Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lamb–And the Answer is 2009 Don Miguel Gascón Malbec

Plated Lamb-1
And the wine I (hastily) chose for the Rosemary, Thyme and Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb was the 2009 Don Miguel Gascón Malbec from Mendoza Argentina.  If you are confused, follow the link back to the first in this two-part post.  The first article discusses the food and challenged you to pick a wine.  Several of you left comments or sent me a note with your choices.  Each were very good choices – one of which was a Cotes du Rhone that I think would have been spectacular.  However, my choice was this Malbec, and I am now here to defend my choice.
Don Miguel Gascón produces only Malbec.  From year to year, this wine is a consistent great value at a mere $10 (+/-) and frequently is rated between 85 and 90.  But being a good value is not sufficient reason to pair this with Chef Sue’s wonderful boneless leg of lamb (and supporting cast).  I chose this Malbec because I couldn’t think of anything else at the moment of the acidity it brings to balance the sweet mint jelly and the full fruit notes blended with the game flavors of the lamb.  Along with the acidity, this Malbec adds some fine tannins and flavors of blackberry, plum and a nose that includes a dusty earthiness.  The earthiness in the nose was a nice compliment to the gamey lamb…I could almost smell the field where our little lamb once frolicked…until we ate it.  Finally, the adequately long finish of this wine brings hints of cocoa – another nice match for both the lamb and the mint jelly.
I have to admit that the mint jelly was key to making this pairing work.  Chef Sue, Steve the Golf Buddy, and I all tried portions of the lamb with and without the mint jelly.  Our panel agreed that the combination of young tannins and acidity were too much for the lamb alone.  The mint jelly was a key component to creating a balance.
2009 Gascon Malbec
If you have not spent much time exploring Malbecs, I encourage you to do so.  There are some great flavors and great values.  And just in case you had not noticed, the Malbecs are one of the hottest things going now…Merlot was kicked aside by the Pinot Noirs, and now the Pinot is feeling the pressure of the the spirited Malbec.  On the other hand, I could care less about trends.  I drink what I like, and you should too!
In vino veritas, in victus sanitas

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