Thursday, October 05, 2006

Not a Winery, but a good time

Tapaus is not an Argentine winery; it’s an Argentine distillery. But, it gets a bit of a pass because all of their products are made from Malbec grapes and the structure itself is well worth a visit when you are in Mendoza. After having made my second visit in two weeks (I couldn’t let either Peter and Zoe or David and Abby go home without trying this could I?) I can give you the history back and forth. But you are going to have to make the visit yourself to get that angle.

Here is what I will tell you. Tapaus’ unique approach to spirits and liquors is an interesting change of pace. All of the products use grapes as their base, but once distilled the alcohol is mixed with a variety of flavors from grapefruit to honey (we spied about 10 jugs of raspberry liquor that is awaiting government approval). The resulting products are fantastic (what I remember of them is that they are fantastic – they are also a bit powerful). My personal favorite is the Triple Sec, everyone else that I have taken has loved the Mandarina or the Pomelo. The other big favorite is the Miel (honey) liquor that tastes like the honey my mother used to keep in the cupboard in a plastic bear (I bet that plastic bear is still stuck to the cupboard).

If you are not into brandy and orange liquor, the architecture is in and of itself enough to warrant a trip. Tapaus boasts a truly “green design” and employs stones from the nearby Rio de Mendoza and recycled materials from old oil and gas operations in its design. Be sure to check out the hand made stills (they will remind you of re-runs of M*A*S*H – those of you that are old enough to remember M*A*S*H) and the outdoor garden where water from the river is filtered for use in Tapaus’ spirits. The folks are more than generous with their tastings (assuming you do the individual tour – you don’t want do the bus tour at Tapaus it usually full of Chileans and no one understands a word they say).

I am feeling a little strange about the fact that an entire page of notes in the guest book come from friends that I have brought to Tapaus – I should wait a week before I go again……


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