This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group of bloggers is traveling (virtually) to Argentina. Thanks to Winesellers Ltd. for providing some of the group with wine samples. Join our Twitter chat on Saturday, January 12th at 11:00 am ET for our Argentine food and wine discoveries.
Argentina’s principal grape varieties by acres planted are Malbec, Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Torrontés Riojano, and Chardonnay. When I think of the food and wine of Argentina, my mind immediately goes to the flagship varietal, Malbec and Argentine beef. While this pairing is classic, if you are like me, I am eating less meat and more vegetables. I need the “how to pair vegetarian food with Argentine wines.”
How to Pair Vegetarian Food with Argentine Wines
- Generally speaking, color matching your wine and food can lead to a good pairing. Lighter colored foods pair well with lighter colored wines, as do darker foods with darker colored wines.
- How your food is cooked can determine the flavor intensity. Roasting food brings out richer and sweeter flavors in vegetables, pairing well with wines that have some oak aging like Chardonnay or red wines.
Steaming or sautéing keeps the flavors light and bright, pairing well with lighter or mid-weight wines.
Braising develops a depth of rich flavors, pairing well with heavier red wines.
- Pairing a wine and food with similar characteristics like herbal green flavors that can be found in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot to green leafy vegetables and green tasting cruciferous vegetables.
- Balancing the weight (alcohol level) of the wine to the weight (richness) of the food.
- Fruit forward and lower tannic wines pair better with spicy foods.
- Tannic wines pair better with protein-rich dishes (cheese)
- Combine bitter greens with a protein or starch for balance.
Remember these tips work together, how you cook the vegetables and what other ingredients go into the dish influence your wine pairing selection.
Wine Tasting and Food Pairing Notes
Disclosure: The wines were provided as media samples, all opinions are my own.
2016 Zuccardi Q Chardonnay, Mendoza Argentina
13.5% abv | $20.00 SRP (sample) | 100% Chardonnay
Medium straw in color. Medium body and acidity. Notes of citrus, tropical fruits, toast, chalk, and a hint of yeast. Lingering finish with nice overall balance.
Food Pairing: Roasted Romanesco, Mushrooms, and Onions with Polenta tossed with an herb, lemon, and caper sauce. This pairing hit a number of the tips above. Lighter colored wine and food, roasted vegetables paired with an oak and sur lie aged wine, the weight of the wine and food in balance, and the acidity in the wine matched the herb, lemon, and caper sauce.
2016 Zuccardi Q Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
14% abv | $20.00 SRP (sample) | 100% Malbec
Medium purple in color. Medium bodied, medium- tannins, and acidity. Notes of vanilla, violet, blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, and herbs. On the palate a soft, smooth texture.
Food Pairing: Olive Oil Braised Chickpeas and Kale Toasts with Smoked Paprika. The slow braise of the chickpeas and kale paired well with the heavier more complex Malbec. The slight bitterness of the kale was mellowed out with the cooking method and balanced with the chickpeas and their creaminess, also a velvety characteristic found in the wine. The smoked paprika added an earthy like element that married beautifully with the wine.
The Malbec also paired nicely with Vegetarian Chili. The hint of spiciness was balanced with the fruity characteristic of the wine. The braising of the vegetables added a depth of flavor that also was matched in the wine. And finally, the creaminess of the beans was echoed in the wine.
2017 Santa Julia Reserva Mendoza, Argentina
13% abv | $13.00 SRP (sample) | 70% Malbec 30% Cabernet Franc
Medium purple in color. Medium bodied, tannins, and acidity. Notes of vanilla, violets, blueberries, black cherries, and baking spices. Nicely balanced.
Food Pairing: The chili brought out more of the earthy and green characteristics in the wine. The fruitiness in the wine was a nice balance to the hint of spice in the chili. The acidity in the wine matched the acidity of the tomatoes in the chili.
A vegetarian main course that pairs nicely with an Argentine Chardonnay
- 1-1/2 cups polenta
- 1-1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- 1 head romanesco, about 1 lb. cut into florets
- 1 medium white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 oz. mushrooms, halved
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup Italian parsley, stems removed
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon drained jarred capers
- 1 lemon, zested, 1/2 juiced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 450º F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, toss romanesco, onions, and mushrooms, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast until brown, stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta. Turn heat down to a simmer, stirring often until polenta has thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
In a mini food processor, pulse 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, thyme, pine nuts, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice until parsley is minced. Add to roasted vegetables and mix.
Stir the butter and parmesan into the polenta.
To serve; spoon polenta into a wide shallow bowl and top with roasted vegetables.
A satisfying vegetarian main course paired with an Argentine Malbec.
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive + more for serving
- 2 bunches Lacinato kale
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 shallots, thinly slices
- 4 cups canned organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 4-6 slices multi-grained sour dough bread
- smoked paprika, for serving
Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves and half the remaining clove.
In a medium pot over medium high heat, add 1/2 cup olive oil. Add the garlic slices and sauté until just golden, about 3 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, salt, red pepper flakes, and shallot slices. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the kale, chickpeas, and chicken broth. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree part of the mixture until it is thick and stew like, leaving some chickpeas whole. (if you don't have an immersion blender, use a blender or food processor and puree half of the mixture.)
Toast the bread slices and rub with the garlic half on both sides. In a wide shallow bowl, place the bread slice and spoon the chickpea mixture over the bread. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika.
My favorite Chili, perfect with an Argentine Malbec.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo
- 1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes with their juice
- 1- 1/4 cup cooked green lentils I use Trader Joes cooked lentils
- 1 14-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- pinch coarse kosher salt
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
In a medium soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the onion, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Cook stirring for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft and tender. Stir in the chipotle.
Turn the heat to high and add the tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, stirring and crushing the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the lentils, beans, 14 oz. of water, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add more water if it gets too thick.
Serve with chopped cilantro.
Sources used for this post: Kendall-Jackson Pairing Fall and Winter Fruits & Vegetables with Wine
Check out my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend Bloggers and their pairings with Argentine Wines
WinePW Jan 2019 Argentina final HTML
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen presents”Easy Thai Basil Chicken + Torrontes”
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “A Taste of Argentina”
- Jill from L’Occasion presents “All The Range: Not Just Malbec From Argentina“
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Carbonada Criolla + Zuccardi Q 2013 Tempranillo”
- David at Cooking Chat presents “Roasted Chimichurri Steak and Wines from Argentina”
- Cindy at Grape Experiences shares “Wine and Dine with Bodega Trivento Winemaker German di Cesare”
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere presents “Ñoqui con Tuco (Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce) paired with Argentinian Wine”
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog shares “Exploring Argentinian Wine with the Zuccardi Family”
- Jane at Always Ravenous presents “How to Pair Vegetarian Food with Argentine Wines”
- Jennifer at Vino Travels shares “Argentina Wines with Familia Zuccardi”
- Kat at Bacchus Travel and Tours presents “Exploring Argentina: Warm Wines for Cold Nights”
- Nicole at Somms Table shares “Catena Lunlunta Malbec and Steak with Chimichurri for Two“
- Nancy at Pull That Cork presents “Domaine Bousquet Reserve Wines & Savory Tray Bake“
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog shares “A Cross Cultural Food And Wine Pairing with Amado Sur”
- Rupal at Syrah Queen presents “Wines of Zuccardi – Malbec and Beyond”
- Steve at Steven’s Wine and Food Blog shares “Argentine Torrontes and Romesco Sauce”
- Gwen at Wine Predator shares “Go Organic in 2019 With Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet and Santa Julia“
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! presents “Party Guaranteed: Pulled Pork and Argentine Wine”
- Liz at What’s in That Bottle presents “Argentina’s Upping Its Wine Game“