I’ve mostly thought of Malbec as a blending varietal for Bordeaux style wines. Malbec is known to add depth of color and structure to blended reds. Eppie Ordaz, winemaker at Ordaz Family Wines “… was looking to make a red (wine) that wasn’t too popular as a stand alone wine in Sonoma.” Ordaz chose Malbec using the 2 acre vineyards from the Sandoval vineyard. Sandoval is located just below Sonoma Mountain, across the road from the Carneros AVA on the valley floor, butting up to the base of Diamond A. The vineyard growing conditions are rigorous and rocky and tend to have hot days with a cool fog rolling over the hills from Petaluma. Ordaz compares his Malbec more in the Argentine style (ripe velvety fruit, warmer growing climate) vs. the French style (rustic, greener fruit, cooler growing climate). Check out my tasting notes on the 2012 Ordaz Family Wine Malbec.Wine Tasting – Ordaz Family Wines
I made up a tasting board of possible Malbec flavors to match/pair with the wine. I included; dried cherries, blueberries, blackberries, quince paste, a 3 month old Manchego, and shiitake, onion, pepper and manchego tartlets.
I discovered the blueberries brought out a blueberry element in the wine I had not at first perceived. The blackberries amplified the tannins in the wine. The Manchego cheese and quince mellowed the tannins and enhanced both the wine and cheese. The shiitake, onion, pepper & Manchego tartlets with the rich buttery puff pastry paired nicely with the intense flavored Malbec and the umami effect of the shiitake mushroom only increased the overall deliciousness of the wine and food. The flavor board was a fun way to taste and pair a number of different combinations to explore the taste effects on the wine and food.
The shiitake, onion, pepper, and Manchego tartlets not only paired well with the Malbec, but also are a great appetizer for entertaining.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white onion, sliced and cut into bite size pieces
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced, and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves + extra for garnish
- 14 oz. puff pastry sheet 13" X 10" (I used "Dufour Pastry Kitchen")
- 1 cup finely shredded 3 month Manchego
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, shiitakes and peppers. Stir and sauté until vegetables are soft and slightly brown. Add garlic and thyme cook for another 2 minutes. Adjust heat if browning too quickly. Total time about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
- On a lightly floured surface, unfold the thawed puff pastry and cut out 3 inch circles from the dough. Evenly space the circles on the baking sheets.
- With a sharp knife, score around the perimeter of the circles about ¼ inch from the edge.
- Top the puff pastry rounds with a small spoonful of the sautéed vegetable mixture, keeping the mixture within the scored perimeter. Top with shredded Manchego cheese. Brush the edges of the tartlets with the egg wash.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until tartlets are golden brown. Garnish with thyme leaves.
The wine samples were provided by Ordaz Family Wines as part of #winestudio, an educational program organized by Tina Morey. Join the #winestudio conversation Tuesday at 9pm EST on Twitter.