“And although the all-destroying forgetfulness, has killed my old illusion, I keep a humble hope hidden, which is all the fortune of my heart.” Returning, Feeling, Living...
That’s how I remember the iconic lyrics of Carlos Gardel’s Volver” (“Returning”) and journey through The Argentina, the land of sultry Tango. An artistic expression born in the Buenos Aires suburbs, it’s now a part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list and enjoyed daily by locals and tourists at the Plaza Dorrego of San Telmo.
Yes, The Argentina, land of Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Ernesto Sábato, and many others; The Argentina of National Rock; of theatre lovers in Corrientes; of the film industry with exponents like The Official Story, The Secret in their Eyes and The Lady of the Camelias; also the country of comics -who doesn’t know Mafalda (by Quino)? The working-class girl who expresses her concerns about the world so singularly. The artistic, cultural, casual, elegant country with economic, social, and political ups and downs, and of great stories like Eva Perón’s.
A country of renowned gastronomy, like the roast or barbecue, which you can enjoy in the purest Buenos Aires style at a Puerto Madero restaurant, or Las Caballerizas or the Lilas while enjoying the view of the Puente de la Mujer of Santiago Calatrava; or similarly in a family place, usually equipped with magnificent grills or broilers, and it makes no difference if it’s in Córdoba, Mendoza, Rosario or Buenos Aires because it’s a great tradition! How about empanadas, choripan, pasta and pizza, bread with butter and dulce de leche, Havanna or traditional alfajor produced locally? And what about artisanal Rapanui ice creams at the Palermo area with the typical Italian hint. Of course, there’s no Argentinian who isn’t used to mate, of guaraní origins, offered as a sign of friendship.
Wine stands out as the national drink, and it’s the fifth worldwide producer. The country transitioned from Spanish farming with Vitis vinífera (1551) to an innovative model based on enological practices used in European wineries to produce fine wines. It all began in 1853 when the french Michel Aimé Pouget replicated crops (in the Uco valley) of Cabernet, Merlot, and Cot (Malbec) grapes from Santiago de Chile. From there on, a story of ups and downs began, which finally gave personality and power to the Argentinean wine industry.
The country has developed an industry for both internal consumption and export. Its main banner is wines produced with the Malbec grape, from which it is the leading producer worldwide, particularly in the Mendoza area. This region is ideal for its production due to its dry weather and height. The risk comes from the adjacent Cordillera de Los Andes. With this grape, world-class wines have been developed.
One of my favorite wines is produced in a group of independent, family-owned wineries of Matías Michelini, which specializes in high-quality wines from Luján de Cuyo and Uco Valley in Mendoza. I speak about a 100% Malbec Barbarians Gualta from the Uco Valley, six months in an oak barrel. Harvested manually and pre-fermented maceration for 10 days, and later it’s fermented for 15 days with indigenous yeasts. It has a deep red color with violet shades. The smell of red plum, blackberry, vanilla, sweet tobacco, and cocoa. A smooth start in the mouth, balanced acidity, mature tannins, and a significant fruit presence. You can pair it with lean meats and blue cheeses, cheddar, gouda, and muenster. It’s advisable to take it between 15 and 20 degrees and decant it for 30 minutes. We have it in La Cava Chahue, visit our online store at www.cavachahue.com