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End of Winter: Wines and Stews

The days are getting longer and the groundhog may have predicted an early spring, but let’s face it, winter isn’t over until it’s really over. If you’re itching to make one more one-pot meal for your family and friends, now is the time to do it. Go ahead, pull out your biggest Le Creuset or cast iron Dutch oven and cook up a chili, guisado, or stew that will keep them singing your praises until primavera has really sprung.   

To get started, first, think about what your family really likes. Do they love a savory Ropa Vieja, or are you more of a Guisado family? Visit your local butcher and ask her to recommend a nice cut of meat that can simmer for hours. Well-marbled beef short ribs are one of our personal favorites, as in this Red Bean, Chorizo, and Short Rib Stew. Ask your butcher to cut through the bones to make individual sized portions that are easy to prepare and serve. Loin of pork works well too—make sure you buy a nice juicy cut and have kitchen twine on hand to tie up the loin after you’ve stuffed it with garlic and your favorite spices. If you’re making a bean based casserole, use only dry beans—they hold up better to hours of simmering—and don’t forget to rinse and soak them overnight before using.

Whatever you decided to  make, remember: the secret to preparing a delectable braised dish is using adequate amounts of liquid. We always use a combination of beef or vegetable stock and wine, lots of wine, and sometimes even more wine than stock. Make sure to use good quality wine, if you wouldn’t drink it in a glass, you shouldn’t cook with it either. Don’t misunderstand us, we’re not saying that you should go out and buy a world class French Bordeaux or a Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero to cook with, but we are suggesting you buy a $6 or $8 dollar bottle of wine that your abuela would be proud to serve at a family picnic. 

Some of our favorite wines to pair with hearty one-pot meals come from the southern hemisphere. They’re big, fruity, and bold, and they hold up to the spice and flavors of Latina based cuisine. Argentine Malbecs are one of our go-to wines for slow simmered fare.


Right now, we’re drinking Alta Vista Terroir Selection Malbec, it has flavors of fruitas negra confitada, fresh red raspberry, and ripe red plum. It has great mouthfeel, a bit of heft on the palate, and leaves a nice warm feeling in the back of your throat after each sip.


Bodega Salentein Numina Malbec-Merlot blend is another one of our favorites, it’s got rich flavors of ripe red fruits and a touch of spice on the finish. There's also Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec, a delicious wine that offers a lot of calidad for poco dinero. 


If you choose to prepare a delicately spiced dish, pick a Pinot Noir. Bodegas Chacra Barda from Patagonia has lots of ripe red cherry and raspberry flavors and just a touch of black pepper and brown spice to make a perfect pairing. Bodega del Desierto Pinot Noir has a well-balanced amount of spice, flavors of ripe red cherries, and a pleasant splash of acidity on the finish. 


Chile is known for well-crafted wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere grapes, either as separate varietals or an artful blend of both. Look for bottlings from Emiliana and Errazuriz. While there’s still a bit of chill in the air, we’re really enjoying the last few bottles of Emiliana Coyam and Errazuriz Estate Reserva Carmenere from our cellar. 


Recuerda, spring, is right around the corner, so why not take the time to warm up your house with a one-pot meal con sabor and warm the hearts and souls of your family and friends with a few tasty bottles of hearty red wine. 


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