Argentine Wine 101: a delicious introduction

Trip Start Mar 07, 2013
Trip End Mar 25, 2013

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Today was another gorgeous 80 deg. day and perfect for walking the boulevard called Avenue de Mayo. It is known as the Champs Élysées of Buenos Aires. Amazing architectural designs interspersed with multi-story glass and concrete 1960s boxes. Wonderful walk in a city of contrasts.
After stretching our legs on the streets of this amazing city, our whole group came together for the official beginning of our tour, a wine tasting at nearby Cava de Querandi. The cava or cave is a brick walled room just down stairs from a wine bar. Our guide Jorge is a member here and arranged an introduction to Argentinian wines from the sommelier Juliana. With a spark in her eye, and black jeans with a white tshirt tucked into them, she puts everyone at ease right away.
The wines come one at a time, each with a food bite. First is a Torrentes from Salta, where we will be in 4 days. She explains that this indigenous grape came from a cross between muscat and crillo. This is paired with a beef empanada. The second wine is from southern vineyards in Patagonia and is a bee-uu-tee-full Pinot noir. The pairing here is beautiful too: a crostini with mushroom, grilled sweet onion and grated Parmesan. The third wine is a Mendoza 2008 reserve Malbec, dense color and nearly jammy blackberry jumping from the glass. This is paired with small but intensly delicious beef skewers interlaced with bell pepper and more sweet onion.
We sip our way through these wines, now knowing that the wind over the Andes defines part of their character, the other is the soil in the vineyards of course. Tomorrow we fly to the place where these grapes grow, to see the place that we taste in the glass.
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