So, there I am at my favorite wine store, talking to my favorite wine guy. He has a new wine for me to try. He shows me the bottle. ”Um, wait,” I say. “You know I am not a fan of Malbec, and this is Malbec. What are you trying to pull here?” And he says, “stop being so stuck up.” Ouch! Okay, fine I think to myself.
I end up taking home Zorzal’s EGGO Tinto de Tiza 2016 – 100% Malbec – and I turn to deciding what to eat with it. I know what you are thinking: food first, wine second. Not in my world. I pick the wine, then determine what to eat. Or so I like to think. In truth, my laziness and lack of groceries typically makes the decision.
In this case, I decide on burgers. I use a mix of husband provided elk and white tail deer and some store-bought ground pork and beef for fat. All I need are the brioche buns and some fresh tomato, lettuce and cheddar cheese. Now that I have decided what to eat, I turn to the wine. I’m expecting pencil shavings and jammy black fruit, too much alcohol, and too much extract. Did I say I’m not a fan of Malbec?
While I am preparing the patties, I pour myself a glass of the offending wine. On my first sniff I am pleasantly surprised that the fruit is fresh and black, not jammy and over-ripe, and that there is a hint of purple flowers. I am smiling! This is not usual for me and Malbec.
When I taste the wine, I get intense ripe black fruits and wet cement. Crisp and fresh, the acidity is brisk and well balanced by the rich, dense fruit and silky tannins. No jam. No oak. What in the world! I really do not notice the alcohol, which at 14% abv is not unusual for Argentinian Malbec. But the fact that the fruit is on display with no interference from oak is quite unique. Well, darn it Ryan you were right!
Now the true test: will the wine accept my food? The answer is mixed. The burger has some gamey notes and a medley of flavors and textures. There’s the zingy Sweet Baby Ray barbeque sauce; fresh tomato for extra acidity; the lettuce for texture; and a rich, buttery brioche bun (which I do, of course, butter before grilling). Oh, and yes, cheddar cheese, mustard, ketchup, and mayo are all on the burger, too. Greasy, gooey, and kinda chewy – I love burgers. This wine has no difficulty standing up to the burger. The dense black fruit, bright acidity and the tannin all play their roles; equal volume, refreshing the palate of both fat and protein. Well done Malbec, well done.
Burger on my plate, some pickles on the side, and a deep purple wine in my glass. A good day after all.
2016 Zorzal EGGO Tinto de Tiza – $35