One of the most fun parts of being a wine lover is playing around with pairings. And the “Carmenere Cowboys” from TerraNoble winery were in NYC recently to do just that – with the lively culinary offerings of Citizens at Manhattan West to choose from. The enjoyable evening was eye-opening with regards to the pairing possibilities of Chilean wine.
The winery’s name, TerraNoble, refers to the Maule Valley’s fine
soils that can produce great wines. The winery has vineyards across the
Casablanca, Colchagua, and Maule Valleys of Chile. The winery’s guiding
philosophy is one of minimum intervention. Winemaker Marcelo Garcia’s practices
reflect that, favoring aging in more neutral containers such as large format
foudres or concrete eggs.
Our evening began with TerraNoble Grand Reserve Carmenere 2018 served with spicy tuna crispy rice. The spicy kick to the tuna tartare made this a delicious match to the wine’s notes of cranberry, herbs, and white pepper.
Next was some hard Parmigiano Romano paired with Grand
Reserve Carignan 2018. This wine was a surprise to me, as I’m not sure if I’ve
had Carignan from Chile before. The nose was lovely with floral notes of
violets and rose. On the palate there were bold cherry and hints of dark
chocolate with bright acidity. A wine I will keep an eye out for. The salty,
fatty cheese was well suited to the wine’s fresh acidity.
Our third course paired crisped pork gyoza with the Grand
Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018. The wine
had aromas of dried cherries and eucalyptus. On the palate, there was cranberry
and a hint of balsamic and black pepper. The wine’s spicy notes and integrated
tannins complemented the fatty pork of the gyoza well.
Our fourth course was quite a showstopper – Flintstone-size sticky ribs. The ribs were gorgeous by themselves, but when paired with the TerraNoble CA2 2018, the course took on a new dimension. CA2 is Carmenere sourced from a cooler region with a maritime influence. It has some green pepper dimensions to the nose and palate, and that herbaceous quality was terrific with the fatty, sweet ribs – like another spice added to the plate.
The dessert course was a surprise – an enormous salted
truffle cookie that was rich with deep cocoa flavor. The generous sprinkling of
salt on top and the fact that the cookies weren’t very sweet made them an unexpectedly
good pairing with TerraNoble CA1 2018. Also a Carmenere, this wine is grown in
warmer foothills of the Andes and therefore had more concentration of deep
cherry flavors that complemented the chocolate well.
A final bonus wine wrapped up the evening nicely – Lahuen.
This Bordeaux-style blend includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Cabernet
Franc and Malbec. It was an elegant wine
with fresh blackberry, cherry and hints of rose with well-integrated tannins.
The "cowboys" from TerraNoble were charming hosts to us and
led the tasting with warm hospitality. The evening truly demonstrated that Chilean
wines are wonderfully versatile – and that the wines of TerraNoble are
particularly fun to pair.