Thursday, May 24, 2012

Concha y Toro Chilean wine and food pairing

Tuesday lunchtime at La Feta Fij Eatery in the High Street shopping centre in Durbanville.
We began the tasting with a good Italian Belstar Prosecco.
The purpose of the tasting was to match Concha y Toro wines with South African food. Concha y Toro is one of the largest wine producers in Chile; their vineyards are in many different climatic and geographical areas throughout the country.
Chef Anneke Burger, using guidance from chef Ruth van Waerebeek in Chile, put this meal together adding a South African slant.
The wines were presented by the effervescent Andy Barrett who represents the importers
and Moises del Rio Orrego, who has come from Chile to represent Concha y Toro in Cape Town.
First course was a smoked snoek burger on a sweet potato cake with a grapefruit infused cream cheese.
This matched the superb flavours of the Trio 2009 Chardonnay blended with Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.
You know a wine is a huge success when the media keep asking to see the bottle again, to examine the label one more time and to pour just a little more into their glasses. This happened a lot during this lunch as the wines were very good. This golden wine is buttery but crisp, dry and full of flavour and structure and is a very satisfying food wine. It is wooded but not at all smoky.
Our next course was an Empanada (a pastei) filled with roasted beetroot & aubergine, mint, goat’s cheese and gruyere b├ęchamel.
The earthy flavours of the vegetables perfectly matched the savoury and minty Casillero Del Diablo Malbec 2010 which is full of sweet raspberries, cassis and violets and, like the pastry, is hot.
Then came a tiny portion of smoked springbok carpaccio with bobotie-flavoured stewed peaches and a huge slice of toasted mielie bread.
Given that mielies come from South America, this was a good idea and the spicy springbok and bobotie sauce, if not the peaches, enhanced the wine, Trio Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 - blended with Cabernet Franc and Shiraz.
Full of vanilla from the American oak, which slightly overwhelms the cassis fruit on the nose. Then the toasted wood lets the chocolate and spice break through to showcase the soft rich fruit and over-delivers. Our comment on the wine? Yum.
A deep fried breaded meatball of boerewors on a creamy black pepper pap with a rich berry juice
replicated the flavours of the Casillero Del Diablo Carmenere 2010 – the wine once thought to be Merlot but now known to be the historic Bordeaux varietal Carmenere, which Phylloxera exterminated in France.
It survived and is now the most widely planted grape in Phylloxera-free Chile. It tastes like a blend of good Merlot with Shiraz, as it has some spice and a savoury structure with deep dark fruit. Lynne had a theory on tasting it and asked if the chef would be so kind as to send us a slice or two of tomato, which she kindly did; we decided that yes, this wine is one of the few can stand up to the sweet-sour flavours of tomato, so it could go very well with Italian food.
The rather chewy Parmesan crusted ostrich medallions on a creamy mashed potato with a caramel fudge crumble were a little bland and sweet and cried out for something more robust, like olives or a berry sauce, to go with the wine, a Trio blend of Merlot, Carmenere, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wine does indeed smell faintly of vanilla fudge and, on the mouth, is a silky spicy mocha, cassis and cherry blend with hot pepper and chilli notes at the end.
Our last course was a warm Bourneville chocolate-chilli shot served with a walnut biscotto, topped with a piece of sticky marmalade. Rather too many chilli flakes but a good ‘dessert’ taster to go with the final wine: Casillero Del Diablo Riserva Privada 2009, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
Expensively wooded, so well-toasted and redolent of cassis, red cherry, herbs and white pepper on the nose. It is a very smooth mouthful, spicy and hot with a secondary flavour of raspberries, almost pinot noir like and ending in dark licorice and chocolate.
Our question: should pairings like this try to replicate the flavour of the wines in the food? Or should they pick ingredients which complement the wines? These wines are available at several supermarket chains and other retail outlets.
You, too, can go along and enjoy some wines and the food of 25 wineries and 20 food stalls in the centre at the 8th Winter Wine Festival on 21st to 23rd June. See

1 comment:

pinkpolkadot said...

It sounds wonderful. I would like to try and replicate some of these fine food!!