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So you’ve just got back from that great trip to Argentina or you’re hearing all the stories from your friends holiday in South America. Hopefully somewhere amongst those anecdotes will be the story of a wine tasting! If so, what made you enjoy it so much? If not, never fear as hosting your own wine tasting is much simpler than it may sound and can be great fun!

 

Step 1 – Chose the wines!

For your home wine tasting you don’t want to select too many wines. This may result in confusion of flavours and tastes. Between four and six wines should be more than enough to get a wide range.

With so much choice, ask if you can try before you buy. Many places offer this and is a great option.

Then determine which kind of wines you want to offer. Everyone will have their preferences, but get hold of a good sparkling or white wine and you may have your red wine lover converting! Then head down to a good supplier or check on the internet for some trustworthy suppliers than can get that great quality wine to you!

 

I would recommend offering a line-up of wines, each one to go with a course of your dinner. A great choice could be a Chardonnay or Torrontes with a starter, a Bonarda or Pinot Noir if you are offering cheese, meants and breads for an apetizer.

 

If yummy meats are not your thing, try a ceviche or a maybe a vegetarian option with nuts and pulses.

Then work to a second and third course, adding in a Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec depending on the heaviness of the food.Finally with chocolate you can pair a red wine, or a dessert wine with a lighter course.

Dark chocolates go great with many red wines.

2, Pair the wine with the dinner food and make notes

This part is more up to your preferences,  your friends preferences and the wine you have chosen. Chose what will constitute each course and write up a small sheet of notes for each wine.

 

OR

 

You could keep it a blind test! This is a really fun option. Be aware though that this may only work to expectations if your friends are concentrating on each wine. Here you could serve each wine, talk about them. Then at the end, serve one again (with the bottle covered or hidden) and ask them to guess which wine they are drinking.

 

 

So you’ve just got back from that great trip to Argentina, or you’re hearing all the stories from your friends holiday in South America. Hopefully somewhere amongst those anecdotes will be the story of a wine tasting! If so, what made you enjoy it so much? If not, never fear as hosting your own wine tasting is much simpler than it may sound and can be great fun!

 

Step 1 – Chose the wines!

For your home wine tasting you don’t want to select too many wines. This may result in confusion of flavours and tastes. Between four and six wines should be more than enough to get a wide range.

With so much choice, ask if you can try before you buy. Many places offer this and is a great option.

Then determine which kind of wines you want to offer. Everyone will have their preferences, but get hold of a good sparkling or white wine and you may have your red wine lover converting! Then head down to a good supplier or check on the internet for some trustworthy suppliers than can get that great quality wine to you!

 

I would recommend offering a line-up of wines, each one to go with a course of your dinner.

 

A great choice could be a Chardonnay or Torrontes with a starter, a Bonarda or Pinot Noir if you are offering cheese, meats and breads for an apetizer.

If yummy meats are not your thing, try a ceviche or a maybe a vegetarian option with nuts and pulses.

Then work to a second and third course, adding in a Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec depending on the heaviness of the food.

 

Finally with chocolate you can pair a red wine, or a dessert wine with a lighter course.

Dark chocolates go great with many red wines.

2, Pair the wine with the dinner food and make notes

This part is more up to your preferences,  your friends preferences and the wine you have chosen. Chose what will constitute each course and write up a small sheet of notes for each wine.

 

OR

 

You could keep it a blind test! This is a really fun option. Be aware though that this may only work to expectations if your friends are concentrating on each wine. Here you could serve each wine, talk about them. Then at the end, serve one again (with the bottle covered or hidden) and ask them to guess which wine they are drinking.

Of course, if you’re not feeling up to cooking take away the food pairing and offer a post-dinner wine tasting!

3. Make your guest list!

This, unfortunately, I am unable to help you with. Invite your favorite group of friends, family (or maybe neighbors you were looking to get to know) .

 

4. Have a great time

Enjoy your wines and have a laugh! Don’t worry if at first you don’t smell the oak or understand the tannins. Keep trying different wines and reading up on blogs and articles and in time you’ll know your Gewurztraminer from your Gruner Veltliner!

 

And remember – you can make your wine tasting so it’s not snobby at all! Tasting wine is about appreciating the smells  and tastes and sharing your personal preferences, whether they agree with others or not. Check out wine tastings being offered in other regions such as france, Italy, Chile,  Mendoza, Salta and Buenos Aires.

 

, take away the food pairings and just hold an all wine tasting!

3. Make your guest list!

This, unfortunately, I am unable to help you with. Invite your favorite group of friends, family (or maybe neighbours you were looking to get to know) .

4. Have a great time

Enjoy your wines and have a laugh! Don’t worry if at first you don’t smell the oak or understand the tannins. Keep trying different wines and reading up on blogs and articles and in time you’ll know your Gewurztraminer from your Gruner Veltliner!

 

And remember – you can make your wine tasting so it’s not snobby at all! Tasting wine is about appreciating the smells  and tastes and sharing your personal preferences, whether they agree with others or not. Check out wine tastings being offered in other regions such as France, Italy, Chile,  Mendoza, Salta and Buenos Aires.

 

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One of the wines that is a staple at our wine tastings is the Carinae Torrontes. We love putting this wine at our wine tastings in Buenos Aires because it is always a pleasant surprise for people who are traveling through Buenos Aires or new to the city. Why is this?

Well first simply because it is Torrontes. I have been writing about Torrontes for years but it seems to still be a newcomer for most people. Interestingly Torrontes was recently compared to 3 other staple white wine varietals in a blind consumer tasting and beat all of them! It was put up against Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay and yes, Torrontes won.  But the downside was that even though Torrontes was the clear winner among the 4 varietals tasted, only 18% of the participants in the blind wine tasting had ever heard of Torrontes. This is why we feel it is our duty to always have a Torrontes in our wine tastings.

Now why do we pick Carinae Torrontes? Well there are many different Torrontes to pick from and they are certainly not all equal. Others that we really like that we have worked with in the past are Mairena Torrontes, El Pouvenir de los Andes Torrontes, and yes, I will say it (because it is from a big winery I am reluctant) Colomé Torrontes. Carinae, however, we feel demonstrates the qualities of a great Torrontes from Salta.

There are 3 principle regions where good Torrontes is made: Salta in the extreme northwest of Argentina is considered to be the best due to is extremely high altitude. La Rioja, just a bit south of that still has great altitude but the Torrontes comes out a little less aromatic, and San Juan, which is just north of Mendoza, also makes decent Torrontes but the style is much lighter and more elegant.

The Carinae Torrontes demonstrates the extremely floral bouquet that is the desirable characteristic in Torrontes. Aromas like orange blossom, jasmin and honey are found… but then in the mouth it changes on you. This is why Torrontes is called the “liar’s grape” (“la uva mentirosa” in Spanish) because in the nose you have sweetness and flowers and in the mouth you have a dry expression with crisp acidity of apricot, peach and grapefruit.

This wine is simply ridiculous.

We are going to start serving this wine in our tasting room in Buenos Aires on about November 1st of this year, but here is a sneak preview. This 100% Malbec wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels and produced in limited quantities of about 10,000 bottles.

Why do I say this wine is ridiculous? First of all, for such a young reserve wine, it has a nose to die for. This is one of the most aromatic wines I have ever tried in my life (and I am including some 96 and 94 point Wine Spectator rated wines that I tried at a portfolio tasting in New York City last week). The highly rated California Cabernets have nothing on this wine in the bouquet category. There is an incredible abundance of ripe raspberry and plum with a floral quality as well. After breathing for 20-30 minutes, we progress into a light cigar aroma with some vanilla background and a touch of pepper.

The color at the moment is a bright violet and is quite brilliant.

In the mouth there is also a lot going on. Big fruit and bold flavor all the way around. Malbec is always associated with plum flavors and plum jam. This Malbec takes these plum flavors to another echelon. The super developed fruit flavors consist of raspberry jam, ripe red plum, and thorny blackberry on the attack. On the mid-palate we get some of the oak notes like cedar and toast. A nice full body with soft tannins make this wine quite easy drinking. Where I compare the fruit and the aroma of this wine with the highly rated California cabs I tried, the structure is much more feminine and soft. The California cabs had much more aggressive tannin and more masculine feel.

A really long finish on this wine gives a slight pepper flavor along with clove and cherry.

This big time winner is going to be a hot seller in November.

Last night the Anuva team did a tasting of 8 different wines, all of which we carry right now, in order to really know our product well. We do serve these every day of course, but it would be a bit much to actually consume our product every day. Ironically, in the wine business, I have met many people who drink astonishing amounts of alcohol on a daily basis. Buyers at bottle shops who start drinking at 9am and don’t stop till 5 or 6pm when it’s quitting time. And amazingly they stay productive all day.

Last night we examined and did tasting notes for San Gimignano Chardonnay, Cabernet and Malbec, Mairena Torrontes, and Carinae Torrontes, Reserve Malbec and Reserve Cabernet. I am very happy to say that I am still very pleased with all of these products. All have something special about them.

But the creation of the tasting notes for these wines was the thing that made me laugh. On each wine, we took a moment to rack our brains and palates to see if we could come up with unique descriptors for each wine. It is very common for many red wines, for example to have dark fruit flavors. These are things like plum, cherry and blackberry. What we have to do is go a step farther than that if we are writing tasting notes. We have to find the baking spices, the type of pepper (red, white, black, cayenne), or the specific oak descriptor that a particular wine has. We also need to pay attention to the length of the wine and how the flavor evolves from the attack to the mid-palate, to the finish.

The most interesting comparison for me was between the Mairena Torrontes and the Carinae Torrontes. The Mairena has a more elegant feel and flavor. It’s lighter with really nice, dancing acidity, a soft nose of peaches and even bubble gum, and a really nice pear/peach/apricot mouth with a mineral finish. The Carinae however has more body and an absolutely HUGE nose. This wine you could smell from across the room. The floral aromas are of orange blossom and jasmin.

This surprised me because they are both from the same region of Argentina: Cafayate Valley, Salta, in the extreme northwest of the country. It just goes to show how important terroir and process is.

I like to keep my pallet fresh and our tasting notes on our wines even more fresh since wines go about aging and evolving. So last night I thought that since I had a bottle of the San Gimignano Syrah Roble 2007 sitting there, staring at me, begging me to drink it, I would take my time and rewrite my notes. I had this with a salmon burger with tartar sauce and a green salad with avocado. That combination was decent and I think this wine could do very well with fish, just not with tartar sauce. Here is the updated version:

Eye: Red leather jacket.

Nose: Raspberry and blackberry jam. Faint hints of spice.

Mouth: Super easy to drink, well balanced and smooth. On the attack, ripe raspberry and blackberry with hints of black pepper and cedar toward the finish.

Oak: 12 months in new French and American oak.

Aging/cellaring potential: 5-7 years conservatively.

Pairing: Simpler pastas, mild cheeses, heavier fishes.

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