South American Wine Appreciation Dinner 2015 – Prime Restaurant

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Introduction

I have kindly been invited to a client function at Prime Restaurant for a South American Wine Appreciation Dinner. The event is a four course dinner matched with ten amazing rare South American wines. It is set to be a perfect evening.

Valdivieso Extra Brut NV, Chile

We start with a refreshing glass of sparkling wine. Valdivieso is South Americas oldest sparkling winery founded in 1879. The Extra Brut derives its freshness from the chardonnay and Pinot Noir, harvested from three of Chile’s cold valleys. The wine has a light dosage of just 8g /L of sugar which keeps it fresh and very lively. A truly refreshing start to the night.

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Bread

The crusty bread and intense Mediterranean flavour of the olives are just the perfect start to the dinner and the chat with your dining companions.

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First Course

El Porvenir Laborum Single Vineyard Torrontés (2014), Argentina

Then we move onto the first of the wines. The first wine was from a vineyard owned by the Romero Marcuzzi family which has more than four decades of wine making history in the Cafayate Valley in Argentina. The Finca Ell Retiro winery is 1,750m above sea level and produces wonderful Torrontés with delicate floral and citrus nuances. It is made without oak in ideally consumed young. On the palate it is crisp, dry and refreshing. The citrus fruits dominate but the floral notes in the finish is quite exquisite.

Tukma Gran Reserva Torrontés (2011), Argentina

The second wine is from the same province, but Tukma’s Torrontés is a distinctly different to the other wine. This wine is full of floral and tropical notes energised by the cool acidity of the 50-year-old vines, which are ~1,900m above sea level in Argentina’s Angastaco Valley. This fruit is fermented and matured for six months in oak barrels. The wine had a wonderful aftertaste of lychees while both acidity and oak unite in style to deliver a wonderful sensation on the palate. It can be cellared for longer than the first wine.

Overall the second wine proved to be very sweet and syrupy while the first wine had more acidity and bite from the citrus.

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These lovely wines were paired with the:

Sea Bass Ceviche, Radish and Coriander

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The sea bass is wonderful with a jelly like texture and a wonderful retention of its natural flavours. It is paired for a lovely contrast of textures with the crunchy radish and then the deep cleansing nature of the coriander to round out the dish. The beetroot provides a fantastic colour to the dish for aesthetics.

Second Course

Errázuriz Max Reserve Carménère (2010), Chile

Vina Errazuriz is a longstanding player in Chile, founded by Don Maximiano Errazuri in 1870 in Valle de Aconcagua. Carménère is a signature varietal of Chile ever since it was discovered in 1994. Prior to that everyone thought it was Merlot until DNA tests on the grapes proved otherwise. Carménère produces deep coloured full-bodied red wine. It thrives on cool nights and warm days in the Acongagua Valley. The wine was matured for 12 months in French oak barrels. It has a savoury style of black fruit flavours with spice hints. This wine has a rich aromas of coffee with hints in the aftertaste which is actually quite enticing.

De Martino Alto De Piedras Carménère (2009), Chile

De Martino family established the vineyards in Chile’s Maipo Valley in 1934. The company is a pioneer of Carménère, the first in Chile to export the variety in 1996. Its finest expression of the variety are its single vineyard wines produced from the finest sites of the family’s organic vineyard. Alto De Piedras was the site from which Chile’s first Carménère was made. The wine spends 14 months in oak barrels and has emerged deeply coloured and filled with red fruits and spice. The acidity of the wine is particularly notable in this wine.

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These lovely wines were paired with the:

Grilled Wagyu 9+ Rump, Pickled Vegetable, Chimmichurri Condiment 

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The succulent wagyu with its rich marbling and its rich jelly like texture is a symphony of perfection. The spice of Chimmichurri and the pickled vegetables add a freshness and cleanse the palate. The rich deep Carménère is a perfect match for the wagyu. The redness of the wagyu and the colours of the pickled vegetables and Chimmichurri are just a mosaic of colours.

Tasting Bracket

Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolas Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec (2008), Argentina

Nicola Catena first planted the vineyard in 1902. Today the top wine from this estate is a bled of the best parcels of 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/3 Malbec sourced from four vineyards between 950 and 1,450m above sea level. The wine has spent two years fermenting and maturing in french oak and further two years in the bottle. The wine is full-bodied with the strong aroma of black fruits with some savoury olive hints. On the palate there is the rich taste of smoky black fruits which then make way for sweet coffee and vanilla hints with a salty mineral aftertaste.

De Martino Familia Cabernet Sauvignon Carménère Malbec (2003), Chile

Familia is the De Martino’s selection of the best fruit from specially identified parcels, representative of the best that the estate can produce and only made in small volumes. The three varieties are sourced from the family’s Maipo Estate and aged for 24 months in new French Oak barrels. The wine is dense and solid win a muscular modern style which has appreciated for more than a decade to mature and soften. The Cabernet takes the lead with back fruits, tobacco, herb and olive flavours.

Both these wines had a similar palate mix. The difference in age the tertiary characteristics are more evident which meant the black olive notes were more discernible in the Familia 2003 vs the Catena 2008. In fact the host noted that wines as far back as 2003 are very rare and we probably (at the function) drank ~90% of the bottles from that year.

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Third Course

De Martino Limávida Malbec (2008), Chile

The finest terriors are selected for this single vineyard wine. Limávida is a field blend of old bush vines of Malbec, Carménère, Carignan and Tannat from dry farmed vineyard in Chile’s Maule Valley. These are managed today by one man working with a horse. The wines have a deep  dark plum flavours with cocoa and savoury notes in the finish with an intense long finish due to 14 months of ageing in french oak barrels.

Bodega Noemia J Alberto Malbec (2012), Argentina 

Bodega Noemia is located in the Rio Negro Valley in the middle of the desert in Argentina.In 1828, the British colonies created channels through a river which irrigated the valley, forming an oasis in the middle of the desert and a four hectare vineyard was planted. The wine has a complex nose of violets, blueberries, plums, maraschino cherries and hints of licorice. The palate is well-balanced with strong flavour of black fruits, soft tannins and some great acidity.

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These lovely wines were paired with the:

Prime Fillet Steak (200g) with a Hot Vegetable Salsa 

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The Angus Yearling steak is wonderful on the crisp and caramelised on the outside with a rich succulent consistent flavour on the inside. The dish has a Brazilian chocolate reduction sauce which offers a deep smoky sweet richness to the dish. The hot vegetable salsa has the crunch of the salsa vegetables and indeed the creamy sweet puree of the mango. The perfect dish to be paired with these deep rich full-bodied South American wines.

Dessert

El Porvenir Laborum Single Vineyard Late Harvest Torrontés (2013), Argentina

At 1,750m of alitude the Romero Marcuzzi family’s Finca El Retiro vineyard allows Torrontés to retain natural acidity even with extended ripening. Each bunch is individually protected in its own bag before harvest at a high level of ripeness. The wine is aged five months in French oak barrels to bring toasty depth to the rich sweet honey and tropical flavours which are introduced by very pungent aromas of floral notes.

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The wine is paired with a:

Ginger and Macadamia Cheesecake with Spiced Pineapple and Tropical Sorbet 

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The interaction of the rich creamy cheese filling with the spiced tropical pineapple jam, the macadamia, the bite of the ginger, the crunchy coconut caramel sandwich pieces on the end with the clean refreshing tasting sorbet is the epitome of flavours, textures and can simply be defined as a taste sensation. I love it!

A fantastic and stylish way to end a wonderful evening! So lucky to have been invited to this event it was a thoroughly enjoyable night! The history of wines and viticulture notes here were kindly provided at the event which was very informative.