Cabaña de Las Lilas is one of the most famous steakhouses in Buenos Aires, let alone all of Argentina. When we walked in I recognized everything — the open kitchen, the smell of charred beef, the outdoor patio on the river – from my visit 10 years ago. We happened to be there this time on Mothers Day, which is celebrated on October 20 in Argentina and Chile. But we weren’t there to celebrate moms. The “we” I refer to is my group of fellow travel writers, all on a wine trip through Chile and Mendoza. Our last stop was a few hours in Buenos Aires. Most of the hours were spent at Cabaña Las Lilas. We weren’t complaining though, because that meant a three hour lunch with the most famous winery duo in Argentina, Nicolás and Elena Catena, proprietors of Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza. I was lucky enough…
It’s not everyday you get to have lunch and taste wine with a Napa Valley icon. Bernard Portet, founding winemaker at Clos du Val invited a small gathering of journalists to reflect on his 40 years making wine in the Napa Valley. He officially retired from Clos du Val at the end of 2009, but as so often happens he was going stir crazy and he knew he just had to get back into making wine.
Even sailing can’t keep Bernard away from wine. He has a 36’ sailboat named Obelix and loves to get out on the water. He’s also involved with the 34th America’s Cup through the Napa Valley Vintners. The weather for the upcoming weekend is perfect sailing weather but Bernard says he can’t go. He’s harvesting grapes instead.
The crush is for Bernard’s new label, Heritance. The project developed after Bernard bumped into Clos du Val’s former COO, Don Chase who also wanted to get back into wine. So they hatched a plan where Don would handle the business aspects and Bernard would make the wine. But the set up is nothing like Clos du Val. Bernard calls Heritance “a winery without walls.”
I know when the holidays are nearing because of the massive number of pitches, press releases and (a small amount) of wine start coming in. I’ve been getting these since before Halloween, just like the department stores putting out Christmas decorations super early. Much of the wine is Pinot Noir. I certainly understand that. It’s a safe and expected choice.
Not knocking Pinot here, but I like to introduce my guests to interesting wines. So no Pinot Noir or Chardonnay here, just my top 10 recommendations to try along with the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. All the wines, except for a big splurge on a Sauternes from Chateau Coutet (hey, it’s the holidays), sell for $25 and less. Read more