I am finally in Buenos Aires, after a hellish journey. My journey started simply enough with a 2pm departure from home to JFK. Fast forward 44 hours and I’ve arrived to my fifth new country this calendar year. Note to self, do not take Delta anytime soon.
My baggage made it to Ezeiza International Airport(one hiccup) and I swiftly made it to Buenos Aires centro, a beautiful city with nodes to Paris and Milan in the architecture. After a long shower, I headed to La Bisteca for a buffet style lunch including grilled meat. The food was good but not great.
At my hotel, I met with Pedro, the export manager, and Maria, an owner, from Bodega del Desierto. We walked to the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires Hotel and conducted our tasting at the hip Duhau Restaurant & Vinoteca, where we met brother and co-owner Armando. Pioneers in a region that has been deserted, Bodega del Desierto is a 10 hour drive away in the province of La Pampa, Argentina, where the Rio Colorado runs through a high valley near the town of 25 de Mayo, also the name for their entry level wine. Paul Hobbs acts as consulting winemaker and clean, quality and modern winemaking was evident. We tasted the $15 varietal line from the 25/5 label, terrific values for the money; the wines showed good varietal character. A notch up in quality, the Desierto Pampa line, was also very good.
Wine Spectator's James Molesworth in March 2008 wrote the below:
My first stop was in the province of La Pampa, which extends from the border of Buenos Aires all the way down to the Rio Negro. The first half of La Pampa are the flat grasslands where the country’s beef is raised, but the terrain eventually changes to semi-arid conditions, with scrub brush as far as the eye can see. Here, in the southwest corner of the province is Bodega del Desierto, the only winery in the entire province. Located 1,000 kilometers from Buenos Aires, it’s the same distance from the capital as is Mendoza, just in a different direction.
As for the wines, they show excellent results already, with consistently very good quality. The Sauvignon Blanc is made in a more generous style, with ripe, focused lemon and grapefruit notes. The Chardonnay is round, fresh and clean. A portion is barrel-fermented in used barrels and then combined with juice that is fermented in stainless steel. The reds are the more interesting wines here. The Merlot is smoky but fresh, with plum and fig notes, while the Syrah shows racy violet and raspberry flavors with a gutsy undertow. It’s a touch firm—those thick skins can be seen in the wine—but it has the flesh to settle into itself. Both the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab Franc show solid varietal character, the Franc with admirable muscle.
Argentina feels distinct and authentic.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Posted by Elisa Kwon at 12:16 AM