Submitted by Heleen Bongers
Every last Thursday of the month Fernanda Gimenez, the enthusiastic sommelier of the Aruba Wine and Dine (AWD) Group, can be found at Sopranos Piano Bar. There she is hosting a select group of wine lovers, guiding them expertly through the intricate twists and turns of tasting wines. Fernanda’s take on tasting wines is clear: find out what you love and let your taste buds be your guide. Pairing the wines with food tidbits hones one’s tasting skills in the process. The learning process in wine appreciation is never finished as one progresses. Taking risks and chances will result in discovering creativity in surprising combinations.
Starting at 18.30 hrs, the tastings are carefully set up, showing different varietals and highlighting their differences and similarities. The `terroir’, the soil, climate, the altitude and slope of the hills, can make the same grape variety taste very differently. “Some people say they don’t like Chardonnay, for instance, but I can show them a rainbow of tastes, all named Chardonnay and all very different,” Fernanda says. In her job as AWD sommelier, she was surprised to encounter the many differences between American and European clientele regarding the wines they like. Terroir is more important for Europeans, while origin is key for Americans.
Certain rules reign in wine pairing: salty and `pica’ food is best combined with slightly sweet wines, as they make the fruity flavors stand out. Red meat and cheeses are great with wines that are rich in tannins, such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon. Fish works fabulously with light-bodied white wines and the rule for desserts is: the wine should be even sweeter than the dessert.
During the tastings at Sopranos Piano Bar, four wines will be tasted, accompanied by four tapas. These have been carefully selected by Fernanda and judged by a team of staffers of Salt & Pepper Restaurant, Fishes & More and Tango Argentine Grill. The chefs of these three restaurants come up with a tapa that will enhance the flavor of the wine that is poured. The upcoming tasting schedule includes sessions about dessert wines, Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
Fernanda, a 34-year old sommelier from Mendoza, Argentina, is a graduate of the Escuela Argentina de Sommeliers; she has taught viticulture, oenology and sensory analysis for the wine program for teachers and translators at the Aconcagua University. At this time she is studying for her `Certified US Sommelier’ exam. She has been on the island 2 years now, enjoying raising the wine knowledge of the AWD staff to a higher level and sharing her extensive knowledge with AWD’s interested guests.
If you would like to take part in the once-a-month wine tasting at Sopranos Piano Bar, please come by on the final Thursday of the month. The tasting session starts at 18.30 pm; it will be finished at 8 pm. Wine suppliers are Romar Trading Company, which sells the big-producing Argentinan brands Santa Margarita, Banfi, Concha y Toro and Trapiche, among many others, and Pepia Est, which has its focus on European, Californian and other North American wines. Your evening will be most interes ting, we promise you!