How to Attend a Wine Tasting

If you are going to study abroad in Argentine wine country, it helps when your family friends work in the wine industry. Between the beautiful Bodegas (where the wine is made) and the eclectic wine bars, I spent my weekend enjoying everything Mendoza is known for.

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I did not know much about wine. My knowledge is still woefully incomplete, but I did learn something. For example, the altitude, amount of sunlight and soil composition all affect how the grape grows, thus affecting the taste of the wine. I also find it interesting that one vineyard can contain multiple types of soil. Mendoza is famous for its Malbec, so unsurprisingly, this was the one we drank the most. There are sweet, spicy and bitter Malbecs and then there are Malbec blends. There are other red wines or “vino tintos” like Cabernet or there are white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If I am being completely honest, I can’t always tell the difference between them.

I have attended four wine tastings now and this is what occurs. Typical wine tastings will have you sample around five types of wine that the Bodega produces. You usually start with the whites and then move on to the reds. The wine maker or sommelier will pour a quarter of a glass, he/she will explain the composition of the wine and then you are free to sip. Each wine has a distinguishing smell, so you typically smell the wine first then mix the wine to oxygenate it. Then you drink the wine. It’s common to only take one sip then pour the rest into a spittoon. Many will also sip the wine to taste it, then spit it out. The various wines will often go with different foods, but the most I can remember is that white wine goes well with fish where as red goes well with meat.

Maybe I will learn more about wine in my future, but for now, I have some excellent recommendations on Bodegas.

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Zoe Kaldor

 ARGENTINA – IFSA: MENDOZA UNIVERSITIES PROGRAM, 2018 FALL

Zoe Kaldor is an International Studies and Strategic Communication double major. She is studying abroad with IFSA-Butler in Mendoza, Argentina. Originally from New York, DU’s study abroad program was one of the reasons Zoe chose to attend DU. She specifically chose to study abroad in Argentina because she wants to improve her Spanish skills and experience a new culture, for she believes it is so important in an increasingly global society to be able to communicate in languages besides English as well as experience different ways of life. Zoe is an avid traveler and loves to explore new places; she is excited she gets to do both.

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Try Pronouncing Tsitsikamma…

Come on. I dare you!

Okay I’ll tell you. Sound it out! Its pronounced: “one-of-the-most-beautiful-places-I’ve-been-to-yet”.

5 of us girls packed ourselves into our Toyota Corolla and set out for an adventure. And an adventure it was.

We drove 3 hours to Plettenberg Bay and visited a wonderful farmers market! The market was set up in the trees which so many beautiful pastries, fresh-squeezed juice, and bread stands. We had a little of what seemed like everything and then made our way over to the craft market that was right next door. Here you had so many different types of goods, ranging from vintage finds to handmade wooden giraffes. There was plenty to look at and we took our time!

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Our next stop was Knysna Head overlook. This had to be the most breathtaking view I ever seen in my entire life. I would compare it to when my family took grandma to Hawaii and we had a huge cliff beyond the backyard that overlooked the ocean. Knysna was a huge drop down the ocean which rocks jetting out everywhere. The waves would come in and you would have a beautiful color combination of the tan rocks, the deep blue ocean and the White Sea foam. Rather than me trying to explain this, why don’t I just show you.

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Our accommodation for the weekend was what truly made the trip so special I believe. We stayed at Bethany Farm which was a little more inland. Jacks, the farm owner, gave us impeccable directions to get to the farm which was quite secluded in a valley. When we arrived to the farm we were greeted by his dog and many cats. We had our own house on the property with several amenities. The house was quite gorgeous, but there was no heating system and the lights ran on solar power so they were quite dim. This combination lead to an interesting night. To top it off, the only wifi available on the farm was underneath a tree directly in the middle of the two houses. With no wifi, three layers of clothes, blankets wrapped around us and what seemed like 20 candles lit on the table of the living room, we did what all 20-something girls would do. We grabbed that old guitar off the wall and improvised our way through “Baby” by Justin Bieber.

The following day was full of adventure and excitement. It began with a lovely visit to a small restaurant for breakfast. After we were fed we headed towards the Storm River. When we got to the coast I was in awe. I am used to the 2 or 3 foot waves off the Port Elizabeth beach but here there were waves reaching 10-13 feet at least. They were incredibly beautiful and carried so much power.

We made our way to the Untouched Adventures gazebo and got into our wetsuits not knowing what would lie ahead. We were going kayaking! After a small “lesson”, Meagan and I got into the kayak both having no knowledge on how exactly to kayak. And with that we kayaked across the waves of the Indian Ocean. That’s right. We went on part of the ocean. (ahhhhh!!!!!!) We followed our way down the river that was in the bottom of a small canyon. The views were absolutely gorgeous! Halfway through the trip we docked our kayaks on the rocky island and got onto our lilos (rafts). We used our hands to paddle ourselves down the river and tried not to realize how blue they were turning. We asked the guide who said the water was around 8 degrees Celsius today (46 degrees F) but in the summer it can get up to 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). So moral of the story, go in the summer.

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We climbed the suspension bridges and the rocks that sat on the coast giving a spectacular view of the ocean. On Sunday morning we had to say goodbye to our beautiful farm and head back to PE. Memories were made.

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Corrina Teague

SOUTH AFRICA– NELSON MANDELA UNIVERSITY, 2018 FALL

Corrina Teague is a Hospitality Management major. She is attending the ISA: Nelson Mandela University program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, during the Fall 2018 term. She is hoping to have local experiences and see the natural beauties of South Africa while abroad.

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