Good Times, Good Timing, Good Wine, Good Friends

I’ve been known to say, “Planning leads to expectations, and expectations are the harbinger of disappointment.” My apologies for repeating myself. I tried my best to manage my expectations last night after work. But looking at the evening as planned, I couldn’t help losing touch with my philosophy. Dinner at my best friend’s house is always a good thing. In addition to dinner, there was a reason to celebrate, a cellar full of wine, guitars and basses, and a 7:00 AM Chelsea match on TV this morning. Yes, I needed the sleepover kit.
One of my favorite things about being in the wine world is discovering new flavors and sensations. It was a great thing for us at TWH when importer Bobby Kacher began to import wines from Argentina. We now have two producers from this illustrious country, and the wines all sing. Something very new for us is the addition of Torrontes to the lineup of wines from producer Inacayal. Being a fan of spicy Asian cuisine, I was more than anxious to try what was presented to me as a great pairing wine for exactly that kind of food. It passed with flying colors! Yesterday, we had a sample bottle open for some wholesale accounts, and when the remainder was up for grabs after work, I made it my first choice. Funny thing was I had dinner plans, and they weren’t for spicy Asian fare. How was this going to work out? I wondered.

Dinner plans involved red Bordeaux, that’s all I knew. What it was going to be, I didn’t. It did not take much thought to realize there would red meat along side the Claret. My best friend was treating me, yet again (Big tip of the cap here!), in celebration, after I told him that I would be tasting the 2009 vintage from barrel next month. We took a walk down into the cellar and started pulling bottles. After several pulls, he had a bottle of 1990 Cos d’Estounel in his hands and said, “How ’bout this?” Sometimes I have bad days, sometimes I have good days, sometimes I have really good days. My eyes popped at the sight of the trophy bottle, and back up the stairs we went. I’ve been in the habit of breaking corks lately, so I was real careful with this one, and POP, no breakage. A small pour in each of our glasses and wow, there’s nothing like … wait a second. What about the Torrontes?? Wait for it.

So we’re hanging in the kitchen. (Isn’t that where EVERYONE hangs out?) The components for the meal are now being revealed. New York steaks (who knew?), asparagus … a look around for the famous bachelor/musician potatoes found nothing. Crab cakes was the call. I know the source, and I remember their recipe is a little on the spicy side. With my nose buried in a big glass full of 1990 Cos, Torrontes was the furthest thing from my mind. As everything miraculously prepared itself (I guess it just seemed like that), we sat at the table. Oh yeah, there was chicken salad too. As I spooned some of that on my plate, I grabbed a crabcake and then it hit me! I’ll be right back. I ran out to the car, grabbed the sample bottle, and now we were set. My buddy was impressed that I could just dial in a perfect pairing on the fly like that, and I was just as amazed that the perfect opportunity for the Torrontes to shine presented itself.

The wine sang. Its delightful bouquet of floral, blossomy aromas harmonized brilliantly with the fleshy stone fruit profile, and this cut right through the spice of the crabcakes, and made for a brilliant pairing. The chicken salad had an Asian spiced dressing, so as you would imagine, it sang with that too! He then asked me how much it cost. 25? 30? Nope. Try 14. Really? Yep. Case.

I won’t go out on a limb and say it was better than 1990 Cos d’Estournel and a New York steak, but for pairing purposes, our first course was more interesting, that’s for sure. The rest of the night included some tasty jamming and much hilarity. I caught some Z’s on the couch, woke up to the sound of my buddy cheering and watched my beloved Chelsea Blues open up a four point lead atop the English Premiership table!

It’s funny. You just never know. I have no idea what compelled me to grab that bottle of Torrontes. I’m literally shaking my head typing this. That’s the great thing about being in the wine world. It pays to be lucky, and timing is everything, and a stitch in time … nevermind. Sometimes, I just need to keep quiet and smile. Cheers! – Peter Zavialoff

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Torrontes, Argentine wines, Bordeaux, Music, Footy, or whatever else you may have on your mind:

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Filed under Argentina, Peter Zavialoff, Spicy food

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