Celebrating Argentina’s Path to Independence

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On the 25th of this month, Argentina will celebrate 200 years since the Revolution of May opened the way to her Independence.  As part of the celebration, Central Market will host some of our favorite winemakers in Texas stores, May 12-25, 2010, for “Passport to Argentina”  a festival celebrating culture, food and wine.

Susana Balbo, the Evita of Wine

Sometimes called the “Queen of Torrontes” or the “Evita of Wine” Susana Balboa has been making wine since she earned her Enology degree in 1981, and is thought to have produced a wider variety of wines than any other winemaker in Argentina.  She spends one month each year in a different wine region of the world studying with local growers and winemakers.  To date, she has made wine in Australia, California, Chile, France, Italy, South Africa and Spain.

After twenty years of producing wines for others, Susana decided to apply her education and experience to her own wines and put her name right on the bottle, creating her first vintage in 1999.  Wine & Spirits Magazine have named her Crios de Susana Balbo wines “Value Brand of the Year,” three times and her Signature line the “#2 Most Popular Argentine Restaurant Wine.”

Ms. Balbo will be featured at Winemaker’s Dinners in Houston and San Antonio locations of Central Market this week. On Thursday, May 13th she’ll be in Houston, and in San Antonio on Saturday, May 15. Both dinners are from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $55 per person with food prepared by the CM Cooking Staff at each location.

Laura Catena – Ambassador of Argentine Wine

Vintner, business woman, practicing physician, medical professor, mother of three and accomplished tango dancer and owner of Luca Wines, Laura Catena splits her time between Mendoza and San Francisco, where she works full time as an Emergency Room doctor. Her family enjoys a long history of winemaking dating back to the 1800s in Italy. Her great grandfather Nicola Catena left his job as a vineyard worker in Marche, Italy and moved to Argentina in 1898 and in 1902 planted a vineyard of Malbec.

Her father Nicolás Catena is credited with having cultivated Argentine winemaking to a level at which it can compete with high-end winemaking in all countries. Laura got involved in the production aspects of her family’s Bodega Catena Zapata Winery in the mid-nineties, and in the late 90s began to buy grapes from small family-owned growers that owned some of the oldest vineyards in Mendoza. By 1998, Laura started her own label, Luca Wines, named after her first born son.

Laura Catena will be featured at a Winemaker’s Dinner on Thursday, May 13, in Dallas and in Houston on Friday, May 14. Both dinners are from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $70 per person with food prepared by the CM Cooking Staff at each location. There are still seats available at the Dallas event, with a waiting list for the event in Houston.

Winemaker Dinner with Sebastián Zuccardi

Committed to environmental sustainability in winemaking, Sebastian is part of Familia Zuccardi, started by his grandfather Alberto, in 1963, and responsible for Zuccardi’s foray into sparkling wine. One of the winemakers for the family winery now directed by his father, Sebastián joined the family business in 2004. Sebastián will be featured with casual grilled fare in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, May 20 through May 23. Paired wines will include 2007 Zuccardi ‘Q’ Malbec; Santa Julia Reserva Malbec and Reserva Cabernet and Vida Organica Sparkling Chardonnay. Seats are currently available at all four locations.

In addition to these Winemaker Dinners, Passport to Argentina will include Hands On Cooking Classes, food and wine events with authors and TV hosts on El Gourmet, Argentine Olive Oil Tastings, lunches, Tango presentations and an Artisan Craft Market.

For reservations and availability of seats at these Winemakers’ Dinners and other events, visit Central Market’s Cooking School website, and choose the city location.