Wine as slouch-hatted gaucho in tattered pants

Firstly- apologies on Tim's behalf for the lack of updates. He and I have both recently started full time jobs (he's fixing people, I'm licking rocks), and I guess we're slowly getting used to this 'work' concept we've heard so much about. Enough with excuses though- let's get on with it.

Imagine this: a limp-wristed, clean-nailed, quiche-eating effete ponce in a ruffled shirt, plus fours and golf shoes arrives at an rowdy outback pub and asks for a glass of ice water. This, give or take a burly man in a torn singlet, is what can happen if you go wine tasting in the Barossa Valley for the first time. You expect a mild day in the Autumn sun with some lovely wine, but it can get serious quickly when you come face to face with a broad shouldered shiraz blocking your path. Bold, rugged, rough edged and gravel-voiced, this is not a wine to be toyed with.

I grew up among these kind of bottled blokes, so on a recent trip to Argentina (purely in order to write this post) I was keen to head down Mendoza way and introduce myself to a bottle or two.

I can say this much: they're a different breed in Argentina. Where the Barossa shiraz kicks your teeth in and detonates a plummy, yummy flavour bomb in your mouth, the Mendoza malbec saunters quietly in, calm and peaceful, and unassumingly starts dancing tango in the corner of your palette. Then, just when you think he's gone, you'll notice him lingering in the distance, strumming a guitar and singing about spice and niceness. I grew to know the fellow quite well, over time. We'd meet in parks, he'd open up, I'd drink a toast with him, and we'd watch the days go by together. Then he'd get me in trouble with the police, because apparently it was a dry zone, but a bit of hablar rapido (that's fast talk, for you non-Spanish speakers... and for you Spanish speakers, I know it's probably completely wrong, but hey- I've only been learning it for a couple of months) and we were free to go.

So what's the verdict, then? The big-bicepped, bestubbled brute from the Barossa? Or the unassuming, unforgetable, unworried and unhurried Argentinian? Well, if they were in a fight the big-mouthed Aussie jackaroo would be strong to the finish. But why fight? My new South American hombre would much prefer to simply lie back in the sun and warm your belly, which is quite fine by me. So have a shot- keep your eye out for a friendly Argentinian hiding in a bottle shop (especially anything by Familia Gascon) and give him a 'hola' from me.

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