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).
In Rosario the Río Paraná dominates the urban landscape, its tea-brown waters setting the scene for riverside dining, drinking, strolling, and chilling out on peaceful river islands. While Buenos Aires bursts with capital city pride, Rosario paddles its feet in the water….
Following on from our ‘Take 5’ Argentine sommelier focus, The Real Argentina invited five leading sommeliers from around the world to each champion an Argentine grape and its food pairing potential. Andrew Catchpole samples the suggestions.
The marriage of Malbec and meat may be as famous as Maradona, but ask five leading Argentine sommeliers to champion any grape and its food pairing potential, and the results give lie to the versatility of Argentina’s diverse wine styles.
Few people beyond South American shores realise that Argentina is the fifth biggest wine producer in the world, making myriad varieties from vineyards that stretch from lofty Salta in the North West to the windswept river valleys of Patagonia in the south. From aromatic, spicy Torrontés to supple Pinot Noirs, by way of Viognier, Chardonnay, Cabernets Franc and Sauvingon, plus up-and-coming grapes such as Bonarda and Tempranillo, Argentina’s rich heritage of vines delivers a surprising wealth of styles.
For a country that takes such pride in its produce (and needs no excuse for a fiesta), it’s remarkable that Argentina’s food and drink festivals are only just gathering pace. Naturally, beef and wine are still the headline acts, but are joined by an increasing number of more specialist events. Here is a look ahead to the best Argentina festivals and fairs in 2012 aimed at the food and wine enthusiast in everyone.
Where do you stand on the cork versus screw cap debate? Perhaps, like several of the recent dinner guests around my kitchen table, you really don’t care, so long as the wines taste good and keep on flowing. Or maybe you are more in tune with the “natural is best” camp. So what are the facts lying behind both points of view?
While Chileans are investing in the Argentinian wine industry, there is a strange lack of investment the other way around. Andrew Catchpole investigates.
Buenos Aires is awash with great places to sample a fantastic spread of Argentina’s wines. And while there is nothing quite like touring the far-flung vineyards of Mendoza and elsewhere to really get a sense of why the wines taste the way they do, back in the capital you can immerse yourself in a wealth of choice at a growing number of superb wine-focused bars and restaurants.
Question: how did Argentinian wine, so recently the object of pitying amusement from wine buffs, become profitable, fashionable and, more to the point, drinkable? Matt Chesterton talks to Ian Mount to find out.