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Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept 23/10: Argentine Month at Delta Hotels in Ontario

The Time and Date: Thursday, September 23, 2010  5Pm to 8PM

The Event: launch of the Argentine food and wine festival at the 13 venue Delta Hotel chain in Ontario.

The Venue: Delta Chelsea Inn

The Target Audience: wine media and selected guests

The Availability/Catalogue: most of the wines tasted are available in Ontario, and they will be featured at the festival which runs through October.

The Quote/Background: the food was prepared by (or supervised by) Natalia Machado who has chefed Argentine food in New York city.

The Wines and Foods:


I could not do the wines justice since there were foods, darkness, and a party walk-round atmosphere. But I do recognize some greatness that stands out in a crowd.


It was a walk around affair, with four food stations and five wine stations. We were served a Norton Cosecha Especial Extra Brut sparkler (all chardonnay), $18.95, on arrival, followed by a seafood table with scallop seviche and salmon en croute. There was a Humberto Canale Black River Torrontes 2009 (Lifford) followed by Septima Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Mendoza (+167262, $13.95 Vintages), the latter a real bargain for the price. Later, there was a Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec-Shiraz Rose 2009 ($8 LCBO) and a Marcus James Malbec 2009. With them, we could eat sausage with hot spicy sauce and onions, and/or a beef loin sandwich.


The other side of the room was way more interesting, with an engaging tea-smoked trout and lamb loin with white polenta and tomato concasse (although cherry tomatoes were also used for sizing). Both dishes were dynamite, and best with the next wines: a Broquet Chardonnay 2008 ($15.95, Vintages, almost sold out) and a series of Norton wines, such as the Norton Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 and the Norton Malbec 2007, both $18.95. Some of the wine writers begged Elayne Bassett, sommelier at Delta Chelsea and chief orchestrator of the night, to open a display bottle of the Norton Privada 2007, a $30 blend of malbec, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Although not quite ready, it was the wine of the night.


We alternated between the Norton wines and the Broquet, and between the trout and lamb – bookended by the enormously satisfying foods created by Natalia Machado. She made two kinds of mini-empanadas (beef and banana based) to wedge in a corn husk boat with corn purees and braised beef short-ribs. The kind that melt in your mouth. Other wines on this side of nthe room were the newly listed Catena Tilia Malbec 2009 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Jason Nykor of The Grape showed his wines from Familia Schroeder's Saurus in Patagonia. He alone manned his table all night, constantly pouring and re-pouring Saurus wines (Pinot Noir 2008, +55442, $17.95 Vintages; Malbec 2006, +55459, $15.95 Vintages; Merlot 2008, +167031 Vintages, $13.95; and Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, +61986, $15.95). It was a toss up for me between the Merlot and the Cab, and the Cab won. Nice wines for a party.


And party there was – after the speeches, tango dancing!! With real live dancers and live music.


The Downside: I thought that the rose should have been on the table by the seafood, and by the beef sandwich.

The Upside: food was excellent and well-spiced with flavours.

The Contact Person: or

The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 92.


Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at

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