Recent Comments

    Networked Blogs

    Archives

    Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

    It’s Always Sunny in Argentina

    December 12, 2012 10:25 am - Posted by Tracy in Drink, Travel


    Most storms developing out at sea in the Pacific Ocean eventually come ashore along the Chilean coast, but the towering Andes Mountains block these winds and rain from traveling further east. As a result, Argentina remains dry and sunny, nearly all of the time. And with 320 days of sun annually, I truly mean nearly all of the time!

    Argentina has a long history of grapegrowing, dating to the Spanish conquistadors who brought grapes with them when they established colonies in the New World. From the 1500s through the 1800s, Argentine viticulture remained essentially unchanged. While a handful of today’s winemakers may still cling to the old ways (cow hide fermenters anyone?), most of Argentina’s wine industry has entered the 21st century, with temperature controlled fermentation, drastically improved sanitation and other modern conveniences.

    Argentina is home to many European immigrants from Spain, Italy and France, so it is not surprising that many of these grapes landed on Argentina’s soil. Malbec, originally from Bordeaux, took incredibly well to the climate of its new home, especially once it was discovered that growing it at high elevation could significantly influence the outcome.

    Though white wine plays a much smaller role in Argentine viticulture, the Torrontés grape has become its signature white. Torrontés handles the heat well and although it had been previously used exclusively for sweet, bulk wine, the variety has been repurposed to create a heady, aromatic wine that is now dry on the palate with floral and tropical fruit notes. Even within this taste profile, several styles have emerged from the restrained to the more flamboyant versions. Additionally, winemakers are experimenting with blends such as Amalaya’s Torrontés-Riesling.

    Thankfully, there is more to Argentina than these two varieties and the range includes Barbera, Petit Verdot and the other usual Bordeaux suspects – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc – as well as Pinot Noir. The latter thrives in Argentina’s cooler, southern areas such as Patagonia as evidenced by Bodega Humberto’s Canale Estate Pinot Noir 2010, produced from 40 year old vines. Given that Argentines consume 8 oz. of meat per person per day, reds dominate the vineyards.

    As a very large country, Argentina’s wine growing regions are vast and spread out from Salta in the north to Patagonia in the south, but most of the production is centered near and north of Mendoza, which lies west of Buenos Aires. Although certain regions within Argentina are becoming known for specific varieties – Salta’s Cafayate Valley for Torrontés, for example – Master Sommelier, Keith Goldston, suggests that the aspects of terroir are still being worked out and for now, come down to three things: distance from the Andes Mountains, elevation and vine age –some vineyards today are 100 years old. Of course, regardless of these three elements – we know it will be sunny.

    Wine of The Week – Catena Malbec 2009

    October 20, 2011 12:13 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

    Catena MalbecMendoza, Argentina

    91 Points/Smart Buy, Wine Spectator

    A rich red, with ripe layers of linzer torte, plum pudding and fig paste flavors backed by layers of mesquite, olive paste and grilled herbs. Grippy tannins add weight to the long, vibrant finish. Drink now through 2013. (Oct 15th 2011)


    Wine Of The Week – Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

    August 24, 2011 12:56 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

    CatenaMendoza, Argentina

    90 Points/Smart Buy, Wine Spectator
    PRESS:

    This is solid, with dense but polished structure holding the weighty core of plum, fig paste and black currant preserves together. The dark, lengthy finish lets a nice Kenya AA coffee note chime in. Drink now through 2013.

    April 20th 2011

    Wine Of The Week – Alamos Torrontes 2010

    August 17, 2011 8:52 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

     Alamos Torrontes 2010Salta, Argentina


    WINE NOTES:
    100% Torrontes grown in the northern, high-altitude Salta region of Argentina. Fermented at cool temperatures and aged in stainless steel to preserve the primary fruit aromas.

    PRESS:
    16.5/20– Jancis Robinson
    …Water white. Very low key but lightly leafy nose. Fresh and zesty on the nose and nice delicate fruit handling on the palate. Only slightly chewy on the end. Well put together. Drink 2010 to 2011.

    Sept 22, 2010

    Wine Of The Week – Bodega Noemia ‘A Lisa’ 2009

    July 29, 2011 11:11 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

    Bodega logo

    A Lisa BottleREGION: Patagonia, ARGENTINA
    VARIETAL: 90% Malbec, 9% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot

    90 POINTS, WINE SPECTATOR:
    “Dark and ripe, but fresh and racy, with a streak of damson plum moving through the blackberry and boysenberry fruit, backed by lingering sweet spice, tobacco and graphite notes on the finish. Malbec, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2012. 3,330 cases made.” – October 15, 2010

    Bodega Noemia – the story:

    “We like to think of ourselves as wine farmers”, Hans Vinding-Diers says to me upon our first meeting in Toronto.  “We try to let the wine make itself and just not mess it up”.  He doesn’t exactly use the word “mess”, but you get the idea.

    Hans and his partner, Italian Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano are the owners of Bodega Noemia, one of the top (if not the top) wine estates in Patagonia (Rio Negro).  Smack dab in the middle of the desert, I wonder how anything could grow here, with the exception of brush grass and weeds.  But as I cross the Rio Negro on the way to the estate, I see the attraction: a giant river snaking through the desert, from the Andes all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.  The Rio Negro provides water to the entire region, and Noemi and Hans pump the water all the way to the estate.

    VineyardWe have been working with Bodega Noemia for the past 5 years in Ontario, and with great success.  The wines are beautifully crafted in an old-world style, and they pair wonderfully with food.  “A Lisa”, their entry-level Malbec (if you can even call it that) is a wonderful wine that exhibits Bordeaux-like herbal and mineral notes, while keeping a core of dark black fruit.  It is a highly versatile wine, able to be consumed in the first few years of life, or cellared for a few more for the patient wine buyer.

    This is our first release of the 2009 wines from Bodega Noemia, and we can say with confidence that they are the greatest Noemia wines yet.

    Wine Of The Week – La Posta Cocina Blend 2008

    July 6, 2011 1:38 pm - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

    Mendoza, Argentina

    90 Points — Wine Advocate

    The 2008 Cocina Blend composed of 60% Malbec, 20% Bonarda, and 20% Syrah aged for 12 months in 20% new French and American oak before bottling without fining and filtration (as are all of these red wines). Purple-colored, it has an enticing bouquet of cinnamon, Dentyne gum, cigar box, violets, black cherry, and blueberry. Medium-bodied, round and sweetly-fruited on the palate, it has plenty of savory spice notes, enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years, and a lengthy, pure finish. Drink it from 2010 to 2016.

    Jay Miller, August 2009

    Wine Of The Week – Mendel ‘Unus’ 2008

    April 20, 2011 12:00 am - Posted by Jody in Drink

    Each week I like to choose a new wine to introduce to our fans. These wines vary by region, by varietal and even by price. I don’t think cost and value are necessarily related. So I like to focus on wines I have experienced on my travels and I think our fans will enjoy trying. salut!

    92 points, Wine Advocate:

    “The 2008 Unus is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 16 months in new French oak. Medium purple in color, it displays a splendid bouquet of spice box, incense, lavender, earth notes, black currant, and blackberry with a hint of balsamic in the background. Full-bodied in the mouth with dense, layered flavors and a plush palate feel, this lengthy offering will benefit from 2-3 years of additional bottle age. Drink it from 2012 to 2023.”

    Wine Advocate 192, December 2010

    THE STORY & WINEMAKER:

    Winemaker Roberto de la Mota has been working full-time in Argentina’s wineries and vineyards at 19 years of age . His passion for winemaking developed as a young child as he often helped his father after school at the Mendoza winery.  Later De la Mota joined his father at the Mendoza Winery and worked together for many years, but eventually he moved on to work as the wine consultant at  Cheval des Andes, a joint venture between Argentina’s top selections Bodegas Terrazas de los Andes and Bordeaux’s Château Cheval-Blanc.

    De la Mota has since become one of Argentina’s biggest champions of the Malbec grape. To continue his wine endeavors he has partnered with Bodega Mendel  -  one of the new up and coming boutique wineries in Mendoza, focusing on 80-year-old Malbec and Cabernet vineyards. Mendel’s vineyards (totaling 32 hectares) were originally planted in 1926 & 1928, and are located in the heart of Mendoza – the true wine country of Argentina.

    A true Adobo winery, Bodega Mendel is miniscule by its neighbours standards of size, but with Roberto’s guiding hand and Santiago Boaknin’s knowlege in vineyard management and oenology, Mendel has risen quickly to the top of the list of great Mendoza wineries.  At a recent tasting at Mendel, Santiago was kind enough to take me through the vineyards, even though just the day before he had been thrown from his horse and broke his leg.  He showed me how they practice organic vineyard management, with the vine rows interspersed with wildflowers and local grass to deter insects from eating the grapes.  There are a number of olive trees on the property as well, with which  Santiago makes the most beautiful olive oil (Santiago makes it as a hobby – there is none for sale).

    The tasting table is made of an old door taken from one of the winery buildings – truly a sustainable place – and the wines were showing beautifully.  I was treated to 2008 Mendel Malbec and Unus, 2007 Mendel “Finca Remota” and a very unique 2009 Semillon that Mendel has just started making in tiny quantites that I fell in love with – unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to get as Semillon in Argentina is fast becoming one of their most loved whites.

    A Fast Mover learns to love Slow Travel

    February 10, 2011 1:27 pm - Posted by Jody in Travel

    Raymonde Wagemaker was a mechanical engineer and a successful executive in the oil & gas industry. In fact Raymonde was so successful that he spent 250 days a year on the road traveling throughout South America to oversee the business units he was responsible for. Eventually after years of travel and deal making he decided he was successful enough and did what many of us can only dream of, he quit his day job and bought a vineyard. It just happened to also have a boutique hotel with two locations attached. Instantly this fast mover learned to love the art of slow travel.

    “Our customers are into slow travel.” says a beaming Raymonde as he and his wife Bernadette, a former teacher, show us around their property. “Our guests from the US, Brazil and Canada want to stay in a luxury property on a working vineyard. They want to take the time and taste the grapes.” Raymonde remembers that when he was an executive he wanted nothing more than a few days off to do nothing but relax and indulge. He vowed that one day he would give himself this luxury. And so when the 7 year old hotel came up for sale he bought it. Currently his mini-chain of properties has 2 locations, Valle de Uco which is a country style hotel in the midst of a private 8 hectare Malbec vineyard and Chacras de Coria an urban lifestyle hotel in Mendoza. Combined both properties have just 16 rooms.

    The philosophy according to Bernadette is to give guests the most precious luxury of them all, time. “Our customers love wine, they want to visit the wineries in Mendoza and sample the restaurants, but they also want to relax.” And so both properties quite consciously maintain a small, comfortable feel. When we were at the Valle de Unco property it was raining so we missed the view of the Tupungato Volcano and Andes Mountains but Raymonde assured us, “They are splendid, their majestic shape and fresh air combine to make this location relaxing and magical.”

    Postales Boutique Wine Hotels’ customers are baby boomers and well travelled executives like Raymonde. “I know these people, I was one of them for years so I know what they need and what they want to enjoy their time off. And so we specialize in giving them peace and quiet and an authentic Argentinean experience. “ It’s interesting that a family from Holland has mastered the art of Argentinean hospitality but they have. Our short stay was just long enough to relax, recharge and reinvigorate the senses before heading out on another long day of shooting.

    For more information visit their website, www.postalesarg.com.