Monday, September 6, 2010

Impressive Tapas Dinner with Tango at Nieto Senetiner Winery


(Sept. 1, 2010) After another short rest we were transported to Nieto Senetiner Winery for what the Argentineans refer to as a “Cocktail” dinner, but which is actually a stand-up affair with many small dishes (tapas) served over the course of the evening with plentiful wine. Dress was formal so I wore the one black cocktail dress I had brought on the trip. As we climbed into the van that was sent to collect us, it started to snow very softly.

It was dark when we reached the winery around 9pm, but the large reception room was warm and bright with a blazing fire in the fireplace and flickering candles. Waiters served trays of Nieto Senetiner malbec rose, a chardonnay/viognier blend, and the entry level malbec. Later in the evening, they brought out the Nieto Senetiner Malbec Reserva, and eventually the icon wine called Cadus. All three malbecs were excellent with ripe blackberry and velvety tannins, but Cadus had more complexity and a long finish.

There were around 100 people in attendance mingling and talking in shifting groups. A four-piece orchestra played soft tango music in the background. Along one side of the long room a wall of windows looked out on an 80 year old malbec vineyard that was lighted to show-off the ancient twisting vines which seemed like sculptures. Fire pits blazed near the vines, and for a while I thought they were going to have a BBQ, until someone explained to me that the dinner would be composed completely of tapas. These ranged from huge platters of salami and cheese to small dishes of prawns, salads, and other tasty treats. The media was in full attendance taking many photos.

Around 10pm, two tango dancers arrived to delight the group with intricate and sexy tango moves (see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDIvg7nYTFI). They also danced an older version of the tango called “criollo,” which I was told was the original dance in which the man wears a hat. A man standing near me said that tango was born from a combination of African and Spanish dances, and that over the years it evolved into the sensuous moves we see today. It was truly a wonderful experience – and a perfect welcome to Argentina.

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