Argentina is a beautiful country, I hold it deeply in my heart and I love traveling there! Argentinian are very warm, kind and generous people, they have a big sense of humor and master the art of partying and enjoying life! I could also add a little note on men…I shouldn’t say it (for their ego of course) but they know how to speak to women which add some spice to the trip (for us women) :)!
Argentina as a wine country
Argentina is not only about gauchos, tango and parillas (the equivalent of BBQ in Latin America) … it’s a wine country! One of the biggest producer in the world! Fith producer globally in term of volume, after Italy, Spain, France and the United-States. It will soon change with the increasing hectares of vines growing in China and Turkey.
Argentina has several wine regions in store with about 220.000 hectares under vines. The biggest region is Mendoza accounting 70% of the production with 160.000 hectares. Most of the vineyard lie at the foothills of the Andes, spread over more than 1.500 kilometres from north (Salta) to south (Patagonia).
Argentinian are selfish with their wine as they share only a 1/4 of the production with the world! Yes, they enjoy drinking wine! This is why they export only 1/4 of the production and keep the largest part for themselves.
The main grapes varieties are Malbec and Bonarda for the reds and Torrontes, a very aromatic white grape, for the whites that you will find mostly in Salta.
Malbec is the flagship of Argentina, a grape that was originaly from Cahors in the south west of France, a wine that we call there “le vin noir” or “black wine” because of its very dark tannins that gives you free red lipstick and black teeth after a few glasses of it. Try it and you will see by yourself;)!
Mendoza, a city and region with plenty of wonderful activities
Have you ever been to Mendoza? I LOVE this city, if you like wandering around large streets full of shady platanus, welcoming terraces with incredible big pieces of steak ( Argentina is the best country ever for meat lovers), picturesque squares where mendocinos enjoy gathering maté ( the latine american way of drinking tea) in the afternoon. Why so many squares? I’ve heard, when visiting there, that it was because of the terremoto (Mendoza is a zone for earthquakes), safest place to go to for not being crushed by a building. Be careful…
When in Mendoza, there are plenty to do. You can go to the Andes and experience adventurous sports such as rafting, hiking, horseriding, even skiing if it happens that you’re visiting during the cold season…
If you want to go to the vineyards, the best thing to do it to ride a bike and do “la ruta del vino”. Turism is developped and most wineries open their doors to the turist.
Carinae, when it’s never too late to live your dreams
The boutique winery I’m taking you to is a powerful example that it is never too late in life to “create your dreams”. I’m using the word “create” powerfully because I believe that it is all about “creation” and “taking action” as anything in life is falling by itself in your arms. The owners, Brigitte and Philippe Subra, a french couple in their 50’s, after having spent 3 years in Mendoza, because of Philippe work, fell in love with the country, especially Mendoza, and decided to stay and start a new life on the foothills of the Andes. In 2003, they purchased their finca in Maipu and became winemakers overnight. Their success is given by the fact that they knew how to surround themselves. The winery is named Carinae for the constellation that appears in summer and mostly during the harvest season. Their wines are very smooth, well balance and most importantly, give you emotions!
Argentinian Steak with Powerful Malbec.
You will need:
- a bottle of Carinae Harmonie Malbec or any other Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina.
- grilled asparagus and potatoes
- a few pieces of dark chocolate
- butter or coconut oil
- Some Fresh Basil
- and of course a good piece of argentinian steak (Tenderloin beef).
Cook the tenderloin on a pan or BBQ at maximum hit. I like to have it seared and very rare.
Prepare a sauce in a pan with the butter or coconut oil and the some small piece of dark chocolate.
Use your oven for the potatos and asparagus (400ºF). Add some coconut oil on the top with some salt and pepper and put them once the oven is very warm for at least 30 mn. Pull out once it is cooked and grilled.
Serve the tenderloin with the vegetables, chocolate sauce, fresh basil and of course a glass of Malbec!
All my recipes are paleo based. I’m a strong advocate of the paleo diet which was a game changer for me a year ago. I believe that you can have wonderful tasty meals with wine and still feel great.
Pairs well with Bajofondo in the background
Gustavo Santaolalla likes to describe his group as Music of the Rio de la plata. Mix of tango, murga, milonga and candombe found within the rio de la plata region between Argentina and Uruguay. Don’t call his music “electrotango” he won’t take it well! Listen to Código de barra from one of their best album released in 2013 called Presente, pour to yourself a glass on Carinae Malbec or another Mendocino Malbec and have a great time…