Wines of Chile and Argentina
So while this may be a cooking/food blog, I firmly believe that wine and beer are an integral part of that – hence trying to do wine/beer pairings with most of my recipes. Also, I really just love wine and beer. So, naturally during my trip since both Chile and Argentina are huge wine producers the goal was to drink all the wines! This was achieved in several ways. Mostly, just drinking wines at restaurants, but my cooking class did some pairings and I went on a spectacular wine tour in Mendoza with Trout and Wine – seriously, totally worth it, the tour was phenomenal.
So here are the four most important wines I had in the region.
Chile: Sauvingon Blanc
So if you’ve been reading this blog, at least in the summer, you’ll know I’m already a huge fan of Sauvignon Blancs. Chile does some of the best, but they are somewhat different from New Zealand ones – less grassy more mineral-y. But since it was warm and early summer down there, I drank a ton of it and was always happy in the process.
Carmenere is a red varietal almost exclusive produced in Chile – the type of grape basically died out in France. I’d describe it as half-way between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, way fuller body than Merlot, but fewer tanins than a Cab. Frankly, I really wish more of them were exported to the US – it’s a great all-purpose red. I don’t have any pictures, but keep it in mind if you are interested in a new red varietal.
A white wine that’s starting to show up a bit in the US, but not a lot. All the torrontes I’ve had have been light and flowery. It’s actually a bit lighter than a Sauvignon Blanc, so you can only pair it with something really on the light side, or have it by itself. It’s nice, but I’d rather drink other types of wine to be honest.
And of course, you can’t talk about Argentinian wines without talking about Malbec. Of course you can get malbec pretty much anywhere in the US so if you haven’t tried it, the US intro Malbec (and Argentina’s most exported one) is Alamos. However, while I was there, not only did I try a number of different malbec, I also had some late harvest malbec. Late harvest means that there was a lot of sugar in the grapes, so it creates a really sweet, really alcoholic wine, not dissimilar to port. I haven’t seen any in the US yet, but I’m keeping an eye out as it was delicious.
There are other things to drink down there. Chile has a slowly developing craft beer market, basically two breweries: Kuntsmann and Austral, and both were pretty good. Also, pisco sours. Lots of pisco sours, which I found to be rather hit or miss while I was down there. Song of the week: Back in the USSR by The Beatles. Self-explanatory and also great song.