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2014-04-17_Neuquen
The day of wine tasting.
  • No KMZ (Google Earth) for this traveldiary.
Navigation mishap of the morning
Woke up at 8am, breakfast (two medialunas, coffee with milk - all without dulce de leche). Awaited the transfer from 9am, which would carry me to the wineries. Carry. Would have carried.

It was already past 10:15am, nobody nowhere. Finally I called the company to learn Ohmy, you didn't reserve the second day! Well yes: during our first email conversations I only indicated my interest. But yesterday I said to the guide girl that alongside the hyperhappy traveller fellows naturally I also am interested in the wineries of Neuquén.

Ofkorz, the problem could be that I didn't repeat my interest continuously and many times...hihihi. No worries at all, they work with multiple cars, so around 10:30am a Toyota Hilux 4x4 arrived. Again with an Argentine couple in their fifties, we headed out together to discover the region.
d03_01 (2014-04-19 09:00:33) -- show location on Google Maps
So, let's head out to Bodega Del Fin del Mundo - where for the translation it's enough to watch a single Latino soap opera: then not only we'll know everything about love but can register for fluent Spanish language exams as well; should not this be the case: Winery of the End of the World.

Late morning lookout to the April fields: winemakers work on 2,500 hectares. Out of this Fin Del Mundo has the biggest part with 870 hectares. The rest is obviously the soil for other, smaller wineries.
d03_02 (2014-04-19 11:04:27) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_03 (2014-04-19 11:06:04) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_04 (2014-04-19 11:11:46) -- show location on Google Maps
Patagonian roads.
d03_05 (2014-04-19 11:22:04) -- show location on Google Maps
Fin Del Mundo winery
Bodega Del Fin del Mundo reception, guests learn the product line before the factory visit.

Their offer principally enumerate red wines - cabernet sauvignon, malbec, merlot, pinot noir, tannat, cabernet franc, syrah - but white wines can be found as well: sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, semillón and viognier.
d03_06 (2014-04-19 11:43:20) -- show location on Google Maps
Antonio Sarelli, an artist from Mendoza created the cask below to capture the zonda winds of The Andes through blue and purple colours (we'll talk about them later in San Juan).
d03_07 (2014-04-19 11:57:43) -- show location on Google Maps
After the strong start, the factory visit also begun.

panorama01
The winery has 200 stainless steel tanks, 104 concrete tubs, 2,200 oak barrels, also 4 French type oak casks - individually they can store up to 6,000 liter wine.
d03_08 (2014-04-19 12:04:14) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_09 (2014-04-19 12:25:34) -- show location on Google Maps
Farewell, next to less interesting barrels.

Alongside we had the wine tasting here. Alas, no picture was shot but there was cabernet sauvignon, malbec and some brand mix. I had some discussions with the couple about their travels, they've been recently in Italy and Vienna but didn't venture more to east. *hmm, mistake-error* But on the other hand they were completely interested to learn more for the next year European travel, so I recommended them a nice itinerary: they'll quite much like the river in the middle, to the left the historical Castle and to the right the city part along many things to see.

After Prague they can visit Budapest too.
d03_10 (2014-04-19 12:34:23) -- show location on Google Maps
The cabernet sauvignon seed from 2001 is ripening; April (autumn in the Southern Hemisphere) is the last month of the harvest, making my visit exceptionally well-timed.
d03_11 (2014-04-19 13:11:58) -- show location on Google Maps
Across the grape stems
Cruising to the next winery, reaching each other.
d03_12 (2014-04-19 13:13:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Lookout from the terrace of Bodega NQN.

panorama02
Stuck in a time loop, the next factory visit started only 1 hour later - thus we decided to have the lunch pertaining to the visit packet in the Malma Resto Bar.
d03_13 (2014-04-19 13:31:31) -- show location on Google Maps
Appetizer: empanada filled with Patagonian salmon, mixed with slightly pickled vegetables.
d03_14 (2014-04-19 13:40:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Main course: astonishingly fragile lamb barrel with sour cream and cranberry sauce. The side dish earned minus points because grilled vegetables are a good idea but they shouldn't swim in oil.
d03_15 (2014-04-19 14:10:40) -- show location on Google Maps
Dessert: probably the chef had a similar pattern day, but - you won't believe it - the dessert was different than the main meal. Vanilla-mascarpone ice cream with sauce made of various berries from Patagonia.

Other. I've read witticism...sometimes severely piercing...criticism about touristy meal photos. Even the rest of the restaurant discouraged me, car keys with lot of stars, tinkling on the tables.

A kind of oxymoron. My mind wandered whether one can put elegant restaurants, rocker concerts drinking canned beer, even more handwritten menus of Iruya onto the same table. Can?
d03_16 (2014-04-19 14:39:54) -- show location on Google Maps
A 360 degrees panorama.

panorama03
d03_17 (2014-04-19 15:02:16) -- show location on Google Maps
Skorpiovenator bustingorryi...
d03_18 (2014-04-19 15:12:13) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_19 (2014-04-19 15:14:08) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_20 (2014-04-19 15:15:32) -- show location on Google Maps
The NQN line, you can recommend the rightmost NQN Malma Universo Malbec bottles.
d03_21 (2014-04-19 15:18:13) -- show location on Google Maps
Having the wine tasting in the winery. NQN started in 2001, with the idea nothing lesser than converting a 2,000 hectares Patagonian desert into a profitable and fertile wine region. The best location was the San Patricio del Chañar valley and surroundings (nice patterns), where nowadays you can find grapes on about 1,522 hectares and 536 hectares provide the soil for fruit trees.

Currently NQN works on 127 hectares (giving an approximate annual 1,800,000 liter wine capacity) and 1,000 stays for the expansion in the future
d03_22 (2014-04-19 15:31:16) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_23 (2014-04-19 15:42:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_24 (2014-04-19 15:43:20) -- show location on Google Maps
In the meantime I learned that tears of wine doesn't have any connection to palatal quality of the drink but chemistry.

Even chemistry? You don't say!
But I do. Among others wine is an inhomogeneus mix of alcohol and water. Alcohol has a lower surface tension which means you'll be more relaxed...a region with less concentration of alcohol will pull on the surrounding water stronger.

After we raised the bottle from our special oak wine cooler and the drink lightly ripples down on the Venus-like slope of the glittering glass, at the end of swirling the capillary action starts to work and make the wine ascend. Meanwhile alcohol evaporates faster than water, so the increasing surface tension in the film on the glass will pull the drink more and more to the top - by time the droplets of wine will flow back due to their own weight and gravity.

If a wine produces more and bigger tears, this reflects only a higher alcohol content: due to the higher surface tension more liquid will be pulled to the top of the film and form the drops. And alcohol content doesn't have any referencing factor to the quality of the wine.

The scientific explanation is here and with more pictures behind the PDF.
d03_25 (2014-04-19 15:48:45) -- show location on Google Maps
Returning to Neuquén
I learned something again on the way back: the Patagonian trees don't have an extensive or wide but a vertically squeezed foliage - because this structure can withstand the 60-80 even up to 100 km/h fast howling winds.
d03_26 (2014-04-19 16:05:10) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_27 (2014-04-19 16:29:59) -- show location on Google Maps
The evening walk, because it is a must
Returned by 5pm, evening walk, for the sake of multifariousness I decided to have a pizza as the dinner. The jamón serrano-rucola pizza could have been a good concept, in the case if the chef...cook...kitchen personnel hadn't camouflaged only 1-2 slices of ham under the enormous amount of salad.
d03_28 (2014-04-19 21:06:05) -- show location on Google Maps
The cathedral of Neuquén, María Auxiliadora de Almagro (Helping Mary of Almagro), built in 1950.
d03_29 (2014-04-19 21:33:11) -- show location on Google Maps
I cannot tell if there's any connection between the picture and the Neuquén Observatory at the northern part of the city. Nonetheless travellers with more time and own vehicle should visit.

The entry costs 40 pesos, in Star Wars T-shirt 60.
d03_30 (2014-04-19 21:37:06) -- show location on Google Maps
Still-life.
d03_31 (2014-04-19 21:38:46) -- show location on Google Maps
d03_32 (2014-04-19 21:57:50) -- show location on Google Maps
Again in the hostel. The atmosphere of the room recalled a pearling ultimate humorbomb story in the Czech Republic, when I was due to a photo session in Zlin. I rented a car because 3 hours aren't tiring but after the event I'll return to Prague. In medias res: finally I changed my mind and stepped into the randomly selected close hotel to require their services.

The receptionist girl hardly spoke English, but neither German nor Hungarian. Hence the Co delate večer slečno? gave zero help; but ultimately we understood each other through sign language with English subtitle. I received the key to the room, with a Fifth Floor, Room 3 engraving. It seemed like a simple story, but when I stepped into the elevator I had to realize there's no 5th Floor button on the panel: after the 4th immediately 6th came - not even any sign if it ever had existed but it's broken, missing, etc. Suspicious and at the same time eerie. The adventurer postulated then 5th Floor surely can be reached either from 4th or 6th Floor - young and tall males don't need elevators anyway.

In medias res: neither 4th or 6th Floors had any signs portraying a middle-floor. No trap doors, no signs or anything else. What could one do in such situation?

Again at the reception, with a very stupid remark: I can't find the 5th Floor. It mustn't be THAT hard to find! I repeated the problem multiple times because I was unable to determine whether we don't understand each other language-wise or where does the communication stuck. An another twist made its way into the story when the girl's face changed into a storm, I was totally confident that out of my sentence Come up with me and I show it to you, there's no 5th Floor. she understood only the first part. The hotel was completely empty, nobody could help us or clarify the sole guest-philanthropy nature of my inquiry.

Finally I could convince her, take her up and with triumphant victory prove: indeed, there ain't 5th Floor in the hotel! Why did I have to show this to her, further how could a sophisticated downtown hotel have a key to a non-existent floor - up to this day I haven't been able to figure out, but possibly this was the mechanism how my sane was kept guarded by the protecting shelter of ignorance.

Again at the reception, now with the knowledge of the plan of the building I happily took over the key addressed to the 4th Floor. Happily lived after? NAAAH, not at all. The story continues with an untidy room still having the memories of the previous guest, where the mattress without lining in extra was ornamented by signs of cigarette burns.

Again at the reception, by now I was really due to the photo event, so I explained the plan: I'll be back in a few hours and if the room will be ready by then, I'll take it. I returned but the room on the 4th Floor still wasn't able to fulfill the wishes of a paying guest.

Again at the reception, I bid farewell to the girl who put the jewel onto the crown by eyes full of lightning that I must pay the room - or she'll call the security and her boss. This attempt was understandable yet immediately impossible: especially I didn't sign anything or show any documents. Few seconds of awkward silence - putting the weight from one leg to the another - but finally we departed along wishing a good night to each other.
d03_33 (2014-04-19 22:21:54) -- show location on Google Maps