A Roving Wine Tasting in Buenos Aires
Towards the end of my stay in Buenos Aires last year, I heard about a wine walking tour in Palermo.
As you know, I kind of have a thing for wine.
On their website, they describe the TimeOut BA Wine Walking Tour as a pilgrimage (a pretty great word). It immediately brought back memories of the “rovings” I used to attend a few years ago.
What is a roving?
It is a moving cocktail party.
Three people in the neighborhood would open their homes for a 1.5 hour period of time, and the party would move from the first, to the second, and then to the third house in the neighborhood to end the night. I always had a great time. I think the change of scenery makes the party more interesting. And it’s sort of like being a kid playing a game… except for the adult beverages of course.
Checking out this roving wine tasting was at the top of my to-do list when I got back to this city.
TimeOut BA Wine Walking Tour
What Is It?
It is a brilliant idea to make a wine tasting mobile.
An expert sommelier leads the small group to 4 different venues, all cool and trendy spots, and 1 or 2 wines are tasted at each spot (a total of 6 wines). This is an afternoon tasting, so you are not fighting the crowds at any of the locations. The bar already has the wines of choice ready to present when you walk in the door.
My Wine Walk Experience
I met sommelier Cara, an expat from the UK, at a popular steakhouse in Palermo Soho in the afternoon. I was fresh from my luxury wine vacation in Cafayate, so a part of me wondered if these wines would live up to my wine snob expectations. Plus, I totally know everything about Argentine wine now.
So what did we start with? A sparkling wine.
I know nothing about sparkling wine.
And I am one of those people that looks down on sparkling wines because, you know, they’re like wine coolers.
After one sip, I realized I was completely wrong about sparkling wine.
I really enjoyed this wine. It is very refreshing and has a bit of a lime taste.
This wine comes from Lujan de Cuyo in the Mendoza province. Nature means it is completely dry. There is only 2% sugar. This is a 60/40 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Sparkling wine is quite rare for Argentina because it is mostly about the big, full-bodied reds.
Cara schooled me in the fine art of sparkling wines. The best tip I picked up is related to bubbles.
This is one of the few times in life that smaller is better. You know how people talk about a “champagne hangover?” That is because the wine is injected with carbon dioxide (which gives it the larger bubbles), and that is what gives you the bad hangover.
The second stop in the wine walk was the large patio of a trendy restaurant/ bar a few blocks away. We had two wines from Andeluna waiting for us, a white and a red, as well as a tasty snack.
Andeluna Malbec 2010
This wine is an explosion of flavor with balanced tannins that coat your mouth.
This is the style of Malbec I love and for which Argentina is known.
We talked a lot about the qualities of wines from Mendoza and what makes the environment special.
Having just gotten back from Cafayate, I tried a lot of Torrontés. I realize now that I didn’t write about Torrontés at all during my time in Cafayate. That is mainly because their reds are so impressive. I will have to add that to my writing list.
I was looking forward to trying a Torrontés from Mendoza.
I actually didn’t know that they grew it there. But it does make sense because they also have the altitude that fits this Spanish grape.
The thing that impresses me most about this wine, as well as many other Torrontés wines I have tried, is that they smell super sweet, but their taste is actually delicate and balanced partly because the grape retains its acidity.
Cara gave us insight into many more aspects of the history of Mendoza wines, as well as the chemistry behind pairing this Malbec with meat and this Torrontes with sushi or slightly spicy food.
The next stop was a café/ bakery a few blocks away. We had two more wines from Argento waiting for us, another white and red.
Argento Pinot Grigio 2011
I haven’t tried many white wines, so it was nice to have the opportunity to taste one of the best and get some tips from an expert.
Cara told us the tests for sweetness and acidity. No, I am not going to give away all the secrets here.
Argento Malbec 2009
I really loved this Malbec.
It tastes of dark berries and chocolate.
Cara explained a bit to us about the use of screw tops becoming more popular. I used to be under the impression that a good wine must have a cork. That is not the case. Apparently, it ages better with a screw top.
Our last stop was a swanky hotel bar where we tried two more reds. I have to admit that my notes become a little difficult to read at this point.
Barrandica Pinot Noir 2010
I love pinot noir.
Before I started my travels in South America, pinot noir was my favorite wine, although I didn’t know much about it. I haven’t tried many wines of this variety in Argentina because they are just not as common. Cara explained the conditions for growing this grape. It’s a bit high-maintenance. Maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much.
Barrandica Malbec 2010
That is all I have to say about this wine because that is all I wrote down.
My Tips for the TimeOut BA Wine Walking Tour
This is a great activity for both solo travelers or those traveling with friends. Here are a few tips for getting the most of out of the afternoon.
Take advantage of your local guide’s wine and city knowledge.
Cara was happy to give out tips on her favorite restaurants and activities and other great Argentine wines to try.
Don’t forget to eat!
A tasty appetizer was provided at our second stop, but I did not eat much of it. Too busy talking and enjoying the wine I guess. I was a little tipsy by the end, most likely because my rockstar tolerance built up in Cafayate was defeated by the fact that I didn’t take advantage of the food.
Speaking of being a little tipsy….
Don’t be afraid to ask for another pour of your favorite wines.
That is one of the things I really like about this tasting. Just be sure to pace yourself. Taste everything, but drink the ones you really enjoy.
Book Your Wine Walking Tour!
Go to the Wine Tour website and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to book your tour. Tours are currently offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at 330pm. It is recommended to book a couple of days in advance. Since this is an afternoon event, you can check out the boutique shopping and have dinner at one of the many great restaurants in Palermo after you finish the tour.