This month the World Wine Travel writers are focusing on the wines of Uruguay. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting this exploration. I haven't had a lot of wine from Uruguay, but those that I have poured have been delicious.
All of these posts will be live between Friday, March 24th and Saturday, March 25th. Here's what the group is offering...
Exploring the Wines of Uruguay by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Full of Uruguayan National Pride: The Chivito + Tannat by Culinary Cam (you're here)
Milanesa and a Pisano Tannat from Uruguay by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Unexpected Uruguay: 4 Wines To Find That Aren't Tannat with Bavatte Chimichurri by Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley
Tannat: Uruguay's National Grape
Though Tannat is often associated with the winemaking region of Madrian, in the foothills of the Pyrenees in southwestern France, many scholars believe Tannat originated in the Basque region. It is still grown in the Basque country, especially in the miniscule appellation of Iroulèguy, on the Spanish border. And it was the Basque settlers who introduced the variety to Uruguay in the 1800s. The vines adapted well to the soil and climate. In fact, more Tannat is grown in Uruguay than in France! Tannat is considered the national grape of Uruguay and accounts for thirty-three percent of all wine produced in the country.
I found a bottle of 2018 Pisano RPF (Reserva Personal de la Familia) Tannat from Progreso in the Canelones area of southern Uruguay. A single varietal - 100% Tannat - this is a big, bold red wine that pours a deep, alluring purple in color. On the nose there were vibrant, complex aromas of black fruit with a layer of spices and forest floor On the palate the wine had a robust mouthfeel with lots of jam flavors, but the generous tannins keep it from being too fruity.
Chivito: Uruguay's National Sandwich
Chivito is the national sandwich of Uruguay. The name, meaning 'goat' in Spanish, isn't actually reflective of the ingredients; there is no goat in the chivito. But my reading indicated that in the 1940s a chef was asked to prepare roasted goat. He didn't have any goat, so he cobbled together a delicious, meat-heavy sandwich that was so tasty that the person who ordered it wouldn't miss the goat!
Filled with tender grilled steak, ham, bacon, melted cheese, and a fried egg, this sandwich is not for the faint of heart. The buns are usually also quite large. I made my own Pan Blanco.
1 pound skirt steak
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar (I used an apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
4 rolls (I used my Pan Blanco)
1/2 cup aioli (or mayonnaise with 2 cloves of minced garlic stirred into it)
8 slices cooked bacon (I roast mine in the oven)
4 slices ham
1 cup shredded cheese, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
Also needed: pickles and cabbage salad (I made a curtido, a Salvadoran cabbage slaw or relish made with finely shredded cabbage, red onion, carrot, oregano, and vinegar)
Place the steak in a lidded container and pour in the wine, vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir in the black pepper and garlic. Let marinate for at least 2 hours, but overnight is even better.
Once you are ready to serve split the rolls and slather aioli on both halves.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the ham slices. Cook until warm to the touch. Flip over and add shredded cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted and gooey.
Heat a griddle over medium-high heat. When the griddle is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on the surface, add the steaks and cook, without moving, for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for another minute, or until done to taste. The meat will cook quickly and you do not want to overcook or they will get tough.
In another pan, heat the olive oil until it shimmers, then fry the eggs until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
To assemble, place a piece of steak on the bottom half of each of the rolls and top with roasted peppers, two bacon slices, ham, cheese, and a fried egg. Close the sandwiches. Dig in! Jake was a fan!
That is a wrap for my March #WorldWineTravel offering. We'll be back with organic Chilean wines for Earth Day. I am hosting the group. Stay tuned for more information.