Sheral Schowe on Wine



 

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The Event
Wines from Argentina and Chile
© by Sheral Schowe
Our fifth and final stop on the World of Wines tour was the Argentine Grill and European Cafe, formerly Helen’s Restaurant. Our class loved the warm, friendly hospitality of the owner, Miquel, in a gorgeous garden atmosphere.

Utah has experienced a dramatic increase in the availability of Argentinean and Chilean wines, partly due to Miquel’s insistence and the commitment and interest of Utah’s wine brokers. The six wines featured are just a sample of what is available in the state. All are offered at an incredible bargain.

Only one white wine, the Los Arbolitos Pinot Gris 1998 ($8.95) was presented. Literally translated as "the gray Pinot grape," the Pinot Gris is a pale sunlight color with a light green-gray hue. There is an interesting nose of pistachio and lemon with almond and green apple flavors and a citrus-like finish. It paired nicely with a variety of salads with Argentine olive oil dressing.

Our first red wine of the evening was the Casillero del Diablo 1997 ($8.95) from the Concha Y Toro winery of Chile. The Casillero, 100% Merlot, is one of the best examples of Concha Y Toro wines available. The name means "Cellar of the Devil." The cellar is one of the deepest in Chile. It was named not only for its depth, but also to generate a superstitious fear among the cellar workers to dissuade them from drinking up the profits. It is a relatively light red wine, which paired well with the empanadas and the fresh herb rolls with garlic, olive oil, and parsley sauce. It has a purple-garnet color, indicating its youth. There is fruit and a little vanilla in the nose with a palate of black cherry, pepper, and anise.

For a representation of the highest quality wine region in Argentina, three wines were selected from Mendoza. The Balbi Malbec/Syrah 1997 ($6.95) is an interesting blend. Originally from two distinctly separate areas in France, these varietals are successfully grown in the same terroir in Argentina. The climate is very special; bright sun for the majority of the year, irrigated by the snow-melt of the Andes mountains.

Also from Mendoza, the Trapiche Malbec 1995 ($9.85) comes from the largest winery in the nation. The nose is full of fruit, including plum and raspberry with some spice. It is fruity, smooth, and velvety-rich, with deep flavors of plum, spice, earth, and tobacco. It was a great match for the New York steak with shitake mushroom and parsley sauce.

Next was the favorite of the majority of the class: Weinert Carrascal 1995 ($12.80) from a winery known to produce the most exciting wines in Argentina. This is a smooth, Bordeaux-styled Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot. The nose has dried fruit, spice, and anise with a palate of cherry, leather, tobacco and vanilla. Superb with the beef dishes. It is harmonious, smooth, and complex.

Last was the Santa Rita Cabernet Reserve 1997 ($10.95) from Chile. It has a black-violet color, a strawberry, plum and spice nose, and a palate of earth, mushroom, and cherry fruit.

June 10, 1999

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