August 3, 2011

South American Wine Dinner

South America has brought a lot to the world.  We have Machu Pichu, Amazon Rain Forest, the Andes, Inca ruins, and, of course, wine.  Wait, what?!  Yeah, I said wine!  Until recently, all I knew about South American wine was Malbec.  And, as a self proclaimed student of all things Vino, I'm always open to experiencing new wines.  The wineries of Dona Paula from Argentina and Carmen from Chile contributed some incredible wines for a four course wine tasting dinner at Abacus.

The stand out wine was the Dona Paula, Estate Torrontés 2010 from Argentina.  This white is incredibly light and aromatic.  Comments about this wine at our table included "It's like Champagne without bubbles" and "This wine is like tasting a light perfume".  I totally agree with both.  This was my first encounter with Torrontés.  I am by no means a white wine drinker, but after experiencing the airomatic, but not overly sweet flavor of a Torrontés, I can see myself enjoying this wine in the future!

Of course, when you're attending an event at Abacus, you expect exceptional food.  This time was no different.  The first course was a lovely "pizza".  There is a large Italian immigrant population in South America, so this course was certainly more appropriate than one first expects.

The second course was the best chicken I have ever eaten.  The meat was pasture raised and incredibly decadent.  Think "happy chickens".  I can't say enough about how well treated animals make the best tasting dishes. 

Third course was Kobe hanger steak with a pecan tortilla.  Both items melted in your mouth.  Who doesn't like steak you can cut with a butter knife?

Last, we had brown butter cherry tamales.  These things were RICH.  Texturally, they were a little much for me.  The sensation of swirling course brown butter around my mouth wasn't really my bag.  The genius of this choice in dish was the wine pairing.  Our entire table was a little unsure of the choice because of the strength in the Carmenere.  Alone, you would expect this wine to be served with a meat dish.  Next to the tamale, the wine was immediately subdued and rounded out the course nicely.

First Couse
"Porteno Pizza": Fugazza con Queso, Carmelized Cippolinis, Heirloom Tomatoes, Salchicha Parrillera
Second Course
Pollo la Plancha: Grilled Windy Meadows Pasture Chicken, Roasted Corn-English Pea Hash, Natural Jus
Third Course
El Parilla: Chargrilled Kobe Hanger Steak, Yellow Tomato-Pozole Stew, Crispy Pecan Tortilla
Fourth Course
Brown Butter-Cherry Tamale, Caprino Royale Cajeta

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