Spicy pairings

access_time 2019 · 07 · 29

If you like to cook with herbs and spices, I have some advice for you to achieve some divine pairings.

1- Several times we talked that one of the best aromas in wine is what we describe as a “home pantry”. Mmm, when we open the door of the cabinet we can feel the scents like basil or min; other spicy such as merquén; sweets, like cinnamon and vanilla; or perfumed, like ginger. And when it comes to wine pairing, the first step is to smell both: the dish with its herbs and/or spices, and then the wine, always looking for a synergy.

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For example, if your dish contains a lot of fresh parsley, opt for Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc. Sometimes the coastal areas give a touch of fresh herbs that the Sauvignon Blanc catches and makes its own.

If you use sage and/or herbal blend of Provence, think of Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir. This strain of Burgundy, called the dancer among the red varieties for its slender and elegant body, develops a bouquet with aromas from sage or marjoram to anise. Everything depends on where it is planted.

And if you incorporate sweet paprika powder, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Carmenere. The paprika aroma molecule is present in this strain so emblematic for Chile. Depending on the area, harvest time and work of the vine grower, these notes range from green paprika, red sweet paprika, red dry ground paprika to spicy red paprika.

2- But be careful. Finding complementary aromas in wine is just part of the task. The second step is to take the plate into account. Always think about the method of preparation: in the pan, baked, fried or perhaps raw. For example, beef in a pot with herbs such as rosemary and thyme goes very well with Trio Merlot; but for a piece of beef on the grill, seasoned with the same mixture of herbs, I recommend Trio Cabernet Sauvignon.

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3- Another key aspect is the type of protein. Take, for example, a well-loved herb in Chilean cuisine: cumin. If you prepare a chicken with cumin and marjoram sauce, choose Casillero del Diablo Viognier, but if you opt for a more fatty and structured duck look towards the side of Casillero del Diablo Shiraz.

4- Finally we have to remember about a harmony that provokes a touch of heaven in the mouth. Remember, especially, about this aspect when you opt for a dish with spicy spices such as ginger or cayenne pepper. To have a pleasant sensation in the mouth, we can mitigate the spicy notes with semi-dry, semi-sweet or sweet wines, that is, that contain some degree of residual sugar. That’s why for Thai or Indian food we not only look for complementary aromas in strains like Gewürztraminer or Riesling, but also a slightly sweet wine style.

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I present some pairings for the most used herbs and spices:

  • Merquén: when using this Mapuche spice (mixture of smoked cacho de cabra chili pepper and ground coriander seeds) for fish or white meat, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Rose, and with red meats, Casillero del Diablo Carmenere.
  • Curry: if you prepare chicken curry, I recommend Marqués de Casa Concha Rose, but if you cook a lamb seasoned with curry, I ask you to try it with Marqués de Casa Concha Syrah.
  • Wasabi: this Japanese horseradish really goes to the roof of the head. Never serve it with red wine because it will cause a fire in your mouths. If you like sushi with Pinot Noir better forget the wasabi; but, if the wasabi is the star of the oriental night, serve the fresh and bright Marqués de Casa Concha Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Thyme: with white meats or fish, Trio Chardonnay goes very well, while for a boeuf bourguignon I recommend Trio Merlot.
  • Oregano: is the star of Italian cuisine. If you use it for a tomato and meat ragout, naturally look at Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon; if you prepare a margarita pizza, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Merlot; and if you season with this herb a white sauce for a delicious al dente pasta, I recommend Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay.

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