City morning, wine country afternoon

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

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Where I stayed
Club Tapiz Hotel

Flag of Argentina  , Cuyo,
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday morning finds us headed out with our local guide Alejandra, who our trip guide Jorge has found for us. From our hotel in the San Telmo area she leads us to the main square of Buenos Aires: Plaza de May, which is bordered on all sides government buildings. The presidential offices or Palace Rosado carries the famous balcony from which President and Eva Peron waved to throngs of Argentinians. In the other corner is the government buildings of Buenos Aires. Alejandra noted that the giant plaza in between is like a boxing ring with the Federal government on one side and local government on the other.
Our walk continues into the amazing street market that takes over blocks and blocks of San Telmo. As we walk Alejandra guides our eyes beyond the stalls full of old silver and handmade leather purses to the amazing architecture of the buildings that punctuate certain blocks of this historic area. Some have escaped the graffiti that is absolutely everywhere in this city. They are without tags because they are significant churches or sites of civil protest that changed history for the people of Buenos Aires.
After lunch of pintxos or small bites at a street -side cafe we all meet at the hotel for our shuttle to the airport for internal flights. Off we go to Mendoza and a short bus ride to our lodge smack in the middle of a Malbec vineyard, Club Tapiz. This name may be familiar to some wine lovers, as Tapiz Winery produces some terrific wines that are sold in the US market.
Once settled in to our rooms around a grassy courtyard, we take some time to ourselves, then gather for the bus ride to dinner at the famous 1884 Restaurant. Our trip guide Jorge has arranged for this exclusive table at the restaurant that Francis Mallman created, to make meals in a way that returns to the basics of Argentinian cuisine. Everything is cooked over flame or in a wood burning oven the size of a small Volkswagen. On arrival we are taken to a large table outdoors on the lawn of the restaurant where we can see the chefs at work. There are stars overhead since we are now away from the lights of the city. With a green carpet underfoot, stars on the ceiling, and wonderful folks in the seats, it is a magical dinner. The hot coals glow in the massive grill, cooking our meals, and the wines fill the glasses. For many of us when the sommelier asks "white or red" we cannot resist, the answer is "both"! This is the kind of night that makes one just want to have it all. The white is a perfumed Viognier, the red a 100%25 Malbec both from the Escorihuela Winery, the oldest in Mendoza.
The restaurant is located on the winery grounds. Also located here is the famous Bodegas Caro, the cooperative venture between the Catena family and the Rothschilds family of France.
It is beyond midnight when the evening finishes and no one complains. The place, the company and the experience has made the perfect end to a day that had gone from gritty city to breathtaking wine country.
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