For eight days in June, Chef Gino Guercio, of the downtown Toronto Delta Chelsea Hotel , traveled through Argentina, along with chefs and sommeliers from different Delta properties, to explore the food and wine of the Mendoza and Patagonia areas. Tasting from 110 wineries, they gathered what they could bring back for an Argentine food and wine festival.
Since the Delta Chelsea introduces a different gastronomy festival every month, the only obligation was to hold this promotion for one month. Initially the idea was to select ten wines from the trip, and continue the two top selling wines on the Delta Chelsea wine lists for one year. “We created our menus from the wines we wanted to feature for the month” shares Chef Guercio, however “due to the great feedback from guests, and a new outside dining community [at Bb33 Bistro and Brasserie], we decided to continue it for three months”.
From October 1, 2010 to December 30, 2010, Argentine wine and dish pairings are featured in their restaurants, lounges, and bar.
We begin our tasting with a glass of Tilia Torrontes, Wines of Catena paired with a trio of empanadas. These crunchy envelopes of flavourful morsels, including charred sweet corn and buffalo mozzarella with smoked chipotle aioli, are harmonized with the crisp clean acidity of this tropical aromatic wine from Salta. Thin Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese petals, and a drizzle of Zuccardi extra virgin olive oil dance over beef Carpaccio and whole grilled king oyster mushrooms. The ripe fruit and berries of the Familia Schroeder Saurus Merlot (Patagonia 2008) pair beautifully with the cheese shavings and slender sheets of tender beef.
As with each of Chef Guercio’s culinary festivals, “it’s a good trampoline to make a great menu.” The duo of pan seared Patagonia style rainbow and smoked trout with arugula risotto, roasted baby vegetables and a torrontes and cilantro froth is almost certain to be a new menu fixture. Zorzal Sauvignon Blanc (Tupungato 2009), with its unoaked citric notes, is a natural pairing with the trout–a popular specialty in both Mendoza and Patagonia. The Bodega Norton Privada is a meal on its own. The rich fruit, raspberry ganache, mocha, and spice of this prized malbec has luscious depth, and can only be balanced by charbroiled beef tenderloin. Chimichurri crusted, and accompanied by roasted organic fingerling potato and chorizo sausage fricassee, sautéed asparagus, with Tupungato region malbec and shallot reduction; this dish saves us the trip to Argentina. Try this pairing…you’ll thank me.
Why not end a meal with something sparkling. Bodega Norton Cosecha Especial, Extra Brut accompanies our dessert of quince jam and smoked provolone cheese Napoleon, warm petite malbec poached pear crepe, and a miniature crème caramel with a dulce de leche drizzle. We enjoy this indulgence of our senses and, as though we were lounging at the foothills of the Andes, we take our time.
Finding an authentic Argentine menu in Toronto is no small task, but Chef Guercio has taken away the effort, and done the research for us. His discoveries, menu designs and pairings are inspired reflections of a cuisine and wine culture that is trending around the globe. At approximately $60 per person, dining here is very reasonable, particularly since this is an elegant white tablecloth restaurant offering such a unique culinary experience.
Representing the most extensive Argentine wine selection in Toronto, the Delta Chelsea wine list already includes malbecs from Trapiche and Norton, but the two new top sellers from this Argentine festival are the richly textured Norton Privada and the refreshingly floral Tilia Torrontes. Check out this Argentine wine list below–It is well worth it to visit the Delta Chelsea even just for a glass.
Bodega Norton Torrontes – Mendoza 2010
Tilia Torrontes, Wines of Cantena – Mendoza 2009
Zorzal Sauvignon Blanc – Tupungato 2009
Bodega Norton Malbec – Mendoza 2009
Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec – Mendoza 2007
Bodega Norton Privada – Mendoza 2007
Bodega Norton Cabernet Sauvignon – Mendoza 2009
Clos de los Siete – Mendoza 2007
Rupes Shiraz Malbec – San Juan 2009
Septima Dia Cabernet Sauvignon – Mendoza 2007
Saurus Merlot – Patagonia 2008
Trapiche Reserve Malbec – Mendoza 2008
Zorzal Climax Malbec – Tupungato 2008