The Patagonian Lake District, with its famous Siete Lagos route, is undoubtedly one of Argentina’s outdoor highlights. It’s stunning whichever way you go, but nothing beats on horseback. The days pretty much go like this: wake up in camp, light a fire to warm water, drink some mate tea, lazily eat some facturas (pastries), saddle up and hop on a horse, amble around some of the world’s most idyllic countryside, get off the horse, set up camp, help the gaucho with an asado, eat meat and drink wine overlooking a mirror flat lake, sleep into a divine slumber.
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth, Torres del Paine National Park is South America’s final hurrah before crashing into the ocean with only the prospect of Antarctica further south. The scenery is incomparable: a rugged wilderness of scaling mountains, vast lakes, dramatic glaciers and dense forests. It is an unbelievable sight.
Could there be a better day? An exhilarating few hours whitewater rafting along the mineral blue meltwater of the Andes before pulling over for an asado brimming with meat and a glass brimming with wine, before a gentle meander downstream. I can think of fewer ways I’d rather spend a sunny day in my favourite country. When Pacahmama (Mother Earth) created Argentina’s geography, or more accurately, its geology, she was in a fun-loving mood…
How did the Welsh end up in Patagonia? To a certain extent, they fell victim to a dodgy marketing campaign. Feeling threatened by English dominance in the 1800s, they were looking for a place to relocate to in order to protect their language and culture. Originally, this was set to be Vancouver Island in Canada…
Hugging the border with Chile, Argentina’s dramatic Lake District makes a suitably bellowing welcome to Patagonia. Banish all notions of the rolling hills of Cumbria – this is big landscape, and visitors must dress, eat, travel and plan accordingly. San Carlos de Bariloche – known universally as Bariloche – is the main hub of this great expanse of mountain-rutted wilderness, so all visitors to this part of the world will invariably lay their woolly hats here at some point. It’s a sprawling…
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.
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’re not aware that Ushuaia is the world’s most southerly city by the time you arrive, you’ll learn pretty quickly. The capital of the fabled Tierra del Fuego is not shy about its ‘End of the World’ boast – it’s emblazoned onto anything that stands still for more than five seconds, from penguin-shaped pottery to all manner of nautical trinkets.
One of the most fascinating and compelling reasons for diving into the treasure trove of New World wines lies not just in the drum-roll of longer established flagship varieties and styles, but also with the emerging stars awaiting discovery.
Buenos Aires has the bright lights, Patagonia has the show-stopping scenery, Mendoza has the food and wine, but if it’s the beating heart of rural Argentina you’re longing for, you’ll find it on the country’s estancias.