Our esteemed wine council met earlier this year, tasked with tasting six wines from around the world and each of us asked to come up with a food pairing for a specific wine.Heavenly smells hung in the air as we poured a taste of wine number one in our glasses.
Torrontes is the signature white grape from Argentina. We tasted the 2012 Kaiken Terroir Series Torrontes. Once you’ve smelled Torrontes, it’s hard to mistake it for anything else. The nose on the Kaiken Torrontes was very expressive and floral. The wine is fruit forward with notes of pineapple and melon. It’s crisp and beautifully balanced with a long finish and it loves food! Ginger made a black bean chili soup that paired perfectly with it as did chicken, pizza and dates. It sells for around $16.
From Argentina we moved on to Croatia and the 2012 Vinarija Zdjelarevi? Graševina. Tough to pronounce, but easy to drink, It had a soft nose with hints of honey. Another fruit forward wine, I loved its round mouthfeel and flavors of golden delicious apples. It’s a well-balanced food friendly wine that played nicely with Marc’s chicken salad and grapes, coconut, Caribbean chicken and turkey chili. Expect to pay around $15.
Next was a wine from the Czech Republic, 2011 Vino z Czech Zweigeltrebe. It had a tart nose that reminded me of cranberries. It was earthy and very old world in style on the palate. It paired nicely with Robin’s bison sliders and my turkey chili. I’m guessing it would go nicely with salmon. It’s priced at $15.
Wine number four was also from Kaiken, the 2011 Corte Malbec. With 12% Bonarda and 8% Petit Verdot it shows blackberry on the nose. Fruit forward with a bit of earth on the palate, I found it a nice pairing with the Volumetrics chili carne recipe I adapted using ground turkey instead of ground beef. This $9 wine is a great value that offers a long and complex finish.
From Argentina we stayed in South America moving over to Chile for the 2011 Montes Twins Red Wine, a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s gorgeous in the glass with a violet-tinged color. I got lots of cherry with subtle tannins. It drank well with the chili and with dark chocolate. $18.
The last wine of this international evening was also from Montes Twins, their 2010 Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon. 90% Cab with 10% Merlot, it had a very soft nose. It drinks like a much younger wine whose tannins need time to soften. The tannic structure overwhelmed the fruit. I liked this wine with the chili, but no so much on its own. It carries a $25 price tag.