Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lo de Jesus

OK, you're going to have to give me a little latitude with this entry. There is wine involved - eventually - but it was our first full day in Buenos Aires and, as a result, there was a lot of flat out, touristy sightseeing going on. I figure I need to put in some of the day's photos - even though we didn't exactly pop a cork until our wanderings were pretty much done for the day and we flopped down to give our feet a rest.

Seeing as how neither of us had been to B.A. before, we thought the easiest means of getting a feel for the city would to play the ultimate tourist and take one of those "hop on, hop off, double decker buses." You know the kind that travels all over town and gives you the opportunity to jump off and explore wherever your little heart desires.

We figured that the ride around would give us an idea of some of the hot spots that we could come back and visit on a more expanded time frame. It'd also give us a bit of a chance to stop off and spend a brief time in places - like the colourful La Boca area - where we likely wouldn't have time to get back to.

One thing that became abundantly clear - and quickly - was that Buenos Aires loves its plazas and statues! The public art and park space is amazing and I couldn't possibly hope to capture or give a true expression of all the wonders that are there to see at least not on a single posting on a wine blog. I can tell you that there were endless locations to sit back and sip on a Malbec - or two or three.

Particularly striking was one of the city's newest icons - having only been completed in 2002. Located in the United Nations Plaza, the Floralis Generica is a must-see visit. The park-like setting is perfect for a picnic but, unfortunately, we weren't prepared. We had to settle for a leisurely wander and viewing of the stainless steel wonder that towers 23 metres into the air and extends its petals to span 32 metres when it's fully open. Indeed, the flower petals open and close each morning and at sunset.

We ended our day's meandering with a visit to a bit of Argentine history and a celebration of meat. I'd wanted to try at least one of the traditional Argentine parillas or barbeque houses. Finding one in a city that obviously enjoys its wining and dining wasn't necessarily going to be a problem, but the question was going to be choosing which one.

Lo de Jesus seemed to jump out to me as it appeared to get favourable reviews on sites, like Chowhound, but it was supposed to be more of a popular place for locals rather than a big tourist draw. The old world bistro atmosphere worked for us - although we certainly didn't hit it on a busy night. Guess that just meant we got better attention than we would have otherwise.

A shared mixed grill certainly cried out for a big Argentine red and we jumped at the chance.

623. 2006 Trapiche Medalla (Mendoza - Argentina)

Based on mass marketing back home in Vancouver, when I think of Trapiche, I tend to think entry level, basic wine. Accordingly, I was a little surprised to see this wine on the restaurant's list of premium wines. What the hey...

Trapiche is Argentina's largest export brand. They apparently account for one in every five bottles that is sent to foreign markets. They have four levels of wines sold in BC alone. In fact, I was rather surprised to find that some Medalla wines are even sold in our market. The Medalla series was created in 1993 to celebrate the winery's centenary. It appears that they bottle some varietals in the series; however, our bottle this evening was a big and juicy blend of Cab, Merlot and Malbec. The back label also stated that the wine was limited to 25,000 bottles and each of them were numbered - our's being 02382.

Trapiche is based in Mendoza but big monies have been invested recently to open another winery in the more Northern region of San Juan. The winery is supposedly looking to establish itself in the cooler climate province of Patagonia as well.

It only made sense to try one of their wines while in Argentina - we'd already found out that two of our favourite wineries from the Mendoza tours were intimately connected to Trapiche. The Pulenta family behind Bodega Vistalba used to have a controlling interest in the now public Penaflor conglomerate that operates Trapiche and Angel Mendoza, the winemaker behind Domaine St. Diego, was a winemaker at Trapiche for 25 years. Who knows, he may have even had a part in starting the Medalla series back in '93.

I know that the wine was a great companion to sweetbreads and blood sausage that was served up from the grill. We may have to give Trapiche a little more consideration back home.

No comments:

Post a Comment