that are smashed… and fermented for the world’s drinking pleasures.  The work, the care, nay, the love that goes into each bottle and the precision that is required to make a fantastic bottle of wine comes through with a single visit.  If nothing else, if not for the amazing beef, the remarkably nice people, or the Cuban cigars, then a trip is needed for the surroundings.  After one trip… every time you hoist a glass to your lips you realize you are tasting heaven.

darn clouds are in the way

darn clouds are in the way

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