Today I was invited down to the architectural marvel that is the Telus building downtown. Here, to visit Glowbal Restaurant.
We were by late afternoon to enjoy their garden paradise patio in full bloom. Decor elements include a selfie mirror circled with orchids by the entrance. A canopy of dangling wisteria at the foyer. And their terrace with a backdrop of faux flowers and greenery with twinkling LEDs. An enchanting setting to drink wine in.
On the agenda, to learn more about the best and the boldest bottles from Graffigna wines, Argentina.
I sincerely enjoy such sessions as a way to learn more about a specific brand and bottle. Often the messaging is lost in cross label tastings. This way you get a more intimate look at what is on the label and within the bottle, often from experts on the topic. Case in point today, as we had a causal showcase presented by two long standing representatives from Graffigna, based out of Argentina.
Invited guests were welcomed with a glass of either red or white, a teaser taste of the wine that was to follow. And as we mixed and mingled, and eventually found out assigned seating, small bites from Glowbal’a kitchen was passed around.
The classic fresh buratta with cherry tomatoes over a crunchy crostini, drizzled in balsamic. A refreshing pairing with the Graffigna Pinot Grigio we would soon learn more about.
There was also beef tartar over crostini with a raw quail’s egg crowning each bite. This, naturally paired well with the Graffigna Merlot.
And for something a little warmer, guests were also able to enjoy pan fried dumplings.
And when everyone was able to settle, class began with an overview of Graffigna winery, beginning with the founder who bears the same name.
He was an Italian immigrant bringing Italian wine making and ingenuity to Argentinian soil. Who just so happened to immigrate to one of the most ideal grape growing regions in Argentina.
So Graffigna was born, and borne out of the desire to honour the fusion of his homeland and the this new home. The best of both cultures to produce a wine that well represents both worlds.
For example, the labels has Italian preferences and influences in its design. Straying from the classic Argentinian wine label that often features their famous mountain.
Our tasting would start with the Graffigna Pinot Grigio, popularized from Northern Italy, once again speaking to the wine’s duality. Where as Malbec is the flagship grape of Argentina. Therefore, we would naturally go there after, as we transitioned from white to red. Worth mentioning is that all that we would try today would be classified as extra dry, meaning very little sugars.
The Graffigna Pinot Grigio is fruit forward and fresh. Described as a more elegant and balanced wine that pairs with a variety of foods, thanks to both its citrus and floral essence. We took time to appreciate the alluring tangerine notes with the faint essence of apricot and peaches on the nose. As mentioned earlier, the wine is extra dry and Grigio grapes in particular has no more than 2 grams of sugar for a refreshing and fruity bouquet.
As a group we discussed pairing this with some lean chicken breast, or a side salad, and of course seafood ceviche; which would be native to Argentina.
And as we cheers to the glass we celebrated it being once the number one vintage as listed by BC liquor stores. And Wine Enthusiast Magazine has chosen it as one for the best wines.
And this once again Graffigna credits this to the terrain, as their vineyards are located at the base of their famous mountains. This unique terrain gives Graffigna grapes plenty of hot and sunny days, which is ideal for the cultivation of said grapes by day. And at night, the chill of the mountain’s shade enables the wine to keep its great acidity. Conditions idea for the growing of Pinot Grigio.
As promised, the reds were next starting with the Graffigna Malbec. Where the grapes come from the best valleys in Mendoza. Graffigna Malbec comes from the best regions of Argentina, and from there the best valleys of said region, speaking to the wine’s prestige and quality.
Similar to the white, the Malbec was fruit forward with notes of strawberry, cherry, and plum. What sets their Malbec apart is the amount of grapes and how it is allowed to cask and integrated with oak. With 60% in oak and 40% in stainless steel.
Here, I learned that the more oak and the longer it sits the more flavour is added to the grapes, and therefore can and does mask any defects it may have. Whereas Graffigna is proud of their quality of grapes and know the best way to feature them is to leave as much of it as is, in their wines. Therefore only 60% of the wine is sitting in oak for 9 months. And the other 40% is left as is to preserve the natural flavours. Something I have not heard of until today. The result, gentle oaky aromas softly integrated for a lighter berry red.
This one would pair well with spicy chicken wings, and lighter meats. I would classify it more as a table wine, ready to be consumed.
So proud of their Malbec that they have taken it to the next level with their Graffigna Glorious Selection Malbec. And yes, it was “glorious”, as a step up of the Malbec before. Here, they have built on the complexity with 70% of the wine being aged in oak and for 3 more months, at one full year. Still maintaining 30% as is. The time shows through as a fuller bodied wine with more structure and spice. We tasted dark fruits like blackberries and blueberry, which is typical from the valley. It was robust with a great viscosity and you could tell the differences between the regular Malbec and this.
Given its increase in tannis it was suggested that you pair this with a rich red sauce pasta or pizza with pepperoni. Out of the 3 wines this afternoon, this is the one to age given its great balance and acidity.
Although I am biased, as through all my years of drinking I still gravitate towards a good Cabernet Sauvignon. So was immediately drawn to Graffigna’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
The inspiration behind this was to go away from new world Cabernet Sauvignon, which tend to be too heavy and often not well balanced. And I believe they achieved that with this smooth red, and its higher acidity that finishes with spicy notes of black pepper thanks to 60% of it aging in oak. The recommend pairing for this is red meat.
Overall, this was a lovely way to get to know more about Argentina’s Graffigna wine, with its Italian heritage. Truly you take for granted what’s in a bottle, but learn to appreciate it once you look at the people behind it and explore what is on the outside going in.
Graffigna wines are a great buy at a reasonable price. Approachable wine, ideal for for enjoying right away. There is actually a lot more to their collection than what was showcased here, this is only what is currently available in Canada. And got the best of the best of it here today.