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Argentina is an exciting country filled with equally exciting wines. And I bet that as soon as I mentioned ‘Argentina’ and ‘wine’ you started thinking of Malbec! And I hope so, as Argentine Malbecs are worth trying.

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You may have to go through your fair few of restaurant table wines, but surely you’ll hit that one Malbec that you’ll want to bring home to share with friends and family (or just sitting back on the sofa watching your favorite series).

But I’m not here to talk about Argentina’s ‘teacher’s pet’ or ‘class favorite’’. I’m actually more interested in the quieter kid in the class.

The Malbec would be the ‘class favourite’ in the Argentine wine world.

 

I want to brag a bit about the Bonarda. If you go to any wine tasting in Buenos Aires, Mendoza or Salta I can assure you they will mention the Bonarda to you. The Bonarda is known as the ‘secret grape’ of Argentina. I actually find this rather strange as it is one of my favorites and constitutes 18% of wine produced in Argentina.

The Bonarda was given the title of ‘patito feo’ or the ugly duckling. As I mentioned before, when coming to Argentina you have your wine tastings, your great wines and then you have the high production bulk wines that unfortunately continue from an old habit that Argentina fell into over twenty years ago for making high production, tannic wine to be blended. The Bonarda was a great blending grape. This created a sort of ‘Damajuana’ mixed with soda water.

So the Bonarda has suffered an uphill struggle. But it’s doing amazingly well and you can you find it all over Argentina and even under other names such as ‘Dulce Nero’ in Italy and ‘Charbono’ in California.

When drinking a Bonarda you may pick up on notes of spice and pepper. This is great with a traditional argentine style picada with Salami and cheese. Or maybe a piece of steak would go just fine. Just make sure it’s not too heavy that it overpowers the wine!

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One of the low production, higher quality Bonardas’ you will find in Agentina – Las Perdices

Are there any other wine varietals from Argentina, or even South America, that you’ve heard of or tried that aren’t too famous?

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Yesterday afternoon, we were joined by a lovely group of women from Syracuse, NY and Las Vegas, NV. Five jovial sisters, daughters, and friends who all joked and laughed and really dove into the wines we had in front of us. What better way to spend a hot Buenos Aires Tuesday?

We often get a wide array of tasters in here, spanning the spectrum from the curious novice to the more tested connoisseur. Yesterday’s group tended to skew to the latter, which was really great to hear their questions or hear their comments, like how the 2007 Naiara Malbec had hints of clove and vanilla. Or how one of the tasters really hit the nail on the head by saying that the Naiara was a great sipping wine on its own, but with a big steak in front of her, the 2004 Las Perdices Don Juan Reserve Blend would be perfect.

Couple of great quotes from the tasting:

“This is primo!”

“Chocolate?! I smell spare ribs.” (I think she was joking…)

Reader Trivia Question:

What is a hybrid grape?

Tori and Ashwin Cheersing to a Great Afternoon.

Tori and Ashwin Cheersing to a Great Afternoon.

Last night, as Daniel and Lourdes were off basking in the mild LA winter with the US Tasting Tour, those of us here in Buenos Aires were suffering through the balminess of the Argentine spring. What better way to do that than pop open a nice bottle of torrontés, one of the (not-too) surprising favorites at last night’s tasting, where were joined by a lovely family from Los Angeles. Two clinical psychologists and their daughter who is also studying psychology, the conversation ranged from the election last week to learning about the need to horde monedas for the buses, undoubtedly all framed around the diverse wines in front of us. Amongst the Durigutti 2006 Bonarda and the Naiara Reserva 2006 Malbec, the other resounding favorite was the Ikella 2006 Malbec, whose outward frutiness was the perfect complement to the dulce de membrillo (jellied quince) that accompanied the wines last evening. “It’s an explosion of flavor,” one voice exclaimed excitedly. “An explosion!”

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