Wine Tasting in Buenos Aires
Leah Walker August 10, 2014

In deciding to visit Buenos Aires, there were two things I knew I must do: eat steak and drink wine. There was no sense in wasting time, and within hours of landing, I’d indulged in a massive slab of medium rare beef and found myself in the Palermo Soho loft of Anuva Wine for a tasting.

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The term ‘tasting’ may be a bit of an understatement. With Anuva’s generous and unlimited pours, it’s more like a ‘guzzling’ for those of us without much self-discipline {me}. Technically, an Anuva tasting includes five glasses, but I know I drank much more during the two hours. Luckily for me, booze is not the only thing served. Each label is perfectly paired with Argentine tapas, and for $52, that’s likely the best deal in all of Buenos Aires.

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Although Anuva can arrange for an all-red tasting, I didn’t go that route. You see, I don’t discriminate based on color—white, rose, or red—if it’s good wine then I’ll certainly drink it. Though it must be said, that I prefer red, even during a blazing-hot Texas summer. Call me crazy.

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The wines presented at the tasting come from some of the best small-production boutique wineries in Argentina and are unavailable in the United States. What that means is that unless I spend a year traipsing through all the wine growing regions of Argentina, I will have never seen, tasted, or even heard of any of the wines before. That prospect was appealing since I’ve sort of made it my mission to taste every Argentine Malbec after discovering it a few years ago.

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The tasting began with bubbles, as most great evenings do. The sommelier, Cara, chose a 2011 Hom Espumante sparkling wine produced in Mendoza by Cava la Carmela. With 70% Chardonnay and 30% Chenin Blanc grapes, this extra brut sparkling wine smells of citrus and has a light taste. Served with a crostini topped with pear and walnut, two full glasses of Hom were required to make sure I truly liked it. This was all in the name of research, of course.

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Round two was a 2012 Laborum Single Vineyard Torrontés, which served as my introduction to Argentina’s signature grape. Grown in Salta in the northern region of Argentina, these Torrontés vineyards are the highest in the world, located 9,000 feet above sea level. One sniff of the wine left me thinking it would be sweet, almost like a dessert wine. Instead, it was tart. After readjusting my taste buds and taking another couple of sips, I quite liked Torrontés. However, I didn’t appreciate its voodoo trickery. To counteract the acidic taste, it was served with a duo of sorbet, which made for an inspiring combination.

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The remaining three wines were red and paired with a cheeses, meats, chutneys, and bread. The first of the reds was a 2005 Mairena Bonarda. Known as Douce noir in France and Charbono in California, Bonarda is the #2 grown variety in Argentina. Producing only about 15,000 bottles per year using estate fruit grown next to the Andes, Mairena’s Bonarda tasted of vanilla and wild berries, two flavors I quite enjoy. And since I’m a sucker for a cute label, I appreciated the sketch of the vintner’s daughter on this one.

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Malbec literally translates to ‘bad beak’ in French, which likely got its name for the tendency to be diseased and rot in the Bordeaux region. This thin-skinned grape didn’t perform well in Bordeaux, but it flourished in the dryer climate of Mendoza.

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Apparently in Argentina, 2011 was a very good year, as evidenced by San Gimignano’s Malbec Roble. Proving that good things come to those that wait, San Gimignano aged this Malbec for twelve months in French and American oak. Flavors from dark fruits like blackberries mingle with cinnamon and nutmeg to create this addictive smoky, full-bodied wine. This was easily my favorite of the evening and was served with a traditional Argentine empanada.

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Last but not least came a 2010 Malbec known as the ‘chocoholic’ wine, Finca Deneza Guarda from MarinaE. Started by a French couple in 2003, CarinaE produced only 3,500 bottles of this special Malbec using 90-year old vines. Matched with truffles, the wine not only smells like chocolate, but also has a chocolate flavor mixed with plums and black currants. I particularly enjoyed this wine as an alternative to a super-sweet dessert wine. Often those taste like I’m drinking a glass of Aunt Jemima, and I prefer to keep syrup on my waffles, thank you very much.

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The tasting drew to a close around 8:00, which incidentally is still about three hours before a true Argentine eats dinner, and order forms were passed around the table. The cool thing about Anuva is that all the bottles tasted are available for purchase [obviously}, which comes in super handy since they’re not available in the United States. What I can truly appreciate is that the company ships to the US. This eliminates the risk of  a wine-soaked suitcase nor am I limited by the pesky alcohol policy of one bottle per person on the flight home. Anuva also has a wine club for those who are completely smitten with Argentinian wines {me}.

Wine…like I need another reason to return to Argentina.

I was a guest of Anuva Wines, but in no way I was a swayed to write a positive review based on the bottomless glasses of wine, cool Palermo Soho loft, or mango sorbet. As always when it comes to wine, I’m only influenced by my taste buds and the severity of my headache the following morning.

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. This post makes me regret my decision to not book our expensive South America honeymoon. Every wine looks so delicious, and that meat and cheese plate…

    I’ll have to bring a suitcase just for wine whenever I make it to Argentina!

  2. This looks like such a great evening! I’ll hold my hands up and say I know nothing whatever about different wines. I did do a wine tasting in New Zealand, but similar to your experience, it was more of a guzzling than a tasting (though I still can’t really distinguish much between wines, however much I may have guzzled). But I’m really impressed with the tapas that accompanied your wine tasting – looks like such a great deal. And delicious, too!

    1. I’ve taken a million wine tasting classes and I always start out with the best of intentions. I listen carefully and even take notes. By the third wine that’s out the window. Don’t feel bad. Wine is to be enjoyed. :-)

  3. BsAs, one of our fave we need to get back to asap. Argentinean Malbec is always stocked at our house — wouldn’t mind trying some sparkling with that! So glad I had my glass of red while reading this post LOL

  4. I want to go to Argentina so badly, it hurts. And I want to go for the same reasons you cite: to eat beef and drink wine. Well, and to tango and go to Patagonia… Anyway, those wines sound amazing. I definitely prefer the reds and Malbec just happens to be one of my favorites. I love the way you describe dessert wines; I, too, am not a fan. They are way too syrupy for me.

  5. Leah, this looks great. Fitting that I waited until today to read this post. Our wedding anniversary is today and we’ve decided to do a meat and cheese tasting with lots of great wines. That top picture resembles my dining room table in about six hours. I do love Malbec. I’m so glad I discovered them. I think my wine-drinking fun would be incomplete without it.

  6. There were tons of reasons I went to Argentina last year and, naturally, a major one was wine. I was already hooked on Malbec, but quickly discovered Torrontes (I love the way it’s pronounced too). Chocoholic Malbec? Sign me up!

  7. I acquired quite the taste for wine tasting in the wine yards of South Africa, and I’m glad to see one of my (hopefully) next destinations offers that as well. By the way, I can’t believe it took me this long to find your amazing blog, the design and photos are amazing!

    1. I can’t wait to visit the vineyards of South Africa. It’s at the very top of my travel wish list. And thank you SO much for the kind words about my site. You’re welcome to come back any time. :-)

  8. This is how I felt about visiting Chile…eating and drinking wine! This looks like a great experience. I’ve been dreaming of visiting Buenos Aires for a while now, but I’m glad I waited because now I know all about this place. Those empanadas are reason enough to get me there!!!

  9. Geez, I can’t wait to go to Argentina, and wine tasting is one of the main reasons! I need to look more into this. :) And I am totally with you about wine–even here in the 100 degree summers, I go for reds, but I also am very eager to try whites and roses since they can be just as interesting and complex as a good red.

    1. I’m really learning to appreciate white and especially rose. A good wine is a good wine in my book. Next time you go to Brazil, look into a trip to BA. Besides the pesky visitor’s fee, it’s such a great value!

  10. I spent 6 weeks in Buenos Aires this year and probably drank too much wine, haha. I want to add that Pain et Vin in Palermo Soho is another great place to drink great wine from boutique wineries in Argentina. They are so friendly and knowledgeable there and picky about what they offer. And after spending weeks having the same mediocre cheese and meats everywhere (making me long for San Francisco), it was refreshing to see a variety of great food. In my honest opinion, after a month and a half in BA, spending $50 sounds like A LOT. My boyfriend and I had a 5 course dinner with wine pairings for each at Casa Felix (a highly regarded closed-door restaurant) for about $45. Buenos Aires is an amazing city to enjoy wine and an inexpensive city overall.

    1. I’ll have to remember your suggestion of Pan et Vin for the next time I visit Buenos Aires. I suppose $50 is quite a bit for Argentina, but I’d been in Europe and Brazil, so that seemed like a bargain. It’s all relative, right?

  11. i’m bringing a small group of clients to Buenos Aires and Patagonia in January for an active fitness retreat. I’ve got a food tour planned in BA, but after reading your article, I’m thinking of changing that outing to a wine tasting (and yes, I consider wine tasting to be a “healthy” activity!). Thanks for the post. Can’t wait to get back to Argentina!

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