Utilizing her famous recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” Julia Child led the way to my first beef bourguignon. When her recipe called for a young red wine, I paused. Knowing that many would just toss in some wine they would never drink, I preferred to use wine that would enhance the recipe’s flavor. Alamos 2010 Seleccion Malbec ($20) was uncorked and poured into the mix to soak and cook the dish to perfection. I finished the rest of the wine with the dish that took me hours to labor over in the kitchen, but worth it once the tastes collided in pleasure on my palate.
From the Mendoza wine growing region in Argentina, Alamos has turned out some great vintages. This 2010 Seleccion Malbec was no exception. The wine’s appearance is a young ruby red that even smells young – you can definitely get a sense of the grape. It’s got nice acidity and mild tannin structure with a short finish. It was perfect to complement a beef bourguignon.
On a separate occasion on a cold winter’s Sunday, I decided to test my skills in the kitchen yet again, but this time making crispy duck, following a recipe I found online. Four hours of laboring in the kitchen turned out to be well worth the trouble – it was the best duck I’d ever tasted. The coating of honey and molasses was the best decision, and with this dish I made mushrooms and truffles with foie gras (from the innards of this duck) and topped it over egg-dipped and sautéed bread with grilled green beans, fresh from the winter farm coop to which I belong. After all this work, the occasion called for a nice bottle of wine. I selected the deep ruby red Alamos 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ($13). Aromas of toasted spices and ripened red fruits dominated before a taste of black cherry silk confirmed this was the best selection to go with my duck. This is a wine with layers of character that make it well worth drinking now, even though it is a 2011.