© by Sheral Schowe
Les Amis du Vin's most recent get-together was held at the Argentine Grill. Owner, Miguel Calderon and his staff accomplished a magical task of transforming their usual downstairs 42 seat capacity into a cozy crowd of 70 for a most memorable evening of food and wine.
The evening's festivities began with a toast of Paul Cheneau, Brut Blanc de Blanc Spanish Cava ($11.15) in recognition of Spain's important contribution to the history of Argentine vines. Those who had not experienced the Paul Cheneau were pleasantly surprised at its' lively, aromatic qualities. It was a perfect and affordable welcome to the enthusiastic group.
Our first course was a traditional Argentine Beef Empanada which was paired with the delicious Trapiche Malbec Oak Cask 1995 from Mendoza ($9.85) This wine is a huge bargain for the mouth-filling flavors of black fruit, with aromas smoke and wet leaves and a finish of a light vanilla custard.
This was followed by the Carbonada soup and Gaucho salad, paired with Los Arbolitos Pinot Gris 1998, from Mendoza ($8.95), which proved to be the perfect pairing for both of these menu items. Light vegetable soups and salads are typically difficult to pair wines with, but this particular Pinot Gris not only enhanced the flavors of the ingredients, the dishes brought out more of the fruit flavors in the wine.
The main course of New York Steak and Noquis was accompanied by Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon Oak Cask 1995 from Mendoza ($9.85) and (pictured above) Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauvignon 1994, from Maipu-Mendoza ($13.95) The depth and complexity of both Cabernets are amazing for the low price. They are very approachable, food-friendly wines which compliment the heartiness of the steak, and the rustic tomato-garlic flavors of the noquis, without overpowering, nor becoming diluted on the palate.
The dessert was nothing short of spectacular, a fluffy, custard-like bread pudding with Dulce de Leche, drizzled with one of Utah's latest arrivals, Bodegas Toro Albala Don Pedro Ximenez Gran Reserva 1972 from Spain. A small glass of this very rare and delicious sherry from Montilla-Moriles was served with the dessert. We concluded with a toast to Spain for bringing the many successful grape varieties to Argentina in the mid 1500s.
March 14, 2000