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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.

 

If you had less than 24 hour vacation in Buenos Aires what would you do? Our guests yesterday, Lauren and Joann flew down that morning from the states for a mini-escape. With a bit of luck the two saw open seats for Buenos Aires and jumped at the chance.

With their departure scheduled for 9 pm their time was short, and their goals were high. A whirl wind day of steak, shopping and wine was in the works. When they explained their itinerary I had to ask, were these condensed out of the country excursions a norm? Apparently yes. Joann works for United and every so often takes advantage of the flight vacancies. I became envious at the mention of a past weekend trip to Rome.

While in Buenos Aires for 10 hours, the two had lunch at the famous La Cabrera http://www.parrillalacabrera.com.ar/, a great choice for the ultimate Argentine experience. We were excited to share our wine with them and hear more of their stories. By 6:30 we had their taxi waiting and wished them a safe flight.

Jan is Guy’s “Trouble in strife”. She has trouble with the “apples and pears” at times since she has arthritis. Right!

They hail from Winnipeg, Canada joined us for a wine tasting Thursday. They shared their plans to travel to Mendoza for a few days before taking a chauffer service through the Andes and into Chile. They had spent time in Bordeaux and enjoy learning about different wine regions. They recently became curious about Argentine wines.

Guy originally from central London shared a bit of Cockney slang. From within the sound of Bow Bells (St Mary-le-Bow Church in Cheapside, London) came this clever rhyming dialect. I was delighted to hear Daniel and our guests converse. They explained that Cockney originated in order to speak freely in the presence of police or authorities.

According to http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk “Rhyming Slang phrases are derived from taking an expression which rhymes with a word and then using that expression instead of the word. For example the word “look” rhymes with “butcher’s hook”. In many cases the rhyming word is omitted – so you won’t find too many Londoners having a “bucher’s hook” at this site, but you might find a few having a “butcher’s”.”

During the tasting we experimented with different simple pairings. Crisp green apples topped with “dollops” of light whipped cheese paired perfectly with the Hom espumante. While a triad of chocolates brought out the multiple personalities of the Gran Reserva; fruit, smoky, vanilla, creamy velvety perfection.

Conversation drifted from wine and inhibitions over political correctness dropped away. Guy and Jan shared with us how well they had been treated traveling through Argentina and how accommodating the airports had been to their needs. Guy jested proposing a fictitious business plan for time saving service called “rent a cripple”. We are pretty sure it would be quite controversial and politically incorrect although perhaps an enormously successful business.

After recommending one of our favorite pizza places we bid our guests farewell. While cleaning up Daniel and I noted what a great evening it had been. Anuva is true to the real intention of wine; to relate to others. We use our wine tastings to learn about wine and meeting wonderful people from every corner of the globe in an intimate relaxed setting.

It’s a lovely thing to witness the American family on vacation together in Buenos Aires. We had such a visit from last night from a family of 4 (the “kids” are obviously grown otherwise they would not have all come to a wine tasting).

The interesting, but not so surprising thing to me, were the reactions of Dad, Mom, Son and Daughter to the same wines. Dad liked the reserve malbec blend (Don Juan) while Son liked the the young malbec (Naiara). Daughter liked the Finca Morera Cabernet Franc while Mom liked the Anecon Torrontés. They do all agree that the beef in Argentina is stellar, however.

The Anuva philosophy about wine has always been one of a personal and subjective approach. There is no “right” answer when it comes to wine, only what you like. We like Malbec, Bonarda and Torrontés and wine from Argentina in general. So much so that we decided to make a living selling it.

We at Anuva had yet another successful wine tasting in Buenos Aires. The attendance was strikingly international, complete with Sydney-sider, native Argentine, and a wonderful German couple.

The wines tasted, as well, were a big hit. The viticultural quintuplet began with the Anecon Torrontés from Vinos de los Andes. A smooth and flowery white wine, one of the German guests was surprised to find that this typically Argentine white wine was her favorite, as she expected to be most impressed by the more traditional Malbec varietal. The Torrontés paired really well with grapefruit and melon that we served, pleasantly surprise our guests. Las Perdices Sauvignon Blanc followed, and turned out to be even more popular than the first with its marked dryness and intense citrus notes.

A powerhouse trio of classically Argentine reds from Mendoza came next: Familia Mayol Bonarda, Don Juan Reserve Blend, also from Las Perdices, and a Cavagnaro Reserve Malbec. Far and away the last two reserve wines were the evening favorites. The reserve blend was an immediate hit with it’s intoxicating nose of spiced dark chocolates and tobacco which, over the following 30 minutes evolved into a cacophony of plums and raspberries. The Cavagnero Reserve Malbec was an appropriately rich and round finish to the evening. Described as “buttery, rich and hedonistic,” this is a perfect description as well of our satisfied states as the tasting came to a close and the conversation drifted from grape production to laughter and stories of the sobremesa (the table talk “over the table” after food and wine have been consumed).

Some sort of strange bond exists between people from Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver BC or pretty much anywhere in between along I-5. Last night I had 5 wonderful wine tasters from Seattle who ventured into the land of Pinot Noir from Argentina, Bonarda, Malbec blends, and of course, THE crowd pleaser, Hom Sparkling White wine. I assure the faithful out there, that as we speak, another half pallet of that stuff is getting loaded onto trucks very soon.

I mention the treehugger aspect because the first bit of our conversation revolved around organic wines and their merits. We do carry an organic merlot, appropriately called Occhioverde, which in Italian means “green eye”, but this is the only organic wine from Argentina that I have ever tasted that has come close to being worthy of club status. Just by the way, there could be an argument made, that since the winemaking region in Argentina is so arid, and thus naturally free of pests, molds and fungus, that the wines here are virtually organic anyway since vintners have much less need to spray. I reiterate, the argument could be made.

After regailing my guests with tales of how our logistics system works, and even making a flow chart for them, I escorted them down the street to one of my favorite parrilla restaurants, El Primo. The only thing that El Primo lacks, I think, is a complete and thorough wine list. The owner assures me that they will soon be carrying one of my favorite nationally (in the U.S.) distributed Argentine Malbecs called Ikella from Bodegas Melipal. As if not having this would deter me from devouring exorbitant amounts of of their luscious carne.

It turns out that there is quite a fan base out there for Buenos Aires and Argentina in general. A lovely couple from New York visited me today to taste wine, since they weren’t going to go to Mendoza this time around. “None of the wineries there have wine clubs or ship to the U.S.,” said one of them. Well, it’s not exactly that extreme but more than half of the wineries in Argentina still don’t export.

And thus exists the mission of our company: to find the best of the never before exported wines of Argentina and make them available to the U.S. public. Hopefully I will be seeing Arthur and Beth again when I visit New York to share some more of Anuva’s Wines with them and their friends.

We had a very intimate tasting last night: one guest to be precise… But she loved the Bonarda that we served. Having never tried a Bonarda before, I enjoyed explaining the origins of the grape and it’s common charactaristics to her while seeing what foods it combined with.

Bonarda for me has always been the deal maker, along with Torrontés. It was Malbec, obviously, that got me started, and will always have that special place in my heart, but the discovery of this “other red” that Argentina does so well was key to the founding of Anuva.

So when I saw the grin and then heard the comment, “I really liked that Bonarda”, then I smiled.

Being an Oregon native, Pinot Noir has a soft spot in my heart. That’s why it was such a treat for me to share all of my gems from Argentina, especially the Pinot, with 10 or so wine professionals from different wineries who congregated at Stoller Vineyards on Monday.

The Malbecs obviously were very interesting for them, but they also found the Mudai Pinot Noir to be quite intriguing. Different qualities from a different terroir.

Some of them even liked the collections so much that they signed up for the club! Now if that’s not an endorsement I don’t know what is!

I was so surpised at the reactions of wine industry professionals to our wines. When people like that comment on how good the price to quality relationship of our wines is, I get all fuzzy inside. Maybe one of them will comment on this blog?!?

Yesterday afternoon, we were joined by a lovely group of women from Syracuse, NY and Las Vegas, NV. Five jovial sisters, daughters, and friends who all joked and laughed and really dove into the wines we had in front of us. What better way to spend a hot Buenos Aires Tuesday?

We often get a wide array of tasters in here, spanning the spectrum from the curious novice to the more tested connoisseur. Yesterday’s group tended to skew to the latter, which was really great to hear their questions or hear their comments, like how the 2007 Naiara Malbec had hints of clove and vanilla. Or how one of the tasters really hit the nail on the head by saying that the Naiara was a great sipping wine on its own, but with a big steak in front of her, the 2004 Las Perdices Don Juan Reserve Blend would be perfect.

Couple of great quotes from the tasting:

“This is primo!”

“Chocolate?! I smell spare ribs.” (I think she was joking…)

Reader Trivia Question:

What is a hybrid grape?

Tori and Ashwin Cheersing to a Great Afternoon.

Tori and Ashwin Cheersing to a Great Afternoon.

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