Musing on Mendoza, Malbec and age
May 31, 2017
You hear inspiring stories all the time about young people in their late teens, twenties and thirties going travelling the world, starting up businesses and having amazing adventures. In fact, once upon a time I was one of them. But now I’ve just turned 50. Half a century old. And I’m thinking “what next?”
I’m not ready to slide into a comfortable middle age where I dream about what I’ll do when I retire. Maybe I never will be. In fact, let’s be honest, like a lot of people who have spent their lives having adventures and not paying attention to pensions, I might not even be able to afford to retire.
So this, my 50th year, is a bit of an Odyssey, a pause to experience the here and now and then take a deep breath and move forward with some new adventures.
My trip to Mendoza in April was a key moment in this period of exploration. A chance to have fun and experience a new wine region with an expert – wine journalist Amanda Barnes, who knows Mendoza like the back of her hand. The opportunity to try to get a handle on Malbec wine. And the chance to drink great wines with some cool and interesting people, like winemaker Alex Morozov, who brought a fantastic sparkling wine all the way from Benjamin Bridge – the winery where he works in Nova Scotia, Canada – and sommelier Dana Fernandez who, by means of a Tannat from Bouza in Uruguay, taught me not to jump to conclusions when blind tasting.
Also, as I’m in the market for inspiring stories about people – particularly mature ones – doing cool and exciting things, I had the added bonus of hearing renowned Argentine winemaker Santiago Achával explain how, aged 50, after he and his partners sold the famed Achával-Ferrer winery, he wondered “what next?” He decided he still had the energy and enthusiasm to start something new. And so he founded a brand new winery: Matervini. If he could do that, perhaps I too could start something new?
It was short, action-packed and included enough Malbec wine to sink a battleship. It was an awesome visit and my heartfelt thanks go to Amanda Barnes for her hospitality and organization and taking time out of her very busy schedule. Thanks also to Emiliano Valazquez for being a complete knight in shining armour.
Check out Amanda’s amazing wine odyssey: Around the World in 80 Harvests.
Posts to come:
The lowdown on the Mendoza wine region
The rich fruitiness of Malbec wine
Details of my visits to the Matervini, Mendel, Salentein and ReNacer wineries.