Top Destinations in Argentina (outside of BA)

(Photo by teipsum)

Summer is the time when locals take vacation and in Argentina there are many locations that are well worth visiting during the year’s warmer months. Of course, the most popular destinations are the beaches, both in Argentina and in Uruguay.  The Atlantic coast is a favorite of many and some of the hottest places to visit include Pinamar, Villa Gesel, Mar del Plata, Necochea and Punta del Este in Uruguay (find a full list of recommended beaches here).

Further South, in the Chubut province is Puerto Madryn a beautiful spot that is popular for scuba diving and for whale watching between the months of July to December.

(Photo by Perfídia)

The rest of the Patagonian region is also very popular due to its stunning lakes, forests and mountains. Recommended places in this region include Calafate in Santa Cruz, where the famous Perito Moreno glacier is located; El Chalten, which is the Argentine trekking capital; Bariloche; the beautiful Villa La Angostura, and many other towns and hidden spots, surrounded by vibrant buzzing nature.   The climate in the South is dry and it is an area known for its cuisine based on lamb,  trout,  smoked meats, berries and chocolate.

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Bordering the Andes, a little further up north is the Argentine wine region in the provinces of Mendoza, La Rioja, San Juan,and Salta. This area’s sceneries are also stunning and there are several wine routes in which visitors can stop by different wineries and try everything wine related. The fiesta de la vendimia  (harvest festival) will take place in March this year and from the 26th of February to the 5th of March there is a fun-packed event being prepared by La Morada de los Andes.  (http://www.lamoradadelosandes.com)

(Photo by David Alberts)

As previously mentioned Salta is part of the country’s most prolific wine region and it is also the home to a large indigenous community and unique landscapes. This makes it a very popular destination along with its northern neighbor Jujuy, despite the scorching heat. In this region referred to as el Norte (the north), some of the top attractions are the Cerro de los Siete Colores in Purmamarca and the famous Quebrada de Humahuaca in Jujuy, amongst many others.  Along with Gualeguaychu, in the province of Entre Rios, this is also one of the areas that make big celebrations for Carnival.

(Photo by Carina_85)

Another very popular tourist destination is Córdoba, which is a province in the center of the country with access to hills, rivers, streams and small cascades.  Some popular places are Villa Carlos Paz, La Cumbre, Capilla del Monte (reputed to be a place with unique energy and alien sightings!), the German village Villa General Belgrano and other tranquil towns (including San Pedro, a hippie commune and Cumbrecita an eco town). This region is also known for its typical alfajores.

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Finally, Argentina’s most popular tourist destination is the Iguazu Falls in Misiones. The sweltering heat dissuades many but still the stunning beauty of these well-known waterfalls attracts many a visitor. The province is also known for its unique vegetation and red earth, and for a stunning location called Saltos de Moconá, which is a long line of 10m high waterfalls that can be seen when the river tide is low.

Win a Luxury Vineyard Weekend!

Luxury and wine go hand in hand and everyone in Mendoza knows that, specially the people from La Morada de los Andes. This residential community, set amongst the vines of Los Arbolitos vineyard and sheltered by the beautiful views of the Andes Mountains in Valle del Uco, is inaugurating their clubhouse and accomodations in March 2013. For the occasion, they have created a special contest that consists in suggesting names on their Facebook page for their new road. The winner will get the chance to spend a one of a kind luxury weekend, with the company of his or her choice, at this gorgeous location which features great views, an all season swimming pool, tennis courts, fine dining and of course fantastic wine. The contest deadline is on the 9th of December via Facebook.

Those traveling to Mendoza might also be interested in signing up for their La Morada´s 3rd Gourmet Horseback Crossing of the Andes which will be taking place in February, a great month to visit the area due to the harvest festival.

Argentine Wine at Vinos y Bodegas 2012

(Photo by longhorndave)

The Vinos y Bodegas 2012 expo kicks off today at La Rural and promises a full four days of top Argentine wines. The event, which will take place from 6pm-10pm until the 15th of September, is one of the biggest wine fairs in Latin America.

Some of the highlights this year include a new sector that specializes in limited edition and sparkling wines,  a wine bar, wine tasting events, olive oil tastings, a cooking show and different thematic wine tours including a Malbec, Torrontes, Syrah, Crianza, Non traditional varietals, Sweet and Sparking wines, and white and rosé. Additionally there will be contests, live art and more surprises!

Tickets to the expo cost 120pesos and  include a complimentary glass of wine. They can either be purchased at La Rural box office or online here. Av. Santa Fe 4201, Palermo.

Argentine Olive Oil

(Photo by riccardo bruni)

Over the past twelve years Argentina has slowly been building its name in the international olive oil industry. In fact, it is currently the first olive oil producer in the Americas and the 10th  in the world! Much like it did with wine,  it is progressively building its notoriety, and is producing top quality first cold pressed extra virgin olive oils, as well as exploring with different varieties such as Arbequina (typical of the Spanish Catalan and Aragon regions), Frantoio (originally from Tuscany), Manzanilla (also from Spain), and Arauco (which some consider the Malbec of olives).

The main regions of olive oil production are the wine areas of Mendoza, Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan, and also, on a smaller scale, Cordoba province.   It is the wineries themselves that have introduced these delectable and nutrient packed oils into the market, and also into the tourism sector. Just a few weeks ago, Mendoza inaugurated it’s Ruta del Olivo (olive oil route) where olive oil tastings, spa treatments, and the chance of visiting olive plantations and participating in the harvest and production of oils, are offered to enthusiastic visitors.

In Buenos Aires, boutique wine stores sell these new Argentine delicacies. www.mondoliva.com has an online store with reviews by olive oil specialists, and offers olive oil tastings in the city; a must for picky palates!

Top Ski Destinations in Argentina

(Photo by Andre Charland)

Just as in the summer the locals flee during January to cool off at local and Uruguayan beaches, in the winter they head to beautiful Andean towns where skiing and winter sports abound. Below is a list of snowy destinations to slide to:

Mendoza: The famous wine province is not only worth visiting for its Malbecs and Torrontes wines, but also for its winter sports. In the town of Malargue, a popular resort, Las Leñas, receives ski-clad visitors every winter. This year, Las Leñas will be launching its new Minerva chairlift. This ski-haven is also well known for its snow park, the biggest in South America.

Neuquén: Further down south, in the Neuquén province are three famous ski resorts; Chapelco in the San Martin de los Andes city, Cerro Bayo in Villa La Angostura, and Caviahue in the Copahue town.

In Chapelco there are professional ski slopes as well as a team of specialized instructors to assist people with disabilities so they can also join in on the fun.

In Cerro Bayo there is a careful attention to details including an eco-patrol that encourages skiers to care for their environment and the mountains and to wear helmets amongst other safety precautions.

Caviahue is less known and is launching three new slopes this year as well as offering alternative tourist activities such as excursions to cascades or to the Copahue volcano crater.

Bariloche: This famous tourist destination in Rio Negro is known for its gorgeous lakes and the Cerro Catedral, the oldest ski resort in the country. Some of the highlighted features of this resort are the sled slope and the snow-tubing slope.

Chubut: Further south is the town of Esquel is a popular resort called La Hoya. It is well known for its ski fest, which will take place from the 16ht-22nd of July this year, and which features competitions, live music and a beauty pageant. It is also one of the cheaper ski resorts.

Ushuaia: Finally, way down South in Ushuaia is the Cerro Castor, which is getting ready for the 2015 world ski instructor championships by bettering the quality of their services and offering an enhanced beginner slope.  Other winter attractions in Ushuaia include riding in sleds, horseback riding and night excursions.

Argentine Wines: Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the queen of white varieties, and although it is undoubtedly a very French monarch, it has been warmly welcomed by the Argentines, who chose it as their number one white wine -at least before the Torrontés boom. Adaptability is, after all, one of the many virtues of this grape, which is being grown quite successfully in most of the wine regions of the country, particularly in the cooler heights of Valle del Uco, in Mendoza.

Chardonnay is usually mid to full bodied, and can be buttery and toasty, depending on its exposure to oak. It offers an array of flavors, which depend on the climate in which they are grown: Warmer regions yield wines infused with the aroma of tropical flowers, pineapple and bananas, whereas cooler places deliver leaner wines, more mineral and acidic, with the scent of apples and citrus. In its different styles, it pairs well with seafood, fish, pasta, poultry and some cheeses.

For a special sample of Argentine wines, accompanied by snacks from HG Restaurant, don’t miss our weekly tastings every Thursday starting at 7PM at Fierro Hotel.  Soler 5862, Palermo. 3220 6800. recepcion@fierrohotel.com.

Wine Tastings at Fierro Hotel

Would you like to know more about Argentine Wines?  Then you should come to our weekly wine tastings where Certified Sommelier Martin Bruno will take you on a journey through Argentina’s wine producing regions: Salta, San Juan, Mendoza, Rio Negro and Neuquen.

Designed by Bruno and Andres Rosberg, President of the Argentina Sommelier Association, six wines will be showcased with selections changing weekly. Light snacks and hors d’oeuvres from Hernán Gipponi will also be included.

Tastings are held in our cellar every Thursday at 7PM for the price of USD25 Per Person and are limited to 7 people. Book your place, both guests and non-guests are welcome!

Todays wines:

Las Perdices Sauvignon Blanc 2010-Mendoza
Callia Magna Viognier 2009-San Juan
Ocio Merlot 2009-Rio Negro
Primogenito Malbec 2008-Neuquen
Colome Estate 2009 -Salta

Fierro Hotel Boutique

Soler 5862, Palermo

3220 6800

recepcion@fierrohotel.com

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