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Review: Cambalache: One Night in Argentina, Dalston

10:03 08 May 2014

Some of the 150 wines to taste at Cambalache

Some of the 150 wines to taste at Cambalache

Burning Flag Ltd.

Red wine, the Tango, steak, gauchos...just some of the things Argentina is best known for.

And for two nights, these all came under one roof in east London.

Cambalache: One night in Argentina was wine tasting with a difference. Not only could guests sample the best of Argentinian wines, but they experienced the music, culture and food of a country brimming with passion and sophistication.

This is the second time the event, organised by Wines of Argentina and JAR London, has taken place in the capital.

Last year it won an industry gong for “most immersive event” and by all accounts it could well be on track for another.

Despite the tube strike, guests filled MC Motors warehouse in Stoke Newington Road to get a taste of a country which is as well known for its wine as it is for football.

In one corner, a mock ranch had been set-up to emanate the country’s nomadic horseman - known as gauchos - who roam the Argentine pampas, and outside graffiti artists painted a huge mural like those scene in Buenos Aires.

As for the food, Patagonian lamb was served from a traditional “asado” (BBQ) outside alongside stuffed pastries known as empanadas.

We also got to made our own chimichurri - a sauce made-up of parsley, garlic, oil, vinegar and chillis - to take home.

Inside, a candle-lit bar was set-up serving cocktails while guests were handed appetisers, and upstairs, those brave enough could try learning the Tango.

We were not brave enough, so got straight into the wine.

There were around 150 to try so there was no time to waste. Armed with a huge glass we started off with some Chandon sparkling wine, which could be likened to Prosecco, perhaps even a bit sweeter.

Then we moved onto the reds. The majority of these were Malbecs, which, despite having its roots in south west France, is now grown predominantly in Argentina which has the largest acreage in the world.

They were all pretty high percentage but going by the next day’s lack of headache they must have all been high quality.

The wines came from all major producing regions, stretching over 1,242 miles from Salta in the North to Patagonia in the south.

Vinalba was one of my favourites - rich and full of fruity aromas. It has won a hoard of awards since its launch in 2008 and is the fastest growing Argentine wine in the UK.

We also liked the Trapiche Malbecs which were full-bodied but not over powering and the Masi Tupungato which was fragrant and smooth.

Afterwards, we tried a wine and music masterclass, led by sensory experts Professors Barry Smith and Charles Spence.

The pair, who have appeared on seen on Heston Blumenthal’s Big Feast, explained how to pair certain wines with music to enhance its taste.

It was certainly a different way to appreciate what you were drinking and going by the packed room, was very popular among the guests.

In terms of cost, tickets, which sold out for both days, cost just £40. This included unlimited wine tasting, food, a beer, ice-cream and a cocktail. Excellent value for money.

The organisers of Cambalache have certainly set the bar high for wine tasting events. Let’s just hope it returns for a third year.

In the mean-time there will be a “mini” Cambalache set-up at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival event in the Cotswolds on August 29 - 31.

For more information about Wines of Argentina, visit winesofargentina.com

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