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Back in Buenos Aires

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Nov 20, 2006 12:03am ET

I’m back in Buenos Aires for a little R & R. It’s my third time in this fascinating city. My initial visit was just a teaser, a day and a half after visiting wine regions in both Chile and Mendoza, Argentina. But the memory remained vivid.

In August 2005, my wife and I decided to vacation in Buenos Aires for a week. Europe was just too expensive. Argentina proved to be the right place, with an exchange rate of roughly 3 pesos to the dollar.

So I find myself back in the “Paris of the South” once again (and like Paris, France, people don’t clean up after their dogs). This time it’s spring. The jacaranda trees with their violet bloom stand in pastel contrast to the stone and marble buildings.

However, my trip began with some angst. On the plane, a new Boeing 777, the pilot announced there was a problem with the cargo door. That fixed, we started taxiing toward the runway. The next announcement was worse. One of the 10 generators was out and we were returning to the gate.

Two hours later, aboard a fresh 777 (after a labyrinth tour of JFK to avoid going through TSA security again), we were airborne. I was ready for some beef and Malbec.

I arrived to a sunny, 72 degree F afternoon. Most everything was closed, this being a day for a family get-together, lazy brunch or afternoon stroll. I’m working up an appetite for what many porteños, the name for the local inhabitants, consider the best steakhouse, or parilla in town—La Brigada.

By the way, I have a cheat sheet of top-rated Malbecs reviewed by my colleague James Molesworth. How can I go wrong?

Santiago Achaval
Mendoza —  November 20, 2006 11:48am ET
Hey Bruce!Welcome back in Argentina! I hope you have a great time. If there's anything you need, call me at 0351-156-309932. Marcelo's on vacation in Brazil, so he's another happy guy!Best,Santiago
Alberto Consigliere
Vi?a del Mar, Chile —  November 20, 2006 12:16pm ET
La Brigada is in fact the best place to eat meat in Buenos Aires, is so tender that a spoon is enought to cut the beefstake.If you get tired of eating meat, try Katrine Roed's "Subito sotto il ponte" at Posadas 1029 (tel 43930332), excellent european style food.
Jane Kettlewell
Port Washington NY —  November 20, 2006 3:09pm ET
Hi Bruce!La Brigada is the best! Check out Juan Marco¿s impact on Navarro Correas reds with any vintage 2005, especially Reserva Malbec. Happy Thanksgiving!Jerome Jerome HasenpflugDirector of Wine EducationPalm Bay Imports48 Harbor Park DrivePort Washington, New York 11050Office: 516.802.4758Mobile: 516.721.0509Email: jhasenpflug@palmbayimports.com
Jose Manuel Ortega
November 20, 2006 8:46pm ET
Bruce:I hope you enjoy Argentina. I will be delighted to get your opinion on our Alfa Crux Malbec 03 and even this fairly unique Alfa Crux Blend 02 (old tempranillo, malbec and merlot vines). Today is a special day as for the first time in the short history of our winery, we made it to the Top 100 Wine Spectator List. If you plan to be in Mendoza, do not hesitate to contact me. Even if you are in Buenos Aires, I would like to take you out to dinner to Espacio Dolli, Argentina¿s top gastronomy space (it is actually not a restaurant as it only opens for limited groups and special events). I would love to tell you about our project to create high-quality wineries in the Old and New World. We already have presence in Ribera del Duero and Mendoza. I look forward hearing from you jmortega@ofournier.com
Fred Brown
November 20, 2006 9:26pm ET
Enjoy! We spent 4 weeks in Argentina this spring (last fall there). The 2002 Malbecs were wonderful at that time - we enjoyed the Luigi Bosca DOC in several restaurants for less than $20/bottle (outside BA). Unfortunately, you are likely to find that prices have gone up since your last visit, but still a terrific place to R&R!

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