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Dish N' Dazzled at the 2012 BC Hospitality Foundation Fundraiser

Dish N' Dazzle featured more than 80 different wines from 22 wineries, tastings from some of Vancouver's top restaurants and a cocktail showdown.

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Perhaps only known by some for its Malbec wines, it might often be overlooked that Argentina is currently the world's fifth largest wine producer by volume – after France, Italy, Spain and the USA. Over the past 10 years Argentina's wine industry has really begun to develop the methods, attitudes and will to become a serious player in the international wine market. This quality was certainly on display in a number of superb Malbec wines but Malbec is not the only grape grown in Argentina and guests were also treated to other varietals including the up and coming Torrontes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Bonarda, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio, Pinto Noir, Viognier and Tempranillio as well as a number of different blends.

 wines for tasting

This was a great opportunity to sample a few varietals of wine from Argentina that you had never tasted, for me this included a Pinot Grigio, Muscato, Viognier and one of their big emerging wines, the Torrontes. Torrontes is the most distinctive of all Argentine wines, including both white and red, because Argentina is the only country to produce it and is by far their most planted white variety. Each of the wines was aromatic, light and crisp, pairing really well with some of the spicier dishes. My favourite actually turned out to be Amalaya's Vino Blanco De Altura, a Torrontes blend consisting of 90% Torrontes and 10% Riesling.

Having sampled some of the whites, it was time to move on to the reds. Being from Australia I am always eager to try other countries attempts at making a Shiraz, or in the case of Argentina, a Syrah. However neither of the two I tried blew me away, mainly because they lacked the big bold and powerful flavours that I am used to. Moving onto the Malbec's I was not disappointed. I have become a big fan of this grape and no one does it better than Argentina. I was surprised however to find that there was also some great value in the lower end Malbec's, particularly the 2011 Lo Tengo Malbec from Bodega Norton. With a deep ruby color and aromas of red fruit and cherries, this Malbec is plumb velvety on the palate with a long finish. With a list price of $12.99 this wine was great value and a big hit.

 The wines of Bodega Norton were some of the best in the room.

The wines of Bodega Norton were some of the best in the room.

At the other end of the price range was the Privada, Norton's flagship red wine. The aromas and flavors are fruity, but they are understated and therefore you wouldn't call this a fruity red wine.  Rather, it is a serious red wine, packed with flavor and tannin, but not at all flamboyant. I'm also a fan of this wine and highly recommend this bottle, especially for those who already like Mendoza wines. 

cocktail shakedown cocktail shakedown

Some very unique and yummy cocktails from Dish N' Dazzles Cocktail Shakedown

The night would not have been complete unless you also visited the cocktail “shakedown”, the competition for the Derek Vanderheide trophy which took place throughout the evening. Six of Vancouver’s top bartenders including Katie McDonald (Veneto Tapa Lounge), Justin Taylor (YEW Restaurant + Bar), Grant Sceney (Fairmont Pacific), Trixie Blumel (Shangri-La) and Katie Sita (CinCin), faced off against one another to create the best Argentinean-inspired cocktail. Each of the bartenders did an amazing job however the highlight for me was Justin Taylor’s “Hand of God” which drew inspiration from Argentine soccer legend, Diego Maradona. This cocktail featured Mount Gay Eclipse Amber Rum, homemade Banana Liquer and amazingly served in a dark chocolate soccer ball cup. The winner of the competition however was Katie McDonald with her creation “Rain Shadow”.

winner of the cocktail shakedown

Winner of the Cocktail Shakedown Katie Mcdonald from Veneto Tapa Lounge

Dish n’ Dazzle really is an amazing event, yet is also remarkably affordable and presents great value at $75 per person. Be sure to keep your eye out for next years’ installment as it is sure to be yet another night to remember.






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