Wednesday, March 08, 2006

February’s Food and Wine Recommendation

Can it be that we have been here three full months? I doesn’t seem like it, and yet here I am writing my second installment of monthly wine and food highlights. The month of February was filled with Janalee working, Mia starting school and me battling hormigas and the pileta (swimming pool) – somehow we still found a way to taste some amazing wine and food.

This month’s food highlight is what is know here as an Asado. We have now hosted four Asado’s, each featuring a wealth of wonderful food. Interestingly I have found a way not to cook at any of these events and still I have had plenty to eat. Michael has become the unofficial Asador (fancy name for cook) at our house. Mia and I have two favorites at these events: Chorizo (an amazing type of sausage - not like the American or Mexican chorizo we have tasted) and Lomo de Cerdo (pork loin). The meat is cooked for 2 hours over a wood fire and is amazingly tender. Mia has been known to battle for her chorizo if she doesn’t get an adequate supply and I am happy to say that the Lomo de Cerdo usually arrives at the end of the meal when the poor planners among us have eaten their fill – leaving plenty for Mia and I. I have added a photo of Michael working the Asado (with phone attached to ear).

This month’s wine is Carmelo Patti’s Gran Assemblage 2002. Carmelo Patti is something of a legend here in Mendoza and has built his reputation on being the master of fine wines in the area. The Gran Assemblage is his masterpiece. It is a blend of his other wines and is as smooth as any wine you will ever have – the taste of fruit jumps out at you and the finish is amazing. Carmelo ages his wine for a year in the tank and another year (at a minimum) in the barrel before it goes to bottle – to say he is a perfectionist is to underestimate his work.

I am not the only person who finds his work amazing – I found the following on the web about Carmelo and his wine – I don’t know who wrote this, but I added a link to their site so that you can read the full article.

“As we tasted the wine from his winery, Carmelo was excited to talk about his production as if it was one of his children. He described its birth and the cares he had had to take as it grew up, always alert to every detail. Already in the casks, we tasted a riper wine and its incredible assemblage, a blend of four varieties, which awakens amazing sensations as it is sampled. It is hard to describe. When I met Carmelo, my vision about wineries changed completely. I understood that there is something irreplaceable beyond technology to make a good wine: the art and the love transmitted by a good enologist.” Here is the link .

Why am I diverging from my usual (as if one month creates a trend) naming of a restaurant in Mendoza? Because we have had a series of great meals in our own home and last week was typical of that event (if smaller). Last week we hosted 7 people, drank wines from the business’ “Reserve Room” and talked about life in Mendoza and the future of the wine business here. It was a fun evening (it is hard not to have fun drinking $200 bottles of wine and eating steak slow cooked over a wood fire) and reminded me that we came here was to reconnect to old friends, make new ones and experience the world in an entirely new way. The dinner last week accomplished all of that – I guess we can come home now (yeah right -- I believe it is still winter in DC -- I am not planning on seeing snow or temperatures below 50 anytime soon).

Happy Trails!

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