Concha y Toro

Ania Smolec 10/04/2015

Merlot, the chameleon variety

This Bordeaux variety in Chile gives medium bodied wines. It is known for being a companion for a wide selection of local and international recipes.

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Merlot is one of most cultivated red grape varieties over the world. This Bordeaux variety in Chile achieves a fine personality, gives medium bodied wines. It is known for being a companion for a wide selection of local and international recipes.

This variety has its roots in France. According to several genetic studies its parents are Cabernet Franc and an old French variety known as Magdaleine Noire des Charentes. Merlot is successfully grown especially on the right bank of the river Gironde, in appellations as St. Emillion and Pomerol. It is also a well known in Italy, a good example of an Italian Merlot is the coast of Tuscany. Merlot is called “chameleon variety” by winemakers, because it responds with a different character depending on cold or warm climate.

The Merlot strain arrived in Chile from France in the nineteen century. Today it has been cultivated in several regions of the country, from the north to the south and from the mountains to the coast. You can find some excellent Chilean Merlot made hundred percent of this grape variety as Marques de Casa Concha Merlot, although you can also taste the blend of various strains based on Merlot like Trio Merlot. In this case Merlot provides to the blend a good balance and fruity notes; Carmenere gives the hints of sweet spices and silkness; and Shiraz incorporates a complexity and mouth filling sensation.

Merlot has a high potential to accumulate sugar, so that is why winemakers prefer to cultivate it in cool climates to obtain a balanced, medium bodied wines, with round tannins. Marques de Casa Concha Merlot comes from Peumo vineyard in the Cachapoal Valley. Here the climate is marked by the Cachapoal River and Lake Rapel contributing to a sub humid Mediterranean climate. The soils here are of deep clay loam type with alluvial base with an average growth potential. These factors decide that Marques de Casa Concha Merlot is a wine of great quality, marked acidity, silky tannins and a potential of aging for 10-15 years.

Maridaje Merlot-02

A classic Merlot develops notes of red fruits such as raspberry, strawberry, cherry, plum, and tobacco, coffee, chocolate, and spices and herbs. Marques de Casa Concha combines those classic notes with the hints provoked by the terroir as wild fruits, currants coffee beans. It has an intense, elegant, medium bodied, profound and with some characteristic herbal notes. This Merlot has a round tannins and perfect balance. With the aging develops a fine complexity and silky character.

Due to the structure of Marques de Casa Concha Merlot, its tannins present but at the same time with a well marked acidity, is ideal for dishes with meat protein and also with vegetable protein such as beans or mushrooms. Being a red wine it has a natural predisposition to be paired with a red meat: duck, pork and beef. When you use any more powerful cooking method as roasting, don’t hesitate in matching this wine with some white meats like roast turkey. The aromas of Merlot and the presence of a touch of herbs like thyme and oregano let you serve it with recipes based on tomato sauces in an Italian style like spaghetti Bolognese, linguine napolitana or vegetarian lasagna.

We want to present you the idea for a rich dish, easy to do and that will enhance the flavors of Marques de Casa Concha Merlot: Cannelloni stuffed with meat and mushrooms. We assure you that this dish will make an excellent pairing with this wine.

Cannelloni stuffed with meat and mushrooms

Ingredients for 4 persons

Canelones

  • 8 cannelloni cooked al dente
  • 400 g ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/ 2 cup onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 100 g mushrooms chopped
  • ¼ cup dry mushrooms soaked in warm water for 1 hour, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Herbs: 2 bay leafs, 1 tea spoon  oregano and pinch of thyme
  • 800 g canned tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated to sprinkle

Preparation

  1. In a frying pan heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until soft.
  2. Add the meat. Cook about 3 minutes. Add carrots and dry mushrooms pour the wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Cook few minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and herbs. Reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook for 15 minutes more. Correct the taste with salt and pepper. The ready filling to remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare the white sauce. Over moderate heat warm the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the milk and beat thoroughly. Return to the heat and cook until lightly thick. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and also set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven at a high temperature. Fill the cannelloni with the beef, mushrooms and tomatoes filling. Butter and ovenproof dish. Put the stuffed cannelloni and pour over the white sauce. If it stays a little bit sauce spread it also on the top and sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until hot. Remove from the oven, discard the aluminum foil and bake again until slightly golden, Remove from the oven and serve immediately with delicious glass of Merlot.