Tuesday, February 23, 2010

a perfect match

in this month's newsletter, we featured Chef Candice Butler's succulent beef brisket recipe from last week's Fundamentals of Beef class, so kudos to those who followed the link and found us here - you will be rewarded with a wine that will sure to become a dinner party favourite! urban element Resident Sommelier, Stacey Metulynsky, discovered this divine Malbec to pair with our delectable mid-winter dish.

we hope you enjoy this "perfect match" as much as we did.....

Groovy Grapes Wine Pairing: KAIKEN ULTRA MALBEC 2007 VINTAGES 50849 | $ 19.95 | Uco Valley, Argentina The 2007 Malbec Ultra saw 80% of the wine aged in French oak for 12 months. A saturated purple color, it offers up a perfume of cigar box, violets, mineral, and black cherry. It has a ripe core of spicy fruit, excellent concentration, succulent flavours, and a lengthy finish.

About the Grape: MALBEC
By: Stacey Metulynsky, Resident Sommelier, the urban element & groovy grapes co-founder

Malbec is like Merlot's quiet but quirky pal. Like Merlot, Malbec is a red grape from Bordeaux, France and produces medium to full bodied wines with dark fruit flavours and velvety tannins. But compared to Merlot, people are just starting to get to know Malbec, and it distinguishes itself from it's hometown friend with its dark, inky colour and distinctive anise and smoke characters.

Though Malbec hails from France (where it now plays a very minor role in Bordeaux) it really has come into its own in Argentina, where it has become the country's signature grape. Argentine Malbec is made in a softer, lusher New World style when compared to its French counterparts, and the warm climate there makes the grape stand out from the crowd. It has ripe blackberry, cherry, and licorice aromas and flavours, a touch of earthiness, and an approachable texture that is best described as velvety - there are some tannins but they're soft and pleasant, not harsh as they sometimes are in French Malbec. And it has dark, rich notes of black licorice, chocolate, and coffee.

Because of Argentina, Malbec's popularity has caused winemakers in other New World countries like Chile, Australia, and the United States to plant the grape as well, though you'll mostly only see it blended with other grapes.

Back in France, you can find intense and distinctive Malbec from Cahors, a town near Bordeaux where the wines are required by law to contain at least 70% Malbec (sometimes referred to there as "Cot"). These wines are deep and dark in colour, and tend to be harsh when they're young. If you let them mellow a few years in the bottle, however, these wines are intense and delicious, especially when paired with local cuisine such as cassoulet or duck confit.

Aromas & Flavours
. Rich fruit flavours of blackberry, plum, and cherry
. Spicy, chocolaty, and black licorice notes
. Full bodied, and can range from low to very strong tannins

Food Ideas
. Hearty red meats such as beef, lamb, and game
. Braised beef short ribs
. Burgers and other grilled meats
. Mushrooms, beans, and other earthy flavours

My recommended regions for Malbec are:
. Argentina
. Cahors, France,
(courtesy of Groovy Grapes, This Food That Wine Cookbook and Wine Pairing Guide)

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