MENDOZA – Huddled together in small groups, mentors rub backs and mop their wards’ brows, sommeliers easily distinguished from other revellers at a cocktail party thanks to perfectly pressed black suits and aprons. The tension and nerves crackled like an Andean electric storm around the Park Hyatt Mendoza hotel as 60 competitors from around the world chewed down cuticles, waiting to find out whether they’d earned one of 15 coveted places in the Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World Argentina 2016 semifinal.
This is a sauce to be taken seriously. Surely the most popular condiment in the country, chimichurri is a succulent parsley, oregano, garlic and chili concoction beloved of all Argentines. It can be bright green or a murky brown, but the best chimichurri is chock full of chunky, herby goodness and bursting with flavor. You’ll want to get the grill going because chimichurri is perfect with an asado. Here’s how to get a tangy, garlicky flavor of Argentina in a sauce that’s so simple to make, you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
In part five of The Real Argentina’s somms series, we meet Paz Levinson, the second of two Argentine sommeliers competing in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde 2016 (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World). Currently ranked number one in both the Americas and Argentina, and the only Argentine to qualify as an Advanced Sommelier from the UK’s Court of Master Sommeliers, Paz will be going for a titles hat-trick at the world championship, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
One of two Argentine sommeliers who will compete in the A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World), we meet Martín Bruno, sommelier at top Buenos Aires restaurant Tegui, in part four of The Real Argentina’s somms series. Martín spills the beans on how he’s been diligently preparing for this prestigious competition, which is being held in Mendoza for the first time on 15-20 April 2016.
Sixty competitors, five days, one title; the world’s best sommelier.
Although the immediate thought is ‘football’ when mentioning Argentina and World Cup in the same breath, the world’s fifth-largest wine producer is about to host a very different championship next month: the 15th A.S.I. Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World).
As the countdown to the Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World) ticks away, The Real Argentina continues with part two of its somms series. Given that it’s the first time that Argentina will host this prestigious competition, it’s the perfect time to find out more about this exciting profession.
Here, we meet some of Argentina’s most respected sommeliers who impart eonological wisdom around the country. Introducing Gabriela Lafuente from El Baqueano, ranked 15th in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015; Juan Giacalone, Argento’s sommelier; Mariano Braga from Pampa Roja; Matías Chiesa from Restó, ranked 43rd in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015; and Valeria Mortara from Faena.
On the average seven-day visit to Buenos Aires, dining at a parrilla between two and five times is a likely scenario. And as there’s seemingly a steakhouse on every other corner offering up high-protein experiences, it can be often overwhelming to know what the best steak on the menu is. This TRA guide trims the excess fat so you know exactly which cut to order and where.
The world of wine will turn its attention to Mendoza in April, not because of its bottled goods for a change, but because Argentina’s principal wine-producing province is hosting the prestigious Concours du Meilleur Sommelier du Monde (A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of the World) for the first time.
Around 50 sommeliers, each who has already succeeded in national and regional competitions to reach this crucial point, will head to Mendoza for the Argentine Sommelier Association organised event. And Argentina proudly has two top noses – Paz Levinson and Martín Bruno – in the final, which comes around every two years. Over the next few weeks, various Argentine sommeliers talk to The Real Argentina about their industry and this competition.
In part one, we meet some young somms who are coming through the ranks: Andrea Donadio from Oporto Almacén; Gabriella Gera from Don Julio; Marco Scolnik from Chila; and María Laura Nuñez from Aldo’s Vinoteca & Restorán.
Along the last ten months, Buenos Aires has seen the inauguration of around 50 gourmet fast food stores that have nothing to do with the large chains, beyond the fact that they share the star dish. Among the alcoholic beverages served in these establishments, initially it was beer that took over the scene. Yet, wine is steadily proving to be the ideal match for gourmet burgers, due to the sophisticated proposals and diversity of sensations that only wine can offer. This will be, then, the 2016 pairing in Argentina, no doubt about it!
We all like the experience of dining by candlelight but how about dining in the dark, when you can’t even make out your hand when it’s right in front of your face, let alone see the food on your plate? Add some interactive musical theatre to the mix and you’ve got a whole new spin on the concept of dinner theatre. Sophie Lloyd experiences Teatro Ciego’s A Ciegas Gourmet.