Last week, Laura Catena of Argentina’s famous Bodega Catena Zapata stopped by the Food & Wine office with her new book, Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina. I was seriously contemplating buying a plane ticket to Buenos Aires as I flipped through the dreamy photos of vineyards in the Uco Valley and enormous asado feasts.
I’ve yet to visit Argentina, but Catena’s guide is an essential primer with fascinating stories of the region’s pioneering winemakers and immigrant history, cultural observations on the Argentine lifestyle, and great travel tips on everything from where and what to eat and drink to asking a local friend to book your hotel (some hotels have special rates for Argentines). In the last chapter, Catena even maps out her perfect 14-day luxe wine country itinerary; she includes maps in the back of the book. I won’t be able to squeeze in a trip this year, so instead, I tried to transport myself by cooking a recipe from the book—spicy emapanadas salteñas from Argentina’s Salta province—and pairing them with Catena’s gorgeous Alamos Torrontés, a white made with grapes from Salta’s high-altitude vineyards.