Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To Mendoza, Argentina

Besides near-constant ironing and waking up at 6:45 am every morning, I've realized that being a grown up means trying to have sophisticated, really delicious, super-successful dinner parties where everyone looks put together. Though the imperative word in that sentence is trying, I think that slowly but surely, we're getting closer to that goal (we've even started to like goat cheese!). The other night, I needed an occasion to drink a Bonarda I'd bought while in Oregon this summer, and so a dinner party was invented. Caitlin and Whitney, two close friends of mine that also graduated this past May and are also out in the work force, spent a day at the farmer's market finding great local food for our dinner. They ended up bringing fresh squash and zuccini (later sauteed in olive oil and spices), chevre and hot raspberry jam (all made fresh by local vendors), bright red tomatoes and cucumbers, and fresh rosemary bread that we dippied in olive oil and balsalmic. They also brought "The Show" Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina and a white wine (Stiegerebbe) made and sold locally by Stina Cellars. I made fresh corn on the cob, added a Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda, and made a great, simple dessert (vanilla ice cream covered in toasted coconut and fresh lime juice). Maria, one of our housemates, contributed goat cheese stuffed mushrooms that were absolutely to die for and some Cupcake wine. The evening is probably best summed up by a photo of the appetizers spread... but the wine deserves a more in-depth look.

In some kind of miraculous telepathy, Caitlin and I were on the same page in terms of wine. We'd both bought and brought a wine from Mendoza, Argentina and both of them went remarkably well with the goat cheese and pepper raspberry jam. The first wine we opened was the 2009 Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda by Altos Las Hormigas, a gorgeous bottle of I bought for only $8.99 at Sundance Wine Cellars in Oregon. It was an amazing deal and one of the best new reds I'd tried in a while. This wine was very different than many I've tried but had many of the same spicy, deep qualities of a Malbec. I picked up some cherry and plum followed by spicier notes of pepper and finished with structured tannins, giving it a rustic feel. If my ranting is not enough to convince you, this wine recieved 89 points from the Wine Spectator and frequents the magazine's great values lists. The Bonarda grape, a varietal I hadn't heard of before, is actually an Italian grape that was the most prominent grape grown in Argentina.

The second wine we tried was a 2009 The Show Malbec from Trinchero Family Estates that was also sourced in Mendoza, Argentina. I've recently started to enjoy Malbecs, after getting used to the heavier and spicier flavors that they're known for. This wine was about $10 and Caitlin bought it at Target (it's accesible!), and with such a flashy and interesting label, it's hard not to instantly love. It was a really great deal for so flavorful and full-bodied a Malbec. This wine opened with some deep fruit flavors of blackberry and plum that led into a spicier and softer finish characterized by notes of vanilla, and pepper, with smooth tannins to finish the sip. I loved this wine with our fresh dinner spread and thought it was also a good wine to follow the Bonarda, as it introduced some fruiter and lusher notes to counteract the spice of the previous wine.
It's worth it to mention that this tea-light decorated, fresh-food populated, and all around lovely evening developed rather quickly into playing rounds of Catch Phrase inbetween ingenius whisky, coffee, and whipped cream shots and everyone had a headache in the morning. So... I suppose the college hasn't quite been taken out of us yet.

1 comment:

  1. Nice job Kelsey, looks like you had a fun night. Both wines sound delicious but I'm really intrigued by the Bonarda, which we rarely see in the USA. Cheers!