On our first day in Argentina, we went to Nieto in Luján de Cuyo, which is in northern Mendoza. They make a ton of Malbec (obv, since that’s what Mendoza is known for) but also some good Bonarda and Torrontes among a few others.
One cool thing was to see how they train some vines to grow up high in a pergola system to figure out how it affects the grapes. What they’re finding is that the lower vines create more balanced wines but hey, it’s fun to run around under the high pergola vines.
Anyway, when all the harvest workers are done with harvest every year they make a huge asado. We had so many asados in Argentina as people welcomed us to their vineyards and homes, but this was our first one and it did NOT disappoint.
First of all, I’ll admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Malbec. The dirty-gritty thing it has going on isn’t my palate (similarly, I don’t really dig Sangiovese either) but DAMN is it good with asado! For asado, they cook like a million kinds of meat over charcoal and it gets super charred and gritty and awesome. You start to see how the land that makes a certain kind of grape grow well influences what food you make for it. Think paella with Rioja, Italian tomato sauces with Sangiovese, sauerkraut with Riesling. So I discovered that Malbec + meat = happy, happy mouth.
Third, the empanadas to start and all the sides are pretty amazing too and they go great with the Nieto Torrontes which was one of my favorites of theirs. Just an a massive, gorgeous nose of honeysuckle and orange blossom. Wow! And for $12??? Triple wow. They said they usually have it after dinner, I’ll take it any time.
Fifth, we got to eat with a view of the Andes. Just insane.
And last, these guys.
The Cadus wines are awesome (about $50). The 2011 was milk chocolate and blackberry jam with some purple floral notes, amazingly delicious finish. The 2008 was like the mom to the younger daughter: less ripe fruit and more roasted meat with much calmer tannins. And of course, perfect with the asado!