Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Garden Variety wine

After spending the better part of the last two days hiking endlessly through Buenos Aires, our feet were crying out for a rest. Accordingly, we planned an easier go of it. We made a leisurely start to the morning and decided to hit one of the city's museums. MALBA is a fairly new addition to the B.A. art scene, having had its inaugural opening in 2001. Its mission is to focus on modern art from across the Latin American spectrum and to present it in a global continuum.

Boo quickly found out that cameras and the taking of photos weren't allowed at all. He managed to sneak in a couple of shots as a reminder of some of the more engaging pieces. In the same vein that I'm hardly an opera buff, I make no claim of understanding the slightest thing about art. I enjoy taking in an artist's vision and there certainly was some intriguing visions on display here, but I think I do better discussing the intricacies of a good wine.

Following MALBA, we located a great little deli/bakery and we loaded up for leisurely picnic. We'd decided to check out the Botanical Garden, hoping that it might offer up a nice spot for lunch. The hoof there was a bit longer than we'd expected. Luckily, there's never a shortage of monuments, plazas and sights to see along the way, but it did mean that we were all the more ready for a good sit and, finally, a bit of wine during our daily rounds.

Having passed through the Japanese Gardens first, the Botanical Gardens were a pleasant surprise. We didn't really know what to expect. I'd read that the recent economic difficulties in Argentina had left the gardens in a state of disrepair for some time and that they had become a home for a seemingly endless parade of cats that had been abandoned by their owners. In 2004, a local group had taken up the cause of restoring the Gardens and, to our enjoyment, their efforts were seeing appreciable success. The grounds remain rather frayed around the edges but we found a bench in a quiet little groomed area that was more reminiscent of Europe than the pampas, but it was just what we were looking for.

625. 2007 Domaine St. Diego Paradigma (Mendoza - Argentina)

After last night's "miss" on the sparkling Brut Xero, we went right back to an Angel Mendoza wine to see if we'd simply been caught up in the charm of the winery visit when we so enjoyed the wines. No need to worry. This bottle was everything wonderful that we'd originally remembered and I'm already wishing that we could find it back home in Vancouver.

The name "Paradigma" comes from a paradigm that Mr. Mendoza and other winemakers regularly face - showing the wine world that a high quality red wine can be made without the use of oak. A blend of Malbec, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv (60/20/20), there's a reliance on his vineyards and the fruit being produced to result in sufficient structure and profile for a successful wine. No issue here.

Once the bottle had been drained - which didn't take long at all - we continued with a tour of the Gardens. Then the feet said, "grab a cab and take me home."

I had one more goal for the afternoon. Our apartment wasn't far from Libreria El Ateneo - a bookstore to end all bookstores. In its previous life, El Ateneo had been both a concert hall theatre and a movie house. It was now a monument to literature. With four floors of books and music, you can comfortably sit back and peruse a book in one of the concert boxes or, better yet, enjoy a coffee or lunch on the old stage that's been converted into a splendid little cafe. There was no better place to put pen to the postcards that had been patiently waiting to be sent.

Tonight was meant to be our adventure into the world of tango. We'd put off attending one of the ubiquitous tango shows because the plan was to actually take classes at a gay milonga or tango hall. Problem was that, come the given hour, there didn't seem to be anything happening at the address given on the website. No sign. No open door. No tango. Darn it. We had to settle for a brief street show by buskers on the nearby pedestrian mall. It was almost enough to drive a guy to drink.

I'm not sure, but it might have been a sign. After all, our feet were pretty tender to start and I have a feeling that, despite the passion and desire, Boo's and my ability to avoid stumbling all over the other's feet would have been rather suspect. Better we stick to wine.

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