MICHELIN IN ARGENTINA (PART 1)
Michelin’s historic journey to Argentina unveiled culinary marvels, in a feast for the senses that spotlighted the country’s culinary riches. In a historic move that has sent ripples through the culinary world, the prestigious Michelin Guide made its inaugural visit to Argentina, uncovering a treasure trove of gastronomic delights that are set to redefine the South American nation’s culinary landscape. This landmark journey has not only elevated Argentina’s status on the global culinary stage but has also brought international attention to the diverse and vibrant flavours that characterise the country’s gastronomy. From Buenos Aires, its capital, to Mendoza, the land of Malbec, the Michelin Guide includes 71 restaurants, 19 of which are located in wine country.
For decades, the Michelin Guide has been the undisputed authority in the culinary world, providing an impartial and prestigious assessment of restaurants around the globe. The decision to venture into Argentina marks a significant milestone for Michelin, reflecting the growing recognition of the country’s culinary prowess. The Michelin team of inspectors embarked on a culinary odyssey, traversing the diverse landscapes of Argentina, from the bustling streets of Buenos Aires to the picturesque vineyards of Mendoza, and the remote corners of Patagonia. The journey aimed not only to evaluate the quality of the cuisine but also to capture the essence of Argentina’s rich culinary heritage.
One of the highlights of Michelin’s visit was the exploration of Buenos Aires, a city known for its passionate embrace of food and culture, whose chefs captivated the inspectors with their creativity and innovation. The country’s cuisine, with its fusion of European and indigenous flavours, has long been celebrated; however, Michelin’s visit revealed a nuanced and evolving culinary scene that showcases the country’s diverse gastronomic landscape. Buenos Aires emerged as a gastronomic powerhouse, with several establishments receiving Michelin stars, elevating them to international acclaim.
But Michelin’s journey extended far beyond the capital, as Mendoza, nestled at the foothills of the Andes mountain range, proved to be a gastronomic haven, blending the flavours of the region seamlessly and expertly with world-class wines. Inspectors were enchanted by the exquisite pairings at the bodegas as they delighted in the viticultural offerings from the region’s vintners. In last week’s Thursday Food, we featured five wines to pour from bodegas whose restaurants appear in the 2024 Michelin Guide, including the Primeras Viñas Malbec from Bodega Lagarde. This winery also has two restaurants in the 2024 Michelin Guide: Zonda Cocina de Paisaje and Fogón Cocina de Viñedo, and today, we introduce more of their wines.
Guarda Malbec DOC is made from 100 per cent Malbec from vineyards located in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza and has an alcoholic volume of 14.3 per cent. This wine is red with burgundy highlights, expressing aromas that see ripe red fruits and jams predominate, combined with the soft aromatic contribution of oak, vanilla, chocolate and some smoked notes. In the mouth, it has good concentration and smoothness, with silky tannins, typical of Argentine Malbec.
Guarda Chardonnay comprises 100 per cent varietal grapes grown on vines in the Tupungato, Gualtallary area of Mendoza. It is yellow with golden highlights, exhibiting aromas of fresh white peaches, white flowers with a light presence of oak. On the palate, this Chardonnay is dry with a refreshing acidity, having flavours of flowers and stone fruit with a refreshing vertical minerality along with an alcoholic volume of 13.1 per cent.
Lagarde Organic Rosé is a blend of 70 per cent Sémillon and 30 per cent Malbec grapes respectively, produced from vineyards in the Mayor Drummond area of the Luján de Cuyo region of Mendoza. This wine, with an alcoholic volume of 12.7 per cent, is made from grapes grown 850 metres above sea level and has a light blush pink colour that is bright and shiny. On the nose, the aroma is like a bouquet of fresh ripe fruits, such as peach and strawberry, while in the mouth it is refreshing and vivacious with a long and persistent finish.
Lagarde Dolce, a 100 per cent Moscato Bianco, is a sparkling wine made using the Charmat method from grapes grown in the Agrelo and Perdriel areas of Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. It has a 7.2 per cent alcoholic volume and its colour is a light greenish yellow with bright silver highlights. The aromas of this espumante express flowers and fresh fruits like grapes, apricot and some citrus. On the palate, this wine has a bubbly, sweet flavour and good acidity that impacts the mouth with intensity. The taste revisits the sensation of freshness visible in its aromas, while its foam is rich and persistent.
Lagarde Blanc de Noir Brut Nature Millésimé, a 100 per cent Pinot Noir, is produced from vines first planted in 1999 in the Vista Flores, Tunuyán area of the Uco Valley, Mendoza. Made from grapes grown 1,050 metres above sea level, this espumante is made using the traditional champenoise method. It has a copper colour with golden highlights and fine, persistent bubbles. On the nose, complex aromatic notes of red fruits, flowers, nuts and spices, can be perceived. In the mouth, it is soft and fresh, with an enveloping creaminess that has great persistence.
The Michelin Guide has not only bestowed stars but has also shed light on the diverse narratives that define Argentine cuisine, showcasing the country’s cultural richness and culinary innovation. As Argentina basks in the glow of Michelin’s spotlight, there is a palpable sense of pride and excitement among its culinary community as this historic visit has not only elevated individual establishments but has also fuelled a collective determination to continue pushing the boundaries of creativity and excellence. Michelin’s journey through Argentina has given the world a newfound appreciation for the country’s culinary heritage, serving as a testament to Argentina’s ability to seamlessly blend tradition with innovation, resulting in a gastronomic experience that is second to none. Salud!