RAFAEL GARCÍA SANTOS, SOMMELIER AND OWNER OF BOUTIQUE TERROIRS, A WINE MERCHANT WHO SPECIALIZES IN ARGENTINE AND URUGUAYAN WINE, RETURNS WITH THE 2ND ANNUAL TANGO AND VINO EVENT, THIS YEAR IN THE W HOTEL IN LAS CONDES.
LAS CONDES — The event will be held on Tuesday April 15th, from 7-10 pm and will feature Argentine wines from renowned wineries, as well as a live tango performance. The wineries present include some of the most prestigious brands in the Trans-Andean country, all of whom are famous for making the signature grape of Argentina, Malbec. These include Bodega Colomé, Rutini Wines, and Catena Zapata, among others.
For those just learning about Malbec, the signature grape of Argentina, the event is a great way to experience the different styles produced. Just like Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile, the Malbec grape can deliver a wide variety of wine styles, depending on many factors, including, of course, its terroir, that tricky concept meaning the combination of grape, soil, climate and human influence, which all combine to yield wines that are unique, and represent its place, or terroir.
One notable Malbec present will be Mariflor, made by the famed French wine consultant, Michel Rolland. This wine comes from the Uco Valley, 1100 meters (3600 feet) above sea level. The winery Kaiken, with high altitude vineyards in Mendoza and the Uco Valley, is actually owned by the Montes family, of Chilean wine fame. While they focus mostly on producing high quality Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, they also make a traditional method sparkling wine, Kaiken Brut, made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, which will be included at the event.
The idea behind the event, according to its creator Rafael, was a long time coming. At first, he created his company, Boutique Terroirs, to be able to promote foreign wines here in Chile. This was a tough sell, considering how such an enormous part of the Chilean wine market is devoted only to domestically produced wines. Therefore the idea behind Tango & Vino was not just to promote the wines, but to deliver an experience: Argentine wine, food and dance. All together, they represent Argentine culture. Rafael was able to answer a few questions for us about the upcoming event, and what to expect. For someone who doesn’t know anything about wine from Argentina, what can they learn at Tango & Vino? For someone who doesn’t know anything about wine at all, I would suggest enjoying what’s in the glass, the company around you and the food served with it. If you’re a real wine fan, your life is already more complicated! There is a wide range of Malbec nowadays in the market and there will be blends and also other varieties. My wisest suggestion is to try them all and get your own conclusion of what you liked better. I don’t think learning is what I want from the people. I want them to live a different experience and enjoy it. I want them to have a great time. What are the biggest differences, in your opinion, between the wines of Chile and Argentina? Generally speaking, I would say Chilean wines are fresher than Argentina’s. While Argentina tries to go higher up the Andes, just the best ones get there. On the other hand, Chile is closer to the Ocean even when you are in the middle of the flat Central Valley. There are many differences. Soil, climate, even the varieties they both grow in. But both of them make great wines! What is your suggestion for the best food pairing for an Argentinian Malbec? Like I said before, there’s a wide range of Malbec on the market. But I think it is a grape well-adapted to the country’s diverse terroirs and dishes. If it’s a bit lighter and with higher acidity, thinking of a nice tomato-based sauce pasta stuffed with different kind of meats or cheese. This is making me salivate while I tell you this! If the Malbec is heavier, let’s move to the barbecue area… we’ll find plenty of choices there! The food will be presented as “bocados”, bites prepared by the Chef Sergio Gonzalez. The cost of the event is CLP 25,000, which includes unlimited tasting sessions, as well as the “bocados”. For more information, visit: http://boutiqueterroirs.com/eventos.html. The W Hotel is located at Isidora Goyenechea 3000, Las Condes.