Envoy hails Argentine wine at annual fete

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Nov 24, 2013 - 19:51
  • Updated : Nov 24, 2013 - 19:51
Argentine Ambassador to South Korea Jorge Roballo enjoys a glass of wine at the 2013 Argentina Wine Tasting Event at Banyan Tree Club & Spa in Seoul on Monday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)

Amid a blustery first autumn snow in Seoul and just a few days after the beginning of kimchi-making season, Argentine Ambassador to South Korea Jorge Roballo hosted on Monday the biggest wine tasting fete to date.

The Argentine Embassy and Wines of Argentina have been swishing, sniffing and swigging at Banyan Tree Club & Spa for a number of years now. With 25 wineries participating this time around, local aficionados quaffed a wider variety of wines than in previous years.

“Sure, we still need to do more to raise awareness of Argentine wines here, but the high quality of our wines will eventually establish Argentina as a brand for fine wine,” said Roballo during the event, adding that Argentina will focus on the high-end consumer in South Korea.

A gambit of representatives from Korea’s wine industry braved the chilly weather on Monday, including top South Korean wine and food magazine Wine Review, as well as local sommeliers, hotel and restaurant representatives and a coterie of local wine importers.

While Argentine wines are not as well known here, familiar names were sampled, such as Riojas, Mendoza, Norton and Catena Zapata.

But a few wines really stood out: Andeluna Cellars’ Andeluna 1300 Malbec 2012 and its white Torrontes 2013, and Trapiche’s “Iscay” Malbec-Cabernet Franc 2009.

Andeluna Cellar’s Torrontes 2013 has fresh Fuji apple hues matched by aromas of flowers and tropical fruit. On the palate, jasmine and white peach stand out, as well as a fresh start and an intense finish.

Andeluna’s Malbec 2013 is aged in American oak barrels for six months before bottling. The wine’s aromas consist of a mix of cassis and dark chocolate and its taste is robust but silky, with great length.

Not yet in department stores, both are imported by the locally based Winell Company and can be found at select restaurants, hotels and wine shops.

Another favorite was the Malbec-Cab Franc 2009. Derived from the combination of two varietals, the name, Iscay, means “two” in the indigenous Quechan language. This Iscay is a full-bodied fruit bomb with high notes of cherries, strawberries and even plum, but its lively fruitiness is tempered by nuanced accents of vanilla and mint. It is imported locally by Keumyang and can be found at major department stores at about 130,000 won per bottle.

By Philip Iglauer (