You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘wine’ tag.

The Merlot grape is a dark blue coloured grape identified by the loose bunches or large berries. It is not  quite as dark in colour as the Cabernet Sauvignon (a much more tannic varietal).

The Merlot is used as both a blending grape and as a varietal. The Merlot is a reasonably flexible grape; used with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

The origin of the name is thought to come from the Occitan language (Roman language spoken in the South of France) using ‘merlot’ meaning ‘young blackbird’ – perhaps referring to the colour. Also a connection with the French word ‘merle’ meaning thrushes, including blackbirds.

Blackbird

The Merlot wine has a medium body with hints of berry, plum and currant. It is a softer wine that for some may be a good starter red wine, or something for those who aren’t too keen on the tannins. In Argentina, for example, the Merlot is slightly more acidic and tannic than in many other regions.

merlot color

As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 640,000 acres globally. This puts Merlot just behind Cabernet Sauvignon with 650,000 acres. Compared to the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Merlot grapes tend to have less of a black/blue hue and usually thinner skin, thus fewer tannins unit per volume.

 

The most prominent region would be France, home to nearly two thirds of the world’s plantings of Merlot (sort of like Argentina and the Malbec!). Then Italy, California, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and parts of the United States.

Argentina is a new world wine region with production increasing in the Mendoza region. Argentine Merlots have shown tannic structure and acidity. Below is a breakdown of the number of acres of Merlot in Argentina;

Mendoza

12190.9

San Juan

1182.3

Río Negro

683.2

Neuquén

584.1

La Rioja

405

Catamarca

135.4

Salta

130.2

La Pampa

99.3

Córdoba

59.3

Chubut

19.7

Buenos Aires

15.3

Tucumán

12.3

Some names include: Santa Alicia Merlot, Mendoza Station Merlot Blend Merlot-Malbec, Cuvelier Los Andes Merlot, Luigi Bosca Merlot Reserva, Vina Cobos Merlot Felino, Bodegas Salentein Merlot and Navarro Correas Red Blend Structure Ultra.

Luigi Bosca Merlot Reserva

 

To pair with food, the flexibility and diversity of Merlot can be a great help. Try pairing these with a grilled and charred meat.


And enjoy!

 

I had my first taste of Verum Chardonnay while working at a Argentine Wine dinner, held by the Powder Horn in Sheridan, Wyoming.  It was love at first sip.  In fact, I would have to say that this particular wine is what flickered my interest in South American Wines.

Verum

  This 100% Chardonnay Vino comes from the Bodega Del Rio Elorza, and is produced by winemakers Alberto Antonini and Mariano Vignoni.  The family boutique is located in the Alto Valle de Rio Negro of Patagonia, which gives the Verum Chardonnay unique flavors of the Patagonian Terrior.  If you notice on the front of the label of Verum there are six birds present.  These birds are black swans and each one represents a Elorza family member, showing that this family are all involved in their winery.

patagonia

Patagonia

  Verum Chardonnay, to me, is a quite unique Chardonnay, giving off hints of hazelnut and some lemon zest on the nose, continuing with a long finish of creamed pears and lime on the palate.

 Although, this wine is not very complex it still scored 89 points with Robert Parkers, Wine Advocate.  When I sip on this Patagonian Chardonnay I simply imagine myself on a beach smelling and feeling the sea breeze against my face.

  Another reason I enjoy this Chardonnay is for the wonderful fact that it pairs excellently with one of my favorite dishes.  Quatro quesos ravioli con crema salsa pera, a four cheese ravioli served with a creamy elegant pear sauce.  Although the dish is not a typical Patagonian recipe, nor is it Argentine, when paired with the Verum Chardonnay it tends to bring out the soft pear flavor in the wine as well as some hints of nutmeg, leaving you with a refreshing feeling in your stomach as well as your palate.

vinodelsol.com

Buenos Aires nightlife has a worldwide fame, from bars of many different kinds to partying up until 8am, it seems like options never run out in BA.

So for all the party lovers here is a list of the top 10 bars to get a fancy cocktail regardless the time!

 

For a long night… Mundo Bizarro

 

Mundo Bizarro is also very well know for our unique ambience, music selection and visuals. MB is the home of Kustom Kulture and the Bizarre. If you dig the spirit of American Cocktail Lounges of the 40’s and 50’s, you found the place to get your “drink on” in Palermo viejo. This bar has been around since 1997, they have a wide menu with all classics and “custom creation”

cocktails by bartender extraordinaire Pablo Pignatta!



To enjoy the evening… Million

 

This beautiful bar is located in the heart of Recoleta, and it is a stunning Resto bar, with a little of a 20’s vibe. Opened in 1999 and the bar, built over 120 years ago, has an exquisite menu and all classics when it comes to cocketelerie, the house itself will take you all the way back to the past and you can enjoy every part of it, from some drinks at the garden, to a delightful brunch at the living room, perfect for a calm elegant evening!

Wine And Chocolate - The perfect pairing.

Wine And Chocolate – The perfect pairing.

 


Milky chocolate ways…

A Pinot Noir, lighter-bodied Malbec or Merlot could all complement a bar of milk chocolate, a creamy chocolate mousse or chocolate accented cheesecake. Rieslings, or dessert wines tend to hold up well to mild milk chocolates. A sparkling wine or Champagne goes well  with strawberries dipped in milk chocolate as the subtle fruit flavors on these wines will give the dessert a little punch for a perfect evening!

Nutty flavors!

Chocolates that contain any kind of nuts will go very well with a nutty flavored wine, so try to pair them with a Port, a Burgundy red wine or a Sherry. Perhaps a “Pouilly-Fuisse” will match perfectly and will bring out those aromatic nutty characteristics right at the end of the palate  in a subtle way.

Last but not least… the bitter the better…

Dark or bittersweet chocolates need a wine that offer a roasted, robust flavor, with perhaps a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabernets and Zinfandels have a history of perfecting the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. These two will more than fill your chocolate pairing expectations. I like to drink a Pinot Noir or a Merlot with dark chocolate around the 55% cocoa mark. Finally, give a French Bordeaux or a Vintage Port a go to offer a very well balanced pairing approach to a dark chocolate dessert or truffle at least 60-70% cacao for a phenomenal result!

All this wine and food pairings you can try on your own, at a wine tasting  or in some really good restaurants, but keep in mind that you have to take one for the team, and experiment as much as you can with all this goodies!

When it comes to pairing food and wine, the secret lies in using all the right ingredients. We all know chocolate and wine are an amazing duo since both have complex flavors, notes, and have similar components and nuances in common. Find the right wine to complement the right chocolate and you will get a winning combo that proves there is a heaven somewhere to be found, and if it exists it´s filled with wine & chocolate. So here are some great tips for whenever you want to match these two gastronomy deities:

When pairing wines with chocolate, try to match light, subtle, elegant flavored chocolates with lighter-bodied wines. Likewise the stronger and bitter the chocolate gets, the more full-bodied the wine should be. The darker the chocolate the more tannins it will display. However, when you pair this darker chocolate with a wine that has stout tannins, the chocolate will often overshadow or cancel out the wine’s tannins on the palate and allow more fruit flavors show through the wine.

But also keep in mind that wine and chocolate  are not a straightforward pairing. Sometimes finding the best wine and chocolate combinations can take some time and a bit of experimenting as well. Remember palate impressions differ from person to person. And your individual perception can be very different from those you are tasting (and testing) with. For some they prefer the wine to be as sweet as the chocolate, for others they might want to find contrast/balance between the two.

White chocolates….
tend to be soft, mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for a Sherry, Muscats or even a floral/fruity but dry wine like a Torrontes! These sweet wines will pick up the creaminess of the chocolates and the fruity dry ones will pick up any fruit tones on the scene. Another route, for pairing wine with white chocolate is going for the contrast pairing approach which is a little riskier, but when you find a match it can be exceptional. Take a wine like a Zinfandel or a Rose which tend to have a heavier acidic content and often a higher alcohol level, and partner it with a creamy, buttered white chocolate and you might experience an unusually exciting effect.

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.

It was my pleasure to host two lovely ladies from New York, one of who won a free trip to Buenos Aires courtesy of her company. We led these two through a classic tasting of Hom Sparkling, Anecon Torrontés, Naiara Malbec, and Las Perdices Don Juan.

As always, the subject of conversation shifted from wine to other issues, after we signed one of them up for the club, and agreed on their favorites for the night.

Topic 1: Shopping in Buenos Aires. It is unfortunate to me, that most of the 5 star hotels will recommed calle Florida for shopping. While it does have many many stores, they are all overpriced and really only exist for tourists. I sent them to the leather district and several “ferias” to find better deals and more locally produced good.

Topic 2: Pizza. It is a little known fact that Argentina has excellent pizza due to the tremendous Italian influence here. Fortunately, Alan of Buenos Aires Walking Tours (www.buenostours.com) had already pointed them in the direction of one of my favorite pizza places, Morelia, which is right around the corner from us. If visiting Buenos Aires, you should also check out Los Inmortales and La Mezzetta. Try the “fugazzetta rellena” at all of those places.

Topic 3: The financial crisis. How will this affect the U.S., Argentina, and the world economy? Who knows. This is why we have wine. So we can drink a great tasting, interesting, stimulating beverage and feel better about ourselves and the world (as evidenced by the fact that alcohol sales rarely drop during times of financial crisis).

Many a neophyte at our wine tastings in Buenos Aires has asked the question (including myself, rhetorically), “How do I taste wine?” Or, “How do I know what a good wine is?”

The simple answer: whatever you like!!

The best way to get “good” at tasting wine is to train your palate to find the things you like and don’t like about wine. Learn by doing. Keep tasting different wines and keep using the same system over and over:

Look at it, smell it, taste it, touch it (in your mouth–determine the “mouthfeel”) and cheers!

The accepted winespeak terms for the phases involved in wine tasting are the “nose”, the “attack”, the “mid-palate” or “evolution” phase and finally the “finish”.

The important part of all of these steps is to determine what you like from each of them. Many people who drink lots of wine never bother to smell a wine. For me personally, especially with more floral wines like Torrontés or earthy wines like Pinot Noir, one can find that the bouquet is just as satisfying as the mouth of the wine (although it doesn’t get you drunk).

Repeating the same process over and over with different wines is essential. This is how most learning in life is achieved anyway. You learned math by repeating addition and subtraction, you learned reading by reciting the alphabet, learning simple words, conjugations and grammar. And you didn’t just do this once. You did it for many many years in grade school, high school and maybe University and beyond to master these skills. Why would training the senses be any different.

Just think about how your tastes have changed since you were young. I for one, never liked tomatoes until I was about 17 or 18. Now, I can’t have a sandwich or salad without tomatoes. Same with spicey foods for me. Same with sushi. Same with beer. Same with wine.

The only mystery behind wine is its complexity (if it is really a complex wine). Wine can encompass so many different aspects of taste, smell, feel and color that some people may feel overwhelmed by all the jargon–especially when getting into the technical processes behind winemaking.

So for now, just buy wines at a certain price point. Taste them blind (cover the bottles). Use the same tasting process to account for error (tasting out of the same glass (and hopefully a wine glass!!) is very important). And enjoy the process! It’s supposed to be fun.

Here is what Dr. Jamie Goode has to say about training the palate:

“The human palate is extremely adaptable. This is largely because there’s a huge learning component to taste. Innately, the sorts of flavours we are drawn to are obvious ones. A child will opt for foods that are sweet and accessible. It’s only later that we acquire a taste for more challenging flavours – those with an element of bitterness, texture or subtlety, for example. There’s also an intellectual or cultural level to tasting, where we think carefully about what we put in our mouths. Horribly subjective, but very important, too.

But most people are, as one Spanish winemaker I once spoke to put it, ‘sensorially illiterate’. We don’t really think about what we put in our mouths. We need ‘big’ flavours to stimulate our lethargic senses; the food equivalent of brain-numbing prime-time TV. In this sense, there’s an element to which most people haven’t trained their palates.

I found it remarkable to learn that French children are actually taught about food; it seems that the French recognise that we don’t appreciate the more complex or enduring tastes without being shown them and given a chance to understand them properly. Some sort of palate education is required. That’s an enlightened approach.”

Dr. Goode’s conclusion:

How do you learn to taste? At the simplest level, you need to drink a broad range of wines in a semi-thoughtful fashion. I’d add that it helps to try to drink these wines in differing contexts: big tastings are valuable, but it’s also important to drink wines at home and in, if possible, in situ – where they are made. Complement this tasting experience with liberal wine reading and ample discussion with fellow wine nuts. The importance of discussion, a two-way process in which you participate, over simply taking in received wisdom from an expert, cannot be emphasized enough. One helpful practice is comparative tasting of a number of wines from the same region. I’ve found it useful to major on the wines of just one region or country for an extended period (weeks or months).”

I have also found these methods to be useful. But in addition to tasting wine from the same region, I would compare the same varieties of grape from region to region (e.g. Pinot Noir from Argentina to Pinot Noir from Oregon to Pinot Noir from France). This will certainly further your training.

I love it when people go away from Anuva wine tastings satisfied. Our Hom Espumante and young Malbec seemed to be the winners of the evening. Hom Espumante never ceases to amaze me. For a wine club that specializes in Argentine wine, we never though, during our planning and research, that we should include a sparkling white. Man are we happy we did. We are currently sold out of Hom and have more being exported as we speak. But even that won’t be enough to satisfy our customers.

I keep getting more and more feedback about the fact that it is so hard to find a wine tasting in Buenos Aires. It seems like Argentina has neglected to bring this major part of its culture to “Capital Federal” (as the Argentines say). So when people search online and find Anuva and our wine tastings in Buenos Aires, that makes us all the more happy.

A big part of the reason why Anuva decided to bring wine tastings to Buenos Aires was that we felt that many tourists who didn’t have the chance to make it to Mendoza still wanted to taste wine from Argentina. We were right. Many toursits only have 3 or 4 days in Argentina all together, which is unfortunate because there are so many things they miss about the country. But, Anuva tries to add one more thing to the mix for them.

Our guests from Wisconsin are cetainly making the most of their time here in Buenos Aires. They told me that they had already made their obligatory visits to the more touristy restaurants and were looking for something more authentically Argentine. I recommended several different things. The one that most appealed to them seemed to be Los Inmortales, a well-known pizza joint in Buenos Aires. They had already had their fill of beef and were unaware that pizza was such a major part of Argentine culture.

I await their comments on how the “fugazzetta rellena” ended up going down. (It’s a carmalized onion pizza with lots of mozzarella).

For those of you who are thinking of coming to Buenos Aires (to taste wine with Anuva, ha), please be sure to reserve a meal for pizza while you are here. You will be missing something if not.

Receive updates vis RSS!