I'll still call this a SideTrip despite the fact that many Italians have immigrated to Argentina, many consulting winemakers in Argentina are Italian and the Pope himself is Argentinian. Nevertheless, that's my tie in!
There are certain wine regions in the world you can look to for expertise with specific varietals. Like Montalcino masters Sangiovese and Piedmont masters Nebbiolo, Argentina produces Malbec that is unmatched anywhere else in the world.
As an homage to the new Padre, we dedicated an evening to Argentine inspired food and wine, with of course, a slight Italian twist. There was a dual feature of sorts - a gorgeous Angus Tri-Tip steak and an inky Mendoza Malbec.
The 2010 Luca Malbec is sourced from hillside fruit in Mendoza. The vineyards are in the Uco Valley region, at 3,000-5,000 feet elevation and are full of craggly old vines, some of which are 50-75 years of age. The intensity of these conditions exhibits themselves markedly in the wine.
In the decanter, the wine is a dark, blackish purple color. There was some significant coffee grind like sediment that was removed. The aromas of the wine are intense, perfumed and complex. They vary widely, from rich blackberry, to licorice, menthol, eucalyptus, and leather. On the palate, the wine is vibrant, juicy and fresh. Intense black fruit aromas are accentuated by leather, licorice, mineral, chalk and salinity. There's an air of mountain fresh herbs to this that's hard to describe but that quality of the wine played well off the improvised Chimichurri that I created for the steak. This is delicious stuff, and a tremendous value. 93 points about $24.
|Inky Black Purple Malbec from Mendoza Argentina|
We served this along side a grilled Tri-Tip steak. I had never done a Tri-Tip before and the best way I can describe it for those that aren't familiar is that it's like a London Broil, only much better. The only instructions are to cook it no more than medium rare and to slice it against the grain. The meat is very lean, so beyond med. rare dries the meat to the point of toughness.
I made an Italian version of Chimichurri since I was devoid of both parsley and cilantro. The results were never the less outstanding with the char of the steak.
1 cup basil, packed tightly
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients and pulse in a food processor. You'll get a thick, bright green, sauce to drizzle over the meat. It's full of flavor and absolutely delicious. I will be using this again on my next Fiorentina.
|The finished Tri-Tip. Slice across the meat, with the "point" of the Triangle to your right and you'll always slice across the grain. Note the color of the narrowest part of meat. The middle was a perfect rare.|