When I decided to stay in Buenos Aires just over a year ago, I knew first thing, I had to do
something about learning the language more efficiently. As my background had been in the wine industry since around 2005, I thought maybe I could work wine tastings in Buenos Aires, as a sales person in a vinoteca (wine shop), or maybe as a waitress. As it might sound I had plenty of options, the real issue was my understanding of the language was not strong enough to interact with customers and clients. I was having enough trouble telling my bus driver where I needed to stop so he could enter my fare. Some days were so frustrating and exhausting. Someone would ask me a question, which I then translated in my head to English, then translated my answer into Spanish. The energy required for this thought process left me very Zombie-like by the end of the day, sometimes by the afternoon, but I did sleep well at night.
As I really did not have the language skill set to head out into the Argentine work force, which now in hindsight was partly a lack of confidence getting in my way, I went another route. I love wine, and what I love even more is that it can quite possibly be, if you choose, your life’s study. There is so much to learn and experience! So, I decided to attend the Escuela de Argentina Sommeliers (EAS). The classes were in Spanish, which not only would help me with the language, but I would meet some Porteños (term for those born in Buenos Aires) allowing for a start to a new social life. I would learn more about the world of wine and I would finish with another Sommelier certificate, making me very employable in Argentina as a Sommelier (Many people ask me what a ‘Sommelier’ is, I tell them we are paid wine snobs. I am sure there are many of my fellow associates who might take offense to my answer, but they need to lighten up. Many of them should.)
Anyway, December will mark the halfway point into the program, if I pass and gather all the information into my memory bank in my now second language. Finals are less than a month away, and studying requires many evenings, including Friday and Saturday nights (so much for a social life). It can all be very dry and tedious and coffee does not always help me stay engaged. What better way to study wine than tasting wine?! So, last night while I was pouring over Cote de Nuits, I poured some wine.
As French wine is practically inaccessible (due to importation restrictions), I opted for an Argentina wine, a 2011 La Flor Sauvignon Blanc from well-known Pulenta Estate. The bodega is located in Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza run by family Pulenta who have been in the viticulture and wine making business for three generations.
As we are already in 90-degree temperatures, the fan was on full speed and I filled my glass. A beautiful wine- I love how Sauvignon Blanc can vary from one to another. It is one of the first grapes harvested, if not the first, as it is too delicate to withstand lengthy hangtime (the time permitted for grapes to remain on the vine for extended maturity). Because of this, it can really take on characteristics of the land and region where it is grown, rather than a lot of fruit. This one had a note of minerality and a blast of tropical fruits on the nose; pineapple, passion fruit, then ripe pears, gooseberry. The flavors lifted my mood and awakened my tired eyes from studying combined with the heat, with bright and crisp green apples, tart pineapple (the way I like it), pears, sweet lemon drops and pink grapefruit. It finished with more savory, earthy minerality.
Not only is it a great study wine, but if you find yourself in sweltering heat, craving something light and refreshing, or maybe you have plans for some sushi or chowing on tortilla chips and ceviche, try the 2011 La Flor Sauvignon Blanc.