The fastest way to make enemies in Argentina is to compare the asado to a barbecue. It’s the same, right? No, the locals will tell you, through gritted teeth, it is not the same. Your gas-fuelled blow-torching of conveyor-belt beef patties has nothing in common with our sacred asado.
There aren’t many days on the calendar that offer an excuse to toast the old man. Every encounter deserves a special wine. Tell me how you celebrate, I’ll tell you what to uncork. Father’s day.
Mooching around Mendoza’s vineyards is never a bad idea, but head there at the end of summer and you’ll be lucky enough to catch the cultural highlight of the Mendocino calendar – la Fiesta de la Vendimia – Mendoza’s grape harvest festival.
You notice very fast that the people of Mendoza take their café culture seriously. Spending a day strolling the streets of Argentina’s wine capital you breathe in the atmosphere of a city where people enjoy life and sits in cafés sipping coffee and chatting. Here are five of our top picks.
As a Brit I am honour-bound to obsess over the weather. Luckily Argentina’s climate leaves me a lot to talk about. Right now it’s been raining for around three days straight. In the summer we sweltered at 100°F for weeks. Every season in Argentina is unique. But pretty much every day is a blue-sky day. Even in winter. What are you waiting for? You can visit Argentina year round.
Swedish sommelier Arvid Rosengren clinched the coveted title of world’s best in the fifteenth A.S.I. Meilleur Sommelier du Monde competition in Mendoza last night. It was a double scoop for the New York-based somm, who had taken Europe’s top title in 2013. Competition in the 15-strong semifinal came from Argentina’s very own Paz Levinson, who was anointed Best Sommelier in the Americas in 2015, and Japan’s Hiroshi Ishida, Asia and Oceania’s top taster, also in 2015, as well as a string of candidates from Europe.
MENDOZA – Huddled together in small groups, mentors rub backs and mop their wards’ brows, sommeliers easily distinguished from other revellers at a cocktail party thanks to perfectly pressed black suits and aprons. The tension and nerves crackled like an Andean electric storm around the Park Hyatt Mendoza hotel as 60 competitors from around the world chewed down cuticles, waiting to find out whether they’d earned one of 15 coveted places in the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World Argentina 2016 semifinal.
In part five of The Real Argentina’s somms series, we meet Paz Levinson, the second of two Argentine sommeliers competing in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde 2016 (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World). Currently ranked number one in both the Americas and Argentina, and the only Argentine to qualify as an Advanced Sommelier from the UK’s Court of Master Sommeliers, Paz will be going for a titles hat-trick at the world championship, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
One of two Argentine sommeliers who will compete in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World), we meet Martín Bruno, sommelier at top Buenos Aires restaurant Tegui, in part four of The Real Argentina’s somms series. Martín spills the beans on how he’s been diligently preparing for this prestigious competition, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
Sixty competitors, five days, one title; the world’s best sommelier.
Although the immediate thought is ‘football’ when mentioning Argentina and World Cup in the same breath, the world’s fifth-largest wine producer is about to host a very different championship next month: the 15th A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World).