I was thinking about the best ways to do a proper Chilean wine pairing (to further substantiate my previous article), and I realised… I can’t do an authentic version at home. The ingredients in that part of the world are unique to their climate and surroundings, that admittedly, what I attempted to do was not as genuine (no matter how many times I hit it with merkén).
So, instead, let me talk to you about the real deal based from my experience in Morandé.
The store, restaurant, and cellar of Morandé are located in Casablanca, a few minutes drive from the capital, Santiago. It’s an ultra-modern facility, complete with concrete egg barrels. Egg barrels allow for a different mouthfeel with the wine: None of the wooden characteristics from oak barrels, none of the harsh textures from steel vats.
They also have a tienda (store) that I can only describe as a foodie’s dream come true (I was able to take home a bottle of Izzaro EVOO and an apron).
What really struck me about Morandé was their passion for gastronomy. They treated me to a fantastic lunch, a multi-course menu paired with their wines. It was, an epicurean feast: A lively, gentle, perfectly refreshing Morandé Reserva Pinot Grigio for their amuse-bouche, followed by a big, fruity, powerful Morandé Edición Limitada Syrah Cabernet Sauvignon.
The showcase for the afternoon was their icon wine*, the House of Morandé. This breathtaking, robust beauty was in a class of its own: It does not beg to be paired with food, but can fabulously compliment red meat dishes. It’s a perfectly blended Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carignan, Syrah, and Carmenere wine, which harkens memories of lower-midrange Margaux wines.
A dessert rule is to make sure that your wine is sweeter than the dessert, and a wine made using botrytis cinerea is perfect for it.
At the risk of sounding like an answer to my wine exam, botrytis cinerea is a fungus that attacks the grape berry, which would either cause grey rot (bad), or noble rot (good). Noble rot concentrates the sugars of ripe grapes, facilitating the production of the finest sweet wines (thanks, WSET textbook).
Technical, but bottom line is, botrytis dessert wines are gorgeous, succulently sweet, and often pricey.
The Morandé Edición Limitada Golden Harvest dessert wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc, and the wonderful end result of having been subjected to the glorious noble rot is some of the most subtle flavors of apricot, honey, and smoke that went beautifully with the dessert sampler I was given.
The view from my seat during lunch was not bad, either. I would have sat there all afternoon, enjoyed glasses of wine, some conversation (in my broken gringa Spanglish), and the environment.
What are your favorite food and wine pairing discoveries? Salud!
*Icon wines are the most expensive, highest quality wines made in a particular wine house, often using classic grapes