Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A meal fit for...

Yesterday we had a wonderful day of wine tasting, thanks to our local guide Javier – whose mother owns the lovely B&B Plaza Italia where we’re staying in Mendoza.

We made stops at four different wineries in the Luján de Cuyo area just south of Mendoza. They ran the gamut from small, family-owned Mendel – a true gem of an outfit where Cecilia Albino gave us a personalized tour through the entire operation – to the large, Mondavi-style outfit at Catena Zapata.

It was a fun-filled day – particularly the fine five-course, wine-paired meal we enjoyed at Ruca Malen.

To start, a bruschetta of goat cheese, Granny Smith apple and lemon zest paired with an awesome Sauvignon Blanc – so awesome, I forgot to take a picture.

Next, slices of filet mignon cured in olive oil, paired with the 2006 Ruca Malen Malbec (86% malbec, 8% petit verdot, 6% tempranillo aged 12 months in second use barrels and another 12 in the bottle). I managed to get a photo of this before I finished it off.

Third course – wheat croquets served with wild mushrooms and caramelized onions, accompanied by the 2005 Ruca Malen Merlot (87% merlot, 13% tempranillo aged 12 months in oak and 12 in bottle).

The main course was an awesome roasted beef tenderloin served with squash, white wheat, sweet corn and smashed tomatoes – with lavender salt on the table.

The wines?

The 2007 Kinien Malbec, a special vintage that is only bottle in outstanding years. 95% malbec and 5% cabernet sauvignon, aged 14 months in new oak barrels (90% French, 10% American), and then laid down for another year in the bottle.


The 2006 Ruca Malen Cabernet Sauvignon, a great wine with 90% cabernet sauvignon, 5% merlot and 5% petit verdot aged 12 months in second-use oak (80% French and 20% American) followed up with 12 months in the bottle.

To cleanse our pallets, we had a nice little pre-dessert of granite made with chardonnay, yerba mate (a sort of tea-like herb) and honey.

Finally, a dessert of white chocolate soup and seasoned fruits.

It was a great lunch – a meal fit for…. Us!

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