Date nights in the traditional sense have become a bit more difficult to coordinate; there are only so many ways to turn your house into your favorite bistro or pizzeria without falling victim to making a subpar dish or simply running out of creative ideas of things to do. Because at this point, currently, we’ve been inside for 4 months. I know. Crazy, right?
(Speaking of ideas: if you’re looking for some new films, books or music to sink your teeth into, why not check out one of our latest articles in which we spoke to local creators about what they’ve been consuming during quarantine?)
My girlfriend Isobel and I had freshly moved to the country when this all started. In my case, I’ve only been in Buenos Aires since January, so I did have the pleasure of a somewhat brief introduction to the nightlife and wonders of this metropolitan paradise before the rug was tugged from beneath my feet due to COVID. Regardless of the sorrow I’ve been facing staring at the calendar as my visa slowly depletes validity, I’ve come to accept that I have to experience as much as I can in my new home through food and wine, which I’m definitely not upset about.
Accordingly, Isobel had the forethought of using an online platform to quench our thirst for local entertainment and cultural education which led her to booking an online class experience through Airbnb with a local Argentine sommelier Diego Somm for an evening of Argentine wine tasting. The affair was kept a surprise from me for the whole week. When it came to the day, we convened at her mother’s apartment down the road, lined our stomachs with pasta and pesto from Raviolon Pastas while popping the 4 bottles of local wine which were pre-arranged with our sommelier prior to the class.
The class takes place over Zoom, with the time being organized with Diego. Classes can be booked for individual participants, groups, or even private classes, with our gang choosing the group class which includes other participants from around the world. After settling into our spots on the couch, our night of tasting began. We were introduced to Diego, a theatrical Argentine gentleman oozing with charisma as he welcomed us and a young couple from Canada to his domain.
The great thing about Diego is he firmly dunks on the elitism of wine connoisseurs and believes everyone should be able to appreciate the beauty of wine tasting while, along the way, learning about the history, flavors, and various pairings of wine hailing from this beautiful country. He provides a genuinely entertaining experience to boot, and with 15 years experience in the industry you know you’re in good hands. During our journey we were led through the highlands of Salta to the lowlands of Mendoza with in-depth information about the origins of the grape, the conditions of growth, and how to distinguish a good wine from a bad wine.
During this class you don’t feel ousted from the high-end wine market because the majority of the wines he discusses and recommends (especially if you’re living within the borders of Argentina) are usually on the cheaper side. However, speaking from experience, these are bottles which in any other country fetch a pretty hefty price tag because of import costs and the fact that Argentine wine is well-respected worldwide. You truly feel like you’re cheating the system by gaining this insider knowledge.
As the night came to a close, Diego prepared a couple of challenges for himself and for us. We were instructed to come up with the most difficult dish possible for him to pair with a wine. He accomplished this with great ease, showing that he knows exactly what he’s talking about. The tables were quickly turned as our host with the most then got us to role play as snooty wine experts and spiel off a confident explanation of our chosen wine, its distinct flavor notes and perfect food pairing.
This final activity wrapped up the night with Diego taking a bow and thanking us for our patronage, offering the information from his presentation, sharing restaurant recommendations as well as his personal top picks. Additionally he mentioned a fantastic charity which he is involved with in collaboration with a group of friends called Calles En Lucha, the proceeds support local families within Argentina, with any tips from his evening classes going directly to the cause.
If you’re new to the wine world or just want to brush up on your knowledge, I couldn’t recommend this class highly enough; it’s a truly personal experience with an expert who will keep you entertained, informed and educated.