This month Deanna of Wineivore asked the World Wine Travel bloggers to look at indigenous South American grapes.
Deanna urged the group: "Let's get to know the grape varietals that South America has come to be known for. These include Malbec, Torrontes, País, Criolla, Bonarda, Tannat, and any other grape that says South America to you. Grab a bottle, and let's explore our Southern American roots!"
All of these posts will be live between Friday, July 21st and Saturday, July 22nd.
3 Wines That Sing Argentina Paired with Pork Tacos by Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley
A Taste of Argentina: Chupín de Mariscos + a 2022 Torrontés from the Salta Region by Culinary Cam (you're here)
Argentinian Malbec: An immigrant who gets the job done by My Full Wine Glass
Blue Cheese Sauce to put on that Steak you are Grilling Up to Pair with a Malbec Wine by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Criolla, Bonarda, and the San Francisco Empanada by Wineivore
Other Indigenous Grapes
Just this year, with the #WorldWineTravel explorations, I have poured two bottles of País. Back in January, I shared A Bloody Good Rack of Lamb + 2019 Viña González Bastias País when the group looked at Chilean wines. In May, we looked at the grape known as País in Chile, Criolla in Argentina, and Mission in North America; I posted A Chilean Seafood Soup + a Migrated Vine: Paila Marina + the 2019 Roberto Henríquez Tierra de Pumas. In March, we headed to Uruguay and I poured a Tannat for Full of Uruguayan National Pride: The Chivito + Tannat.
And Malbec has been on my table many, many times. I have paired Malbec almost always with meat. I paired Grilled Lamb Sirloin with Cèdre Héritage 2015 for a #Winophiles event in 2018; and, for another French Winophiles event, I shared Château du Cèdre Extra Libre 2018 Malbec + Cider-Braised Chicken Thighs. Also in 2019, I made Hāngī in a Dutch Oven + Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2017, a Malbec from New Zealand.
So, for this event, I wanted to track down a Torrontés or two.
2021 Bodega Colomé Torrontés
I poured and paired the 2021 Bodega Colomé Torrontés from Northwest Argentina - in the Calchaquí Valley. Founded in 1831, this is one of the oldest wineries in the country. And the grapes for this wine are grown at the highest vineyards in the world; near the town of Payogasta, the Colomé Altura Máxima vineyard is planted at 10,206 feet in elevation and the grapes are cultivated biodynamically.
Torrontés is considered the signature white wine grape of Argentina. Its distinctive fragrance bears a marked similarity to Muscat.
With a bright, clear color that leans to the golden side with flecks of deeper yellow, the nose is simultaneously delicate and intense. I was intrigued the moment I opened up the bottle. I smelled intense jasmine and honeysuckle with notes of orange peel. On the palate, however, the predominant tastes I got were fresh herbs such as oregano. This is definitely not a fade-into-the-wallpaper white wine. This Torrontés was hearty and delicious. And it paired beautifully with some locally-caught seafood I had.
Chupín de Mariscos
I started looking at Argentinian dishes and was compelled to make Chupín de Mariscos, a traditional-ish seafood stew made with a mix of local fish and shellfish such as clams, mussels, and prawns. I love our local fish market and picked up some of our favorites: salmon bellies, halibut, clams, mussels, and prawns.
serves 4 to 6
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, white parts only, trimmed and diced, approximately 2 cups
4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup bell peppers, diced (I used an orange bell pepper)
5 cups fish stock
1 cup water
1 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
2 small bay leaves
peel from 1 organic orange (I used a Cara Cara)
pinch of chile flakes or cayenne pepper
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound clams (I used Littleneck), scrubbed
1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed
3/4 pound salmon belly, cubed
3/4 pound halibut, cubed
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
fresh herbs for garnish (I used green onions)
Also needed: steamed rice for serving
In a Dutch oven or heavy lidded pot, melt butter in olive oil. Add in the leeks. Sweat until they are tender, but not browned, approximately 15 to 18 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the tomatoes and orange bell peppers and cook until they begin to lose their shape, approximately 5 minutes. Pour in the wine. And bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half, then pour in the stock and water. Add in the orange peel, bay leaves, and chile flakes. Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Now, add in the seafood: first, the fish; then the mussels and clams. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes before adding in the shrimp. Simmer until the shrimp is just cooked through at the shellfish is open. This took about 10 minutes total from adding the salmon till the clams opened. Stir in the orange juice and adjust seasoning to taste. You may think it needs more salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
Remove from heat and ladle into individual serving bowls with a scoop of steamed rice. Sprinkle with sliced green onions. Serve immediately.
That's a wrap for my July #WorldWineTravel offering. We'll be back next month, but I am not sure what our theme is. Stay tuned!