a month in montevideo

it’s 7:45 in the evening, the sun is still bright but softening, and the streets are finally still & quiet outside. shutters are opening & people are coming out to spend the evening on their balconies again. i have a little time before dinner & all week i have been meaning to get this written down so i don’t forget.

two &  a half years ago, i can remember the day, i remember david asking me if i thought he could make it in the wine industry.  a week later, he’d bought every wine book available to man. within days he’d finished & for the next year, he read cover to cover & cover to cover, and taught himself everything he could. i’ve never seen anyone come so alive, so quickly, and the past two & a half years have been the best, to watch him be alive & learn & change. that year ended, he changed careers & we moved california, where he first tasted uruguayan wines. i won’t ever forget. he came home the day he tasted them more excited than i’d ever seen. and now, after thinking, processing, weighing our next steps, hundreds of cups of coffee, i’m sitting across from him in a tiny apartment in uruguay, overlooking a small stone street, at the end of a week meeting with winemakers, beginning to import uruguayan wine.

a week ago, i was trying to cram eight pairs of shoes into a suitcase…really i only needed two. a year ago, i could have never anticipated where we’d be. 

the view from our apartment in ciudad vieja. it’s a short walk to the ocean from here.

every evening the old man living on this corner balcony looks out over the street in his underwear.

this door is my favorite, on the way to the beach…i would like to make an offer on it.

our grocery store below us, where milk comes in bags…i have renewed appreciation for milk cartons now. on tuesdays & fridays, there’s a farmer’s market at the end of our street where we get lots of good things.

a street nearby…everything here reminds me so much of europe. the architecture, old trees, shaded streets, the markets…but more chill.. & people drinking mate everywhere.

so far we love it. we have a full week of meetings again with producers this week & i will have more soon. xo

tango in the city centre

i love this city. we were walking back from the beach tonight through the city centre & stumbled past a plaza full of people dancing the tango outside. only here…uruguay has so much character.

this man was playing to the music on his harmonica.

four days in buenos aires

last weekend, a little jet-lagged, david & i dropped our bags off in uruguay & caught a ferry to buenos aires for a small getaway before meetings with winemakers began. our hotel was beautiful, an old, restored palace, on a shaded street. we had such good time together. long runs. quiet mornings. sidewalk cafes. long runs to balance dulce de leche by the bowlful. we wandered a lot, found a flea market of antiques, drank fresh squeezed orange juice off the street & fell in love with the parrilladas & empanadas there. i found plenty in all the cafes & random people to be inspired by.

ronda

we spent the majority of our trip here in this town, high up on the cliffs. from where we were, we could see everything–you couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place.  the countryside was nothing but olive groves, fields of sunflowers, mountains, and patterns of stubby trees. i can completely see how joan miro’s paintings came to be.

i came away inspired by the landscape, the architecture, the food & blocks of color everywhere. the sangria, even. spain in general was humbling & amazing. i always wish my days could be nothing but ridiculous inspiration. most days they’re just not. but occasionally, i have moments like this, where my fingers twitch…all day. and all i can do in response to what i’m soaking in or feeling is paint.

that was spain. it was really good. and totally compelling.

lopez de heredia

this winery in rioja was unlike anything i’ve been to before. it was beautiful & it’s the most humble, unassuming place.

the old stone cellar was carved by hand in the 19th century without using dynamite, in order to preserve the mountainside.

the cellar itself is thickly covered in mold, regulating humidity naturally.

the people there are creatives & passionate artisans…working extremely hard to cultivate these wines.

each barrel is racked by hand 3-4 times per year to remove sediment from the wine, and typically requires three men to operate the pulley. they do this for the benefit of the consumer, so that the consumer does not have to decant the sediment out of the wine.

each wine is aged until the winemaker feels the wine is ready to drink and from there every bottle is filled, labeled, corked, and cleaned by hand. their current release gran reserva right now is from 1991.

they say the wines can age for five to ten years more, but as they are now, they all drink beautifully. everything they do is for the best of the wine or the land…and the wines reflect the vineyard and that creativity and care.

if you ever come across one of these treasures, take the opportunity & remember the care that went in to making it.