Friday, September 24, 2010
Report from … Tango in Argentina at the Delta Chelsea – September 23, 2010
The Argentineans wanted to give us a taste of what they are offering the world in both food and wine, and tonight they showed us, complete with tangoist, delicious wines and Argentine delicacies, all held at the Delta Chelsea in downtown Toronto.
Four food stations serving everything from salmon and trout to lamb and scallops all under the direction of Natalia Machado … the highlight of the night was Machado’s own tamale topped with succulent beef short rib. Later in the evening I sampled the short rib on it’s on – and I was right, melt in your mouth delicious. I recognized Machado’s face from somewhere and I knew it wasn’t from either Argentina (where she comes from) or New York (where she is the chef and part owner of the restaurants Azul and Industria Argentina – translation: Made in Argentina) … while talking with her it finally came into focus, Food Network’s Chopped – she won.
Talking about Argentina these days must include wine, especially if I am writing about it here … 13 wines were on for tasting tonight, including a Chardonnay, a Torrentes (Argentina’s signature white), Cabs and of course, Malbecs. My top three of the evening are below:
Septima 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - $13.95
It should be a crime to sell wine this good at such a low price. I know I constantly preach value, and this is what I mean when I do. This wine is sourced from a pair of vineyards: one in the foothills and another on the plains – so it gets the best of both worlds: acidity from the much cooler foothills and juiciness of fruit from the plains – and they meld so well in the bottle. A nose of blackberry, black cherry and a hint of vanilla; a palate that follows the nose with juiciness of fruit and a spiciness on the finish – just as advertised. Nice length and a price that won’t break the bank. (****½)
Norton 2007 Reserve Malbec - $18.95
Now here we have a Malbec with good complexity on both nose and palate. The lady pouring the wine knew very little about it, so it’s god that the wine spoke for itself. A nose full of cinnamon, spiced black plum and vanilla, the taste was spiced black fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, spiced plum, and Christmas cake. Great mouth feel, and nice complexity with just enough tannin dryness to make it interesting. (****½)
Saurus 2008 Merlot - $13.95
In Yiddish it’s emotional pain but in Argentina the name of this winery comes from the dinosaur bones that were found during excavation. The grapes hail from the Patagonia region with 40% of the wine seeing both French and American oak. This is not your typical juicy jammy Merlot, there’s some finesse behind the fruit - dark fruit, dry plums, spice and herbs with a hint of white chocolate on the finish. Price: $13.95 – Rating ****
Final bottle opened was never meant to be on the menu but was spotted on a table by a number of us, so sommelier Elayne Bassett was nice enough to alleviate the suspense of what it tasted like by pulling the cork. The 2007 Norton Privada: a Malbec. Merlot, Cabernet blend that was quite simply a beauty with chocolate, black fruit and spiced plum. Ole?