Last night in Toronto, I was invited to experience Alamos Wines with fellow media at Branca Restaurant (one of the newest hot spots in the city). The Argentinian wine maker brought us along on a journey and taught us about the life and vibrancy of their products. To see the behind the scenes of what we thought, make sure to follow the #DaretoPairTO hashtag on social media. I was invited to try several of their wines alongside my own #DareToPair foods and I am so excited to not only tell you about the wine but also what to enjoy it with the next time you are looking for a food & wine adventure.
As we arrived to this west end restaurant, I came to realize that I was in for a treat. The Alamos Wines winemaker Felipe Stahlschmidt and Brand Ambassador / International Sommelier Tatiana Nessier joined us for the evening to tell us about the range of Alamos Wines available in Canada. Speaking to the passion of Argentina, this powerhouse of wine knowledge in one room truly helped to showcase what Argentian wine is all about. Vibrant flavours, crisp acidity and the necessity to pair delicious wine with delicious food.
Quality in every glass.
Posted by Alamos Wines on Thursday, February 5, 2015
To give you a little bit of a wine lesson without getting into too much detail, Argentina is a peculiar climate. Not only does it offer extreme heat and sunshine, but the cool evenings and varying climates across the country can be beneficial to one varietal and not another depending on where and how you grow them.
To learn more about the viticulture of Argentina, the wine making process and their beautiful wines make sure to check out the Alamos Wines website.
Let’s get to the wine and some recommendations our friends at Branca Restaurant created for these delicious wines.
“This has a supple, mouthfilling intensity for a Torrontés, with a flush of finely crafted spiced apple, dried apricot and ripe pear notes.” Acidic, floral and refreshing are all words that come to mind when I think about the Alamos Torrontés. This is a wine varietal, from experience, that will intrigue you because it is such a chameleon depending on what you eat with it. It was, by far, Julio’s favourite of the night!
Not like it’s Chardonnay cousins from California, Argentinian Chardonnay offers more fruit forward flavours and a higher acidity. “Flavours of butterscotch, ripe apple, stone fruit and tropical characteristics” help to round out this bottle of white. Perfect for those Chardonnay lovers looking for a different perspective to their favourite wine or for first time white wine drinkers.
Both of these white wines pair beautifully with Argentinian cuisine including crisp bitter green salad (pictured below is the Branca Restaurant Field Greens), sweet and salty sausages such as Salchicha Parrillera and seafood dishes such as elegantly grilled Sepia. Contrast the acidity of the wine with smoked flavours, sweet and salty dishes and fresh ingredients for best results.
Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon
Unlike a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, and speaking yet again to the acidic fruit flavours of Argentinian wines, this is a crowd pleaser. “Deep, concentrated ruby; aromas of blackberry, cassis, vanilla and earth; dry, full bodied, with flavours of plush dark-skinned fruits, black currants and sweet cigar; medium acidity, ripe tannins and a long lingering finish.” Of all the wines, in my opinion, this complimented every kind of dish from appetizer to dessert. The acidity is what you want to look for when pairing with food since it is the characteristic that you want to cut through the flavours of your food.
It wouldn’t have been an Argentinian experience without speaking about Malbec. The region is known for it’s earthy Malbecs that have wowed wine drinkers around the world. “Deep ruby colour; dark berry fruit aromas with pepper and earth notes; medium-bodied with blackberry and plum flavours with a moderate finish.” This is a bold wine for a bold wine lover. I’ve loved and hated Malbecs over the years, but Alamos Wines helped to remind me of all the beauty the varietal can hold.
Alamos Malbec Selección
This is, by far, my favourite wine of the night. With the intensity of a full bodied wine, it also allowed for a dominant sweetness to come through on the tongue. This created a perfect balance of tart flavours, bold intensity and sweetness in a glass of wine I never wanted to be empty. A Libra’s dream! ” This is very dark, with ripe dark fruit, abundant spicy notes, cinnamon and vanilla.” If anyone is looking for a bottle of wine for the perfect host gift or to pair with a romantic dinner, this would be it.
Pairing red wines can sometimes be difficult, but I think the Argentinians have mastered it. Pairing these wines with decadent dishes such as Branca Restaurant’s Whole Roasted Lobe of Foie Gras, Nova Scotia Lobster and Tomahawk Dry Aged 48oz will truly show what these wines can do. The more intense the flavour of your dish, especially those with a lot of butter or fat (which if you ask a Holistic Nutritionist like Catherine, can be good for you in a well rounded diet!) will allow the wine to express it’s subtleties. Again, the acidity of these specific wines will also cut through and compliment the dishes you create for you own pairings.
And don’t for a minute doubt that dessert can’t be paired with red wine. The Alamos Selección goes beautifully with a traditional Argentinian dessert of Panqueques. Branca Restaurant has one that includes dulce de leche and maldon salt which is to die for. Paired with my favourite wine of the night, it almost drinks like a deep port full of rich vanilla and dark cherries.
Wine is such a personal thing and I think my favourite moment from our recent tasting was when Felipe said to us that at Alamos Wines, “We don’t work with recipes.” With tastings twice a day all through the fermentation process, this is one of the most passionate wineries I have had the pleasure of experiencing. This passion comes through in the wines and I have no doubt in my mind that you’ll be able to #DareToPair just about anything with these wines.
To inspire your own wine adventures, make sure to ‘Like’ the Alamos Wines Facebook page! Use the #DareToPairTO and #DareToPair hashtags to join in on the social media conversation and of course don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two to keep in the house at your local LCBO or liquor store.
For those of you who live or visit Toronto, make sure to visit Branca Restaurant for an authentic Argentinian experience and delicious meal!
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account!
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive