Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines from Argentina make for versatile pairings with an assortment of bites inspired by the country's cuisine.
Disclosure: The wines featured in this post were provided as samples for my review. All opinions are my own.
Ever since the one and only, Lionel Messi, came to Miami to play for Major League Soccer, there is just something in the American air with a newfound appreciation for all things Argentina.
In addition, to gifting the world with tango dancing, the greatest soccer player of all time, and the most addictive cookies filled with dulce de leche called alfajores, they make quite a bit of world renowned wine as well.
While soccer is becoming ever more popular in the US, Argentinian wine has already made a splash with its juicy Malbecs and very affordable prices.
Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world, has vineyards at the highest elevation, and has been cultivating grapes since the mid-1500s.
One of those early wineries is Trapiche, founded in 1883. With over 1,000 hectares of vineyards from the Andes Mountains to the coast, they were one of first in the country to introduce French grape varietals, use French oak barrels, and produce micro-terroir wines.
Unanime, on the other hand, is a newer winery in Argentina from the last 20 years that has quickly established itself as a high end Argentinian wine in the US. With vineyards located in Mendoza, they make Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay in addition to Malbec.
Trapiche Oak Cask Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay; 13.5% ABV; 50% stainless steel tanks and 50% malolactic fermentation
The grapes for these wines are manually harvested from vineyards high above Mendoza's River, more than 3000 feet above sea level.
The winery recommends pairing this with white meats, pasta with white sauce, asparagus or fresh cheese.
With an aroma of fuzzy fruits - peaches, kiwi, guava - this wine had a nice balance between creamy and zippy. With medium acidity and medium body, it could work well for hot summer days or chilly, dark days when you feel like a little pickup of Argentinan sunshine.
Unanime Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% ABV; 15 months aged in New French oak barrels; aged in bottle for 12 months
Vineyards: La Consulta, San Carlos, Uco Valley
The grapes for this wine are hand harvested and destemmed. That and the Andean sun just makes this so juicy, rich, and melt in your mouth. It almost had a smoky scent and wafted a trail of fresh baked summer berry pie.
I paired these wines with some small bites inspired by some classic Argentinian dishes.
- NY Strip Steak with homemade chimichurri sauce
- Porcini and Pecorino Ravioli
- Choripan Crostini - chorizo, baguette, salsa criolla
- Buffalo Mozzarella Melts - oregano, basil
- Quinoa, pumpkin, black bean chili
- Pinto Bean stacked enchilada
- Baby kale and sweet potato salad
Unanime Cabernet Sauvignon - It has been hot minute since I've had Cab, and I had almost forgotten how good it is. It surprised me with this pairing because it kind of went with all the food without clashing.
Because the wine wasn't overly oaked and was a little more soft and approachable than gigantic cabs, it took to the punchy chimichurri sauce and didn't overpower the vegetables in the chili.
I liked it best with the melted mozzarella cheese.
Trapiche Chardonnay - This wine sang along with the acidity in the fresh chimichurri sauce and salsa criolla. You can chardonnay with steak and chorizo sausage, especially if there is a punchy sauce to help white wine out.
I liked this wine most with the mushroom ravioli. You know how it is - creamy filling and cheese with a softly oaked chardonnay makes for a classic pairing.
The Last Drop
Miracles can happen. Messi came to play in the USA. He unfortunately won't play forever, but we'll have plenty of Argentinian wine to soak up our sorrows when he leaves.
Learn more about Argentinian Wines
To read more about the wines from Trapiche and Unanime, check out these posts from the World Wine Travel Writers.
Camilla at Culinary Cam shares "From Soil and Sea to Sky: Miso-Glazed Squash and Salmon with Trapiche Medalla Chardonnay"
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares "Celebrating Day of the Souls with Carbonada en Zapallo and Trapiche Cabernet Sauvignon"
Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares "Savoring Argentine Red Wines From Trapiche and Unànime with Roasted Mushroom Risotto
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares "Not Just Malbec: Argentina’s Trapiche Cab Blend and Syrah Paired with Burgers 2 Ways"