Malbec and Chili: Some Like It Hot

Most of the United States is blanketed in cold temperatures and Dallas is no exception. I realize what is cold in Dallas is not cold to many people in the northern US; however, daily highs barely above freezing and nighttime lows in the teens is cold for us. Thankfully, even in our coldest of days we often have lots of sunshine. In addition to the cold, another difficult aspect of January is the post-holiday recovery. Our wallets are very thin and our waistlines are very full! On the bright side January is ushered in as a month of great football. Our New Year kicked off with two very important college football events: the Wisconsin Badgers (my husband’s alma mater) beating the Auburn Tigers in the Outback Bowl and The Ohio State University (my daughter’s university) beating University of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl; thus securing a spot in the national championship versus the Oregon Ducks! (As a proud member of the Longhorn Nation our return to football glory is taking a bit of time.) So for a day of football watching we needed a good meal for a cold winter’s day and of course some good wine; thankfully I had received a media sample from the kind people at Gallo Wines of a wine that I thought would be perfect!

Gascon Malbec

Gascon Malbec2Gascón Malbec 2013: This wine poured a beautiful deep maroon with purple highlights into the glass and opened with lively aromas of black and blue fruit, spice and mocha. On the palate this silky wine brought a great concentration of blackberries, black plums, black cherries and blueberries along with spice box, dark chocolate, and a touch of espresso and scorched earth. It offered a full mouth feel of acidity with ripe tannins; leaving a lingering dryness with a silky feel on the palate. This wine contained 13.8% alcohol. This wine was aged in oak for seven months.

Gascon dinner chili

I paired this lovely wine with homemade chili. As a Texan I NEVER put beans in my chili! I found a recipe on Pinterest that worked for me as a general guide then I made my own adaptations: instead of making chili powder I used store bought chili, ancho chili and chipotle chili powders; I substituted diced pancetta for the bacon; used 93% lean ground beef instead of cubed chuck; used roasted powdered cumin instead of roasting and crushing the seeds; subbed crushed tomatoes for pureed tomatoes; added 12 ounces of Shiner Bock beer for the water; and omitted the ancho chilis completely. The recipe was good but more work than I felt was necessary to make good Texas chili. My husband and I ate our chili on top of a sweet potato; the teens ate their chili on top of oven baked French fries; both were delicious! A good Texas chili (and this one turned out very well) has a kick on the back of the palate; therefore, a good wine pairing must be able to tame the heat. The Gascón Malbec was a perfect pairing for the chili! The roundness of the wine along with its great concentration of dark fruit met beautifully with the chili on the palate. Additionally, the acidity of the wine helped calm the spice of the chili while the spice in the wine added depth to the spice in the chili. It was a truly winning combination and perfect on a cold winter’s night! Finally, chili is a wallet friendly meal because other than the beef the items are inexpensive, easy to find and the recipe makes enough for a couple of meals. Moreover, with an average retail price of $12 the Gascón Malbec is full of flavor but light on your wallet! I recommend this wine! It is widely available, most likely at a wine retailer in your neighborhood; click here to locate this wine.

Gascon dinner chili2

From the Don Miguel Gascón web site:

Gascon logoWe’ve been growing Malbec and transforming it into wine since 1884, when our founder, Don Miguel Gascón, opened our winery in Mendoza, Argentina. Today, we still grow our Malbec in the shadow of the Andes Mountains, where vivid sunlight, alluvial soils and pure mountain snowmelt give us grapes with brilliant color and intense flavor. Argentina is home to more than half a million acres of vines across seven major regions. At the center of it all is Mendoza. Home to our winery since 1884, Mendoza sits at the base of the Andes Mountains, 600 miles west of Buenos Aires. Some of the vineyards here soar to 5,000 feet above sea level, creating the perfect combination of sunlight, elevation and soil to produce extraordinary Malbec grapes. Since Malbec first took root in Mendoza, the grape and the region have been inextricably linked, yielding some of the world’s most renowned wines.

Gascon Argentina

What happens in the bottle is no accident. Those vibrant blackberry flavors. That perfectly integrated hint of oak. The long, enticing finish. The Malbec grape is brought to life by Winemaker Matias Ciciani, who draws inspiration from more than a century of winemaking tradition. Matías Ciciani has made wine in Spain and throughout South America, and is excited to be back home in Mendoza. Born just one block away from the winery, Matías says he has always felt a special connection with Bodegas Escorihuela Gascón and is thrilled to be the head winemaker.

gascon winemaker

The Gascón web site is a great resource for wine, food and the great culture of Argentina. The images are vivid and beautiful and the information is very educational. I encourage you to visit their web site to learn more about Gascón, view their entire portfolio of wines, food and the beautiful people, culture and scenery of Argentina.

My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with Gascón Malbec 2013 is Some Like It Hot by Power Station. This song is smooth, silky and sexy; a perfect pairing for a spicy chili and a full body, silky Malbec.

Get your own bottle of  Gascón Malbec 2013 and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!

13 comments

  1. Ahh Michelle, what a great post. I am a Longhorn alma mater and Native Texan, as well as an Oregon Duck’s fan to honor my “new” heritage! Yes, the Longhorns will take some time now. Since I’ve lived in Oregon for over 20 years, I DO add beans to my chili now to satisfy my PNW neighbors and friends. The Duck’s loss was theirs to lose, I might add, the Buckeyes played a great game. Another aside, I went to high school in Ohio (don’t tell anyone) so it was some interesting college football kinetics for me. (p.s. the Malbec sounds so good to me! I might just have to teeter over to the “dark side” one day to see if I can taste some of these reds and see if I have any ill effects.)

  2. Ah the Taylor boys….going to have that song in my head all day! I am a yankee so i rebel against TX tradition and always do beans. I love chili and it always differs depending on mood but its always easy and yummy on our few cold nights. Malbec sounds like a great match.

    • You are so funny. When I was in high school I loved Duran Duran for a bit. I never saw them in concert but I did see Power Station; close enough for me! Not only do I not put beans in my chili I won’t eat chili with beans in it; mostly because I am not a big bean eater anyway. Either way it pairs well with Malbec. Cheers!

      • I was crazy about them in 83-86ish? Knew every teen beat fact. Finally saw them about 10 yrs ago here at the bass concert hall. They all had do much makeup on it was crazy!

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