When you hear about over two thousand people gathering on the streets of Buenos Aires, odds are it’s a rousing protest or pro-government rally. Yet when similar numbers took to the streets in Boedo last Saturday night, it wasn’t saucepan bashing or Peronist chants keeping them going. Instead, tango music played and Malbec bottles were drained, as the third edition of Boedo’s Vendimia harvest festival got under way…
Fresh from a recent trip to Mendoza, Andrew Catchpole looks at the innovative Argentine art of microclimatic blending. An amusing and revealing tweet recently did the rounds from a satirical would-be-sommelier tweeter. Hashtagged #LessonsInService, the twittersphere was advised: “When writing wine descriptions on a menu: You can write “crisp, crispy or Malbec” on anything and it will sell.”…
There’s a serious rival for Malbec’s quality crown in the shape of Cabernet Sauvignon. This scion of the great vineyards of Bordeaux has proved a happy émigré to Mendoza and elsewhere in Argentina. And, like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon has taken to the high altitudes, ample sun and rocky soils with gusto, producing similarly aromatic and generous wines, packed with ample fruit and spicy notes, well-structured yet drinking well when relatively young.
Wines are like X-Factor contestants: the crummy ones are sometimes more popular than the good ones, and at the end of a Saturday night, you may feel like you’ve had too much of them. However, it’s trickier to judge a wine than it is to judge a singer. While anyone can hurl jibes at a television screen, it takes a certain level of nerve and know-how to summon the sommelier to one’s table and tell them that the single-vineyard Malbec they recommended…
Mendoza has been described as ‘the Napa of the South’ and it’s easy to understand why such parallels are drawn. With both sitting at 33 degrees of latitude there’s a neat symmetry at work for anyone with a smidgeon of interest in how the world’s great vineyards lie. Add to this the regional eminence of both Napa Valley and Mendoza, each celebrated as the most famous quality wine producer in their respective American hemispheres, and such comparisons seem almost inevitable.
For a country that takes such pride in its produce (and needs no excuse for a fiesta), it’s remarkable that Argentina’s food and drink festivals are only just gathering pace. Naturally, beef and wine are still the headline acts, but are joined by an increasing number of more specialist events. Here is a look ahead to the best Argentina festivals and fairs in 2012 aimed at the food and wine enthusiast in everyone.
Where do you stand on the cork versus screw cap debate? Perhaps, like several of the recent dinner guests around my kitchen table, you really don’t care, so long as the wines taste good and keep on flowing. Or maybe you are more in tune with the “natural is best” camp. So what are the facts lying behind both points of view?
If you’ve chosen to visit Buenos Aires, you probably enjoy a splash of vino colapso. But don’t let a tiny thing like not speaking Spanish affect your wine tasting in Argentina, as plenty of English-speaking sommeliers are based in BA. Here, three top sommeliers talk about my favourite subject, Argentinian wine
Travelling through Argentina’s vast and beguiling landscapes leaves no doubt as to the incredible variety and contrasts found in this country’s wine regions. From the dizzying heights of northerly Salta, to the wind-swept southerly climes of Patagonia, experience Argentina’s terroir.
Most wine lovers will have munched on meat and Malbec and tangoed with Torrontés and summery fare but Argentina’s wines offer many other food-friendly temptations besides. And one of the most exciting finds is Argentine Pinot Noir.