The Alamos winemaking philosophy is to make flavourful, drinkable wines that preserve each varietal’s distinctive aroma, flavour and texture. Some of the Alamos wines acquire additional complexity from moderate oak aging. The Alamos winemaking team aims to make wines that are as good as wines twice their price.
When I was invited to an intimate dinner and wine pairing with with Alamos Wines winemaker Felipe Stahlschmidt and Brand Ambassador / International Sommelier Tatiana Nessier, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Not only am I a wine lover, obviously – but I’m also enjoying learning more about wine, how it’s made and what to pair with each.
The fun part to this event was that we were dared to pair the unexpected. With five different wines, and multiple courses of delicious food – we paired the unexpected – and came up with some new favourites!
The #DareToPairTO event was held at Branca.
Branca is an Argentinian inspired restaurant located on Dundas St, between Dufferin and Landsdowne. Hidden on the south side of Dundas, I almost missed it when my cab driver drove right past it because Branca is in fact a former row house!
Branca serves up barbecued meats, with everything being cooked via traditional Argentinian methods. This means, for smaller cuts a charcoal parrilla grill is used, and a blazing wood fire for large cuts and whole animals.
Yes, I said whole animals.
The wines we sampled and paired with each course were the Alamos Torrontés, Alamos Chardonnay, Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon, Alamos Malbec, Alamos Malbec Selección.
Alamos TorrontésA delightful expression of the high elevation Salta region, our Alamos Torrontés has bright floral aromas of orange and jasmine blossom. On the palate, this wine is as pleasant as a sunny spring day with citrus and peach flavors that lead to a crisp finish.
Alas, for that evening’s festivities – there would be no whole animals served.
But that didn’t mean there was any shortage of delicious food to be paired with different, unexpected wines.
One of the canapes being offered before dinner was the House Cold Smoked Salmon, paired with the 2013 Alamos Torrontés.
Alamos ChardonnayOur 2013 Alamos Chardonnay displays aromatics of oak, brown spice and butterscotch flavors. On the palate, this wine offers flavors of ripe apple and stone fruit, with layers of tropical characteristics. A full mouth-feel and lingering finish round out this beautifully balanced Chardonnay.
The first course brought out was the house made field greens. A mix of escaldo pumpkin, fresh ricotta, pickled onion drizzled with a burnt pear dressing.
The bitter field greens paired well with the Chardonnay, as the acidity from the wine balanced out with the burnt pear dressing nicely.
I tried something a little different and actually paired it with the Cabernet Sauvignon as well!
Alamos Cabernet SauvignonDeep and rich, our Alamos Cabernet Sauvignon expresses dark berry characteristics that are complemented nicely by slight herbal notes. Oak aging lent complex layers of brown spice and vanilla and a firm tannic structure to this wine.
Not only did I pair the Cabernet Sauvignon with the bitter greens, I also paired it with the next dish we were served, the Salchicha Parrillera.
This heritage pork sausage with mustard seeds was served with corn bread and paired nicely with the Cabernet Sauvignon as the wine wasn’t as typically heavy as Cabernet Sauvignon normally is. This is why it paired nicely with the bitter greens as well.
Alamos MalbecA classically Argentine wine, our Alamos Malbec blends the deeply concentrated plum flavors of the country’s signature variety – Malbec – with small portions of Syrah and Bonarda to add dark cherry and blackberry flavors. Well-integrated hints of brown spice and vanilla contribute layers of complexity. A full structure, firm tannins and a long finish make this Malbec unforgettable.
The Malbec was, hands down, my favourite of the night. This classic wine was the perfect pairing for the Tomahawk Dry Aged 48oz steak that came out next.
Yes, a Tomahawk Dry Aged 48oz slab-o-meat. Everyone in the restaurant gasped when this bad boy came out.
Alamos Selección MalbecThe pinnacle of our portfolio, the Alamos Selección Malbec has enticing ripe black fruit characteristics of plum and blackberry. Intense aromas of violet and dark berry jump right out of the glass and extend to the palate, where they are complemented by hints of brown spice and pepper from oak aging. This full-bodied Malbec culminates in a deep, luscious finish.
Just when you thought we had reached the high point of the night, Chef brought out some fresh Nova Scotia lobster.
It’s tough life I live, I tell ya! LOL
When it came to pairing the lobster, first I tried it with the Chardonnay – which was nice. But then I took it up a notch and paired it with the Alamos Selección Malbec and it was like heaven in my mouth. The buttery flavours from the lobster paired with the smooth, luscious Alamos Selección Malbec was a match made in wine pairing heaven.
For dessert – a cheese board was brought out, as well as Panqueques, which were crepes filled with dulce de leche and served with a side of Chantilly cream.
I swear – over the past few weeks, dulce de leche is popping up at every event I go to! I am NOT complaining! It’s my newest addiction!
This went very well with my favourite of the night, the Malbec.
Alamos Winemaker Felipe Stahlschmidt finds inspiration for his wines by climbing the snow-covered peaks of the Andes Mountains and gazing at the majestic vineyards that have made Argentina famous in the world of wine.