The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

The Whiskey Chronicles (in Buenos Aires)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Back to the Altiplano

Made our first trip to the province of Salta, in northwest Argentina, last month. We skipped the sights in the provincial capital for a 5-hour drive over winding unpaved roads to Estancia Colomé, a labor of love built up over the last 7 years by Donald Hess, the owner of Napa's Hess Wineries.

Hess swooped into Salta in 2001 as the economy was crumbling and picked up 40,000 hectares, including a couple small towns and a winery built in the early 1800s. The place has been transformed and, he says, produces the world's highest altitude wines (some vineyards are at close to 10,000 feet). The estancia grows most of its own food, makes its own butter, cheese and yogurt and has a network of horseback trails that had us gripping desperately to our saddles. We've posted some photos to the right.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Maté and Abu

We were walking back from dinner a few months ago when Dana spied an eight-week-old kitten on a busy street corner, a likely refugee from one of the parks near our home that are filled with feral cats. We decided we couldn't leave her there. I scooped her up in my palm and after a thorough scrubbing in the tub and a trip to the vet the next morning, Maté (named after the traditional Argentine drink) was given a clean bill of health and introduced to her older brother Abu. The two get after each other fairly regularly, but most of the time they seem to enjoy each other's company.

Penguins 1 Inflatable Bull 0

Argentina has been convulsed, and foreign journalists tortured, by four-months of farmer protests against the government's new agricultural taxes. The drama has cost President Cristina most of her public support (last poll: 20%), one cabinet minister and plenty of investor confidence, but she and her husband have held firm. The debate took a turn for the weird when Cristina finally sent her proposal, already in effect, to Congress. Government supporters brought in a giant inflatable penguin, a favorite symbol of the presidential couple, to the plaza in front of Congress, prompting farmers to respond with an inflatable bull. The debate continues, but when the lower house voted yesterday to back the taxes, the farmers chances of overturning the taxes got even slimmer. Click on the link above to read my take on the battle of the dirgibles.