Now that the weather is cooler and the dark of evening arrives much earlier, I have moved on to studying red wines from various regions. My most recent exploration has been in the wines of South America with a focus on Malbecs from Argentina. Malbec is one of the five grapes used in Bordeaux blends but is rarely the star on that side of the pond. When winemakers started to grow grapes in Argentina for export to the US there was initial plans to focus on Cabernet until it was discovered that Malbecs grown in that area grow into fabulous wines. I have tasted quite a few recently, and really liked one that we enjoyed with friends a few times. The 09 Pascual Tosa is a great example of a full-bodied and fruit forward wine at a nice price ($11). However, the wine I am reviewing today was in a different league and got me really enthusiastic about wines from Mendoza (the Napa Valley of Argentina)
A famous French winemaker, Michel Rolland, makes a wine in Argentina called Clos de los Siete. It is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Suavignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petite Verdot. I tried the 08 and really loved it ($18). The wine is full bodied and powerful like a Napa cab and since it is young, it needed to be decanted at this stage. After some air, the tannins were silky and smooth and the nose a little leathery, earthy and spicy.
I decided to pair this with an Argentinean beef dish to enhance the wine and the combination was really wonderful. I marinated large chunks of filet mignon in vinegar, onion, cilantro, garlic, thyme and oregano. I skewered and grilled the filet. The chimichurri sauce that accompanied the kabobs was a blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, parsley, and oregano. It was a very strong sauce so only a little was needed to avoid overpowering the beef. I might reduce the vinegar next time.
The pairing reminded me that wines and recipes from the same region will rarely disappoint.
So don’t cry for me Argentina. Now that I have discovered the wonderful wines that you have to offer, the last thing I am is sad.