Mendoza, Argentina – To Spit or to Swallow?

The city of Mendoza is pleasant with tree lined streets, a park with a boating lake and some very nice looking clothes shops. (Focus – no room in backpack).

However, we were in the region for one reason and one reason only. Wine. And this was business. Jamie had connected with some of his suppliers and we were going to visit the Bodega’s and meet the winemakers.

I have been on a few of these visits with Jamie before and they are always really interesting and we get to try some great wine. However my fear is always the same, do I spit the wine out as I go or do I swallow. On a trip to South Africa I chose the latter option and ended up being pretty pissed by 10am (I’m surprised I’m allowed out to be honest). Yet this is a complex decision making process that requires serious consideration.

Step one is to ascertain what everyone else is doing. You don’t want to be the only one spitting out fine wine but equally you don’t want to be glugging it back and looking like a piss head.

Step two is to assess the distance of bucket/spittoon from mouth, is it a long journey or can it be achieved quickly and efficiently.

The third step, in relation to second step is to be aware of one’s own spitting range. Is it premier football player distance or more comparable to the leaking mouth of a weaning baby.

Finally dress code. Does one have pieces of clothing or loose hair that can intercept the exiting wine that will a) leave you with Malbec running down your face like a murderer victim or b) result in attracting the attention of every last fruit fly in the vicinity and leave you looking like something the dog left in the street.

As complex as this might all be, the decision needs to be made in a split second and it is advisable to stick to the chosen path. You can’t very well start by swallowing and then switch to spitting, what if they think it’s a reflection of the wine they just gave you?

I am the ever helpful sidekick willing to try whatever wine is put in front of me but it is certainly not my area of expertise. I have definitely learnt enough to know the difference between red and white and I’m pretty sure I can identify a rose but the inner complexities of a glass of cab sav are a bit out of my comfort zone. Therefore I need to channel my inner chameleon and swirl and taste and as it turned out, swallow, with the best of them.


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