Sunday, May 02, 2010
CHICAGO’S ADVENTURE EXPLORING THE WINES OF SOUTH AMERICA
South American wines were the focus of the Chicago Chapter’s Société Mondiale du Vin May event at family-owned Folklore Restaurant bordering Wicker Park. Vice Echanson Tim Malishenko’s presentation was especially informative since he had recently visited Argentina and Chile and shared extraordinary images of the regions whose wines we were about to taste.
Folklore exuded a South American ambience with its rustic furniture and typical music. The di Sapio Family members worked both in the kitchen and in the front of the house and the dishes were in the tradition of an Argentine parrilla with a focus on Argentine range grown beef – a rarity in the United States.
The reception started with a rather stylish Alta Negra sparkling Chardonnay 2008 and worked very well with a selection of empanadas. A Torrontes Bodega Colome 2008 from the Calchaqui Valley was poured during a discussion of South America wines. At 9,000 feet. this winery is the highest in the world. From Mendoza our wines came from both Lujan de Cujo and the Uco Valley. From Chile the wines ranged from the cool weather Casablanca Valley to the more familiar Maipo and Calchagua Valleys. We learned that the recent earthquake in Chile destroyed 14 million cases (13%) of the wine in that area, which proved to be devastating.
As the evening progressed, we moved on to a variety of red wines, that included:
Cono Sur, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2007 – a full bodied Pinot Noir exuding licorice and black fruit Casa Lapostolle, Clos Apalta, Carmenere, Colchagua Valley, Chile 2007 – a vigorous yet rounded wine full of fig and blackberries earning 94 points from Wine Spectator and made from Lapostolle’s oldest vines. Bodega Catena Zapata, Malbec Argentina Vineyard 2006 – a big wine full of plum and fig, radiating broadly out on the palate. Concha Y Toro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Don Melchor Puente Alto, Chile 2006 – again blackcurrant and fig brought power to this wine, but we also found tobacco a distinguishing characteristic. Each wine was cleverly paired with terrines, a Portobello and Marsala wine dish, rack of lamb and “Bife Angosto”. Our exploration of these wines had certainly whetted our appetite for more of the same and beyond , in the hope that our Vice Échanson will introduce us to Brazilian wines, as that country’s wines are developed.
In May, we will look to the expanding and continuously improving wines of Argentina and Chile. We will also discuss the geography, regions, and both familiar and not so familiar grape varieties coming from South America.
From Argentina, we cover the Calchaqui Valley in the North, the prime area for Torrontes. From Mendoza, our wines come from both Lujan de Cujo and the Uco Valley. From Chile, our wines range from the cool weather Casablanca Valley to the more familiar Maipo and Colchagua Valley’s South of Santiago de Chile. Finally, we include the latest release from Wine Spectator’s number 1 wine of 2008, Casa Lapostolle, a Carmenere blend.
Our culinary adventure will pair a traditional Argentine parrilla fare with our selected wines. Folklore is on West Division Street and borders East Village and Wicker Park. Owners Rudolfo and Sergio di Sapio also own the popular Tango Sur on North Southport. Folklore is in the tradition of an Argentine parrilla with its particular focus on Argentine range grown beef ‐ a rare find in the United States due to export restrictions in Argentina.