Surviving Christmas In Argentina

I’ve had my fair share of Christmas dinners in Argentina – and 17 years after my first, they still baffle me.

Alma Negra

It can’t be any fun for the asador sweating over coals on an invariably sticky Nochebuena, while just looking at congealing mayonnaise on vitel toné sends a little sick north. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of my native Brit navidad either: you can keep your mince pies (ick), Christmas pudding (double ick) and brandy butter – the bird, however, can stay. So let’s make the best of the situation and pair up these bad boys (and to be clear – that’s bad as in negative, apart from the meat).

A fishy tale

Fishmongers’ pay day comes but twice a year and your worst-case Christmas dinner scenario is dried-out cod (abadejo) or seabass (corvina), a lesson in bland. These will improve a million-fold with Bienconvino’s Pescados & Mariscos white blend, whose label sports a handsome fish just in case you get confused by the one with a cow on it. A brand-new collection for 2015 lovingly created by cook-cum-sommelier Mariana Achaval and sommelier Valeria Mortara with Monteviejo’s Marcelo Pelleriti doing the barrel work, this Chardonnay-Torrontés 2014 blend (AR $135) is unusual in all the right ways. Torrontés’ floral nose is spot on while the Chardonnay’s orchard fruit mouth with a hint of lemon is cleansing and refreshing in one hit.

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