Friday, August 9, 2019

Bright Red Rosé from El Capitan de Finca Adelma with Bright Seafood

Pink or orange are the common colors of Rosés. When you see a bright red Malbec Rosé, you get to wonder how this Rosé would taste...especially when it’s made out of a grape that is famous for its strength, complexity and tannin. Don’t be fooled by the charming color, the El Capitan Malbec Rosé is a weighty, a bit oaky, a bit buttery, medium-bodied Rosé that can be best paired with seafood of big flavor!
First, let’s find out what method is used to make this Rosé. According to Luis Manino, the importer of this wine, this Rosé is made using the limited skin maceration method. This method is by far the most popular method of making Rosé. The process is essentially leaving the skin of red grapes in the juice that’s crushed from the grapes to produce the color. For this Rosé, the skins are left to soak only for four to six hours, yielding the powerful and rich red hue that uniquely distinguishes El Capitan Malbec Rosé from its peers. After the limited skin maceration, the juice is then racked, or drawn off from the skins, and the Rosé-tinted wine begins its fermentation.

Mendoza Argentina-Credit: Wine Folly
Another important fact about the El Capitan Malbec Rosé is that it is coming from Mendoza Province, Argentina's most important wine region. This region accounts for nearly two-thirds of the country's entire wine production. Located in the eastern foothills of the Andes, in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, the vineyards are situated at some of the highest altitudes in the world, with the average site located 2,000–3,600 ft above sea level. Located in the far western plain of Argentina, Mendoza has a continental climate and semi-arid desert conditions. The region experiences four distinct seasons with no extremes in temperatures which provides for a relatively consistent annual growth cycle for grapevines. The soil of the Mendoza wine region is primarily alluvial that’s loose sand over clay. Mountain rivers provide ample water supplies from melted glaciers in the Andes.
While Rosé in the US seems to be targeting on women due to its attractive colors and lighter palate, the El Capitan Malbec Rosé’s richer mouthfeel, oaky and buttery notes equally impress men. The name “Malbec” Rosé on the bottle itself already draws attention and curiosity of a lot of Malbec lovers. No doubt about it, this Rosé is medium-bodied and structured which plays out really well with seafood that’s cooked with stronger spices and bold taste.   
Crawfish becomes a very popular seafood all over the world in recent years due to its great taste at a reasonable price point. Countries like China and Norway are fond of this little critter. Crawfish cooks really fast and can be cooked well in so many different ways like stir-frying, boiling and grilling. The flavors you can add to crawfish has no limit. My personal favorite is to stir-fry crawfish in chili powder, red pepper flake…however spicy you want it to be. El Capitan Malbec Rosé is a super accompaniment to spicy crawfish. It’s chilled, it tames. It’s substantial enough so you can still taste the wine while eating the spicy seafood!
Stir-frying shelled shrimp has its big advantage as the shell has a lot of flavors and usually shelled shrimp preserves the integrity of the shrimp taste. What we have here is the crushed skin-on garlic and chili shrimp that’s finger-licking good. The main technique here is to fry up the garlic in the hot oil first to release the garlic aroma fully before tossing in the shrimp. The chili is entirely optional. As long as the shrimp is not cooked in heavy cream or greasy curry, Rosé in general can handle shrimp really well. Of course, El Captain Malbec Rosé has this structure that can handle big favor like this garlic infused shrimp.
I like to BBQ shellfish on the grill in the summer as nothing can beat the charcoal flavors. Also, while waiting for the meat to cook, tossing some seafood on the grill can get your guests some appetizers in no time. These gigantic clams were from Sandy Hook New Jersey. They are typically cut up and used for clam chowder. But for me, I love grilling it and eat it straight – tasting the freshness and ocean salt from this seafood. These big clams are a bit chewy but have this unbeatable clam taste and abundant clam juice.

Drinking Rosé is a summer routine but not so routine is to sip this exceptional Rosé with seafood feast cooked in Asian style!

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pan-fried Chinese Potstickers #WinePW

Almost ten years ago, a New Zealand (NZ) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc got me hooked on wines…the fragrance of passion fruit and elderflower, the elegant balance between sweet notes of tropical fruit like papaya and citrus notes. All these right elements from the Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc were spot-on in terms of comparing the foods I loved to eat at the time. Although my taste towards wines swifts from whites to reds since then, white wines do play a comeback to me lately as my diet has become simplier and lighter. Thanks to Lori from Exploring the Wine Glass who has partnered with NZ Wine to provide some amazing NZ wine samples to the #WinePW bloggers, we can explore these wines with diverse food pairings. I received the 2018 Huia Sauvignon Blanc as a sample and was very impressed with how this wine does wonder with a casual daily Chinese meal – pan-fried potstickers!
NZ Wine Regions - Credit:
Marlborough is NZ’s most important wine region in terms of history and high production volume and simply puts NZ on the international wine stage with its exquisite Sauvignon Blanc since 1980s. Situated at the northeastern tip of NZ, this dry and sunny region, complemented with moderate but drastic day-to-day temperature variations, is home to over 500 growers and produces around three-quarters of all NZ wines. Relieved from the extreme rain and wind, the eastern coastal area embraces cooling sea breezes and protective mountains. However, the long Indian summers occasionally create drought but also offer opportunities for a wide range of grapes (e.g., Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Albarino) to flourish in this type of climate.  
Sauvignon Blanc From Marlborough - Credit:
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc remains the bread and butter performer for the industry. Many wineries from outside the region try to own or lease vineyards, or buy grapes or wine, so they can offer their own Sauvignon Blanc and strengthen their portfolio. Huia Vineyards is a proud founding member of the MANA Winegrowers collective that consists of organic farmers, who live, work and play in Marlborough and are united by a commitment to making great wines, sharing knowledge and safeguarding the land. Huia sources its Sauvignon Blanc from their two estate vineyards. Huia vineyard, which has the stony, sandy loam soils, offers a tropical fruit profile while the clay-based soils of the Winsome vineyard provide the herbaceous notes, lime, and minerality to the wine. The grapes are pressed with the vineyards kept in separate vessels. A percentage of the juice undergoes natural fermentation in a mixture of neutral to new French oak, which adds further richness and complexity to the wine. 
At Huia Vineyards, no pesticides, insecticides or herbicides
are used. Artificial additives are eliminated from the winemaking process. Biodynamic growing is integrated into the vineyard’s organic program, which encourages the free grazing of livestock, growing of botanicals, and effective use of composting. The sustainability of the land and surrounding ecosystem are supported and respected.
The Huia Sauvignon Blanc exhibits bright floral notes of elderflower and lime zest on the nose. The wine is layered with flavors like melon, gooseberry, herbal, and lime zest. It has a tad of oak which enhances rather than masks the natural flavor of this wine. The minerality of the wine adds complexity and weight to the wine that enables it to pair well with pan-fried Chinese potstickers (dumplings).
While potstickers that have seafood fillings would be an obvious choice to pair this white, I see the meatier kinds like the beef/vegetable and chicken/vegetable potstickers we have here are equally charming with this wine. The beef potstickers have intense succulent meat taste that is rich and juicy, interacting very well with the oak and minerality notes of the wine. The lime zest flavor of the wine is undoubtedly enhancing the chicken potstickers, making them light and clean. When I go for a quick summer meal plus a refreshing chilled Sauvignon Blanc, nothing is easier than these delicious dumplings that are quick to make and are substantial as a real meal.  
Unless it is wontons (dumplings that are cooked in soup), I always pan-fry dumplings using a very simple method that guarantees success in taste and presentation.
Wontons to be Cooked in Soup
In a hot cast iron frying pan, drizzle some oil and heat it to a smoking point. Line up the potstickers in the pan and cook them on high heat for 5 minutes, so the bottom of the potstickers forms a crispy crust. Add ¼ - ½ cup of water to the pan, turn the heat to medium and put the lid on the pan. After 10 minutes or until the liquid is fully evaporated, turn off the heat and let the potstickers sit in the pan for 5 minutes. The potstickers should come off from the pan easily.
For full disclosure, I rarely make potstickers from scratch. The frozen section of most grocery stores, from Asian ones where you can get the more special dumplings to mainstream super markets like Shoprite and Costco, does offer a lot of high-quality potstickers. Look for the ones that are made in USA to assure food safety. With the many styles and kinds of dumplings to choose from, these Chinese dumplings are easy and delicious daily meals that everyone should include in their food group. Adding a versatile NZ Sauvignon Blanc like Huia to your meal, a simple meal becomes a happy meal!

Disclosure: The wine in this post is a sample. The ideas are my own.
Check out other #WinePW bloggers's NZ wine pairings:
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be making Hāngī in a Dutch Oven + Gimblett Gravels Malbec 2017
  • Linda of My Full Wine Glass will be posting New NZ wine, old Sicilian dish (#WinePW)
  • Jane of Always Ravenous will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Paired with Fresh Flavors of Late Summer
  • Cindy of Grape Experiences will show how to Beat the Heat with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint
  • Gwen at Wine Predator will be pairing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Zesty Arugula Kale Pesto Pizza and Salad #WinePW
  • Jennifer of Vino Travels Italy demonstrates Seeing the Potential of North Canterbury, NZ at Mt. Beautiful Winery
  • David of Cooking Chat will be pairing Tomato Caprese Salad with Pesto and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Pinny of Chinese Food and Wine Pairings will be serving New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Pan-fried Chinese Potstickers
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm will be Discovering New Zealand Wines
  • Sandra of Wine Thoughts will be taking A Tropical Staycation with Spy Valley E Block
  • Cynthia and Pierre of Traveling Wine Profs will be sipping New Zealand Chardonnay with a view of... The Pyrenees #WinePW
  • Rupal the Syrah Queen will be drinking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with Grilled Mediterranean Swordfish
  • Nicole at Somms Table will be sharing Memories of New Zealand's South Island with Waipapa Bay Wines.
  • Lori of Exploring the Wine Glass, is thankful that Humans May Only Be 5%, But They Make Great Wine #WinePW