Friday, September 9, 2016

The Andes Kitchen with Ruca Malen Winemaker Pablo Cuneo and Chef Lucas Bustos

In August 2016, Ruca Malen Winemaker Pablo Cuneo and Chef Lucas Bustos brought The Andes Kitchen to the US, offering food and wine pairings in three cities: NYC, Chicago, and Washington DC. The event is a "celebration of the cuisine of the indigenous people of Argentina artfully paired with award-winning wines". In DC, the winery partnered with Rural Society, an Argentine steakhouse where the kitchen is lead by Chef Louis Gora. During the wine pairing seminar, Gora's team provided a small course specifically tailored to each Ruca Malen wine. And Chef Lucas Bustos noted that the onsite restaurant at the winery provides the same service for vineyard visitors. Here are the wines and food pairings at Rural Society and the photos are courtesy of Gregory White PR.

Ruca Malen, a Journey to the Heart of a Legend

According to an ancient local legend, love between Gods and mortals was forbidden. Therefore, Mapuche women always walked looking down, fearing to meet the piercing gaze of a beautiful God. But one day, a Mapuche woman, the most daring of them all, raised her head, and when she met the eyes of the God she instantly fell in love. The God, touched by her love, offered her an elixir to join the eternal beings. In return she gave him a home, "the young girl's house", so that they could create together a new lineage of legendary Gods.

Yauquen Torrontés 2015 ($12.99) - Grapes sourced from high altitude Salta. This wine is fresh, soft and fruity with an early harvest providing more citrus flavor. Loads of aromatics as well. Pair with empanades, spicy Thai, or during our course Montedito (a flavorful topping "riding" on a small slice of baguette) consisting of Morrone: roasted peppers, eggplant, goat cheese and anchovies.

Yauquen Malbec 2014 ($12.99) - The gapes were sourced from two vineyards (Lujan de Cuyo - 3,115 feet above sea level & Uco Valley - 3,600 feet above sea level) and fermented in stainless steel. This is a fruit forward juicy wine with plenty of acidity and lingering tannins. Paired with anther Montedito of smoked tomato, Serrano ham, and guindilla.
Ruca Malen Reserva Malbec 2014 ($18.99) - The grapes sourced from two regions - one providing herbal qualities, the second more fruit character. The wine was aged 12 months in 80% French Oak and 20% American Oak. This is a very smooth wine with concentrated fruit, mild saltiness, a little caramel and vanilla as well as a structured finish. Paired with Fugzza - Alcachofa (grilled artichoke, black olive, orange) and Tradicional (Confit onion, mozzarella, oregano).

Ruca Malen Reserva Petit Verdot 2013 ($18.99) - Grapes grown in a vineyard planted in 2000 located in Agrelo, Lujan de Cuyo. The wine was aged 12 months in 80% French Oak and 20% American Oak. This is a big and complex wine of dark black fruit and more tannic than the Malbec. Pair with juicy meats such as Salchicha (sausage) like Chorizo Gaucho (beef and port sausage) or Morcilla (Blood sausage, raisins, and pine nuts).

Kinien de Don Raul 2011 ($75) - 64% Malbec, 15% Petit Verdot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Syrah. This was the jewel of the seminar, named in honor of Don Raúl de la Mota, one of the founding fathers of winemaking in Argentina. Each varietal wine separately spends 12 months in new oak barrels plus an additional 6 months after assemblage.  This is a big and intense wine, yet elegant and smooth; fruity and spicy. The wine was paired with two Pintxos: Res (Wagyu beef, chimichurri), and Setas (mushrooms).

Ruca Malen Brut Sparkling Wine NV ($27.99)  - 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay from Tupungato, Uco Valley. The still wine spends 18 months on their lees which provides a silky creaminess to the otherwise effervescent wine. Paired with red cake and tres leches.

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