For the fortunate 50 people who got tickets before they sold out – the Grapenuts (www.grapenuts.org) goes to Quantum Theatre (www.quantumtheatre.com) “Maria de Buenos Aires” tasting was great fun for all. Even the performers enjoyed some authentic Argentine bites and wines before the show. The empanadas were sourced from Pittsburgh’s absolute best Argentine Caterer, La Mendocina Caterning (www.lamendocina.com) and the tasty special dessert pastries were generously donated by Flor Anderson’s dessert catering business: A Sweet Box (www.asweetbox.com).
Here are notes on the wines we enjoyed: Corn and cheese empanadas were served with the lovely and luscious 2009 Elsa Torrontes from Valentin Binachi. This Torrontes, like manyMendoza wines, is from relatively high altitude (2,000 ft and more above sea level) and spent full fermentation in stainless steel. These elements created a fresh and crisp wine with tropical fruit and citrus notes leading to a clean, slightly spicy finish.
Traditional beef empanadas were paired with the Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon 2007. The savory, spiced meat of the empanada provided a fine counter to the strength of this dense and tightly tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. While many Mendoza reds are heavy and fruit-bomb-ish, this Catena Cabernet is restrained and stylish by comparison. For those who were able to restrain themselves long enough to allow the wine a few minutes of breathing, the reward was a nicely balanced, quality Cabernet that beautifully complemented the empanada.