Reason #159 of why I love Houston…the food scene here is on a whole other level! Bertha (my inner fat kid) would gladly co-sign that check. She has definitely lost her EVER-LOVIN’-FOODIE-MIND a time or two over the past three years. I mean who wouldn’t when your city is home to its very own international buffet?!?
And although, I’m she’s down with the F-O-O-D, I (yes I, not her) love how Houston’s wine scene is also becoming a reflection of the melting pot of cultures that make up this amazing city!
Exhibit A….Sunday, I visited Andes Café, a fairly new Columbian/Peruvian restaurant in EaDo (aka East Downtown). Initially, I was just stopping by to discuss Houston blog domination with @bawseladyp, but ended up staying (literally four hours) for the wine! This trip helped open my eyes to a whole new world of South American wines.
Okay, I have to get this out…but I think I have a crush on South American wine! Like that school girl crush that Kimmy Gibbler had on Uncle Jesse. It’s for real ‘too legit to sip!’ There’s just something about South American wine that is uber sexy and makes me feel giddy inside (hmm…sound familiar? lol) It’s crazy because after our tasting last weekend, I just want to learn every and anything about South America. I mean… What’s your best (wine) region? Most popular vintages? I’m sayin’ how can I be down?!
South America has been making wine since the 1500’s. It actually has a longer wine history than anywhere else in the New World. In the mid-1500’s, Jesuit missionaries brought viticulture to Chile and soon spread to Argentina. Today, the South American wine industry is booming! Argentina is fifth in the world’s wine production and Chile is nine, just ahead of Portugal. Also, a quick nerd fact, the café is named after the Andes Mountain, which is located along the entire western coast of South America and is the longest mountain range in the world!
Thanks to Andes Café, I had the pleasure of tasting the following four wines:
Doña Isadora Sauvignon Blanc (Chile, 2013)
Now you know I love Sauvignon Blanc, especially from Marlborough, New Zealand. But after drinking this Chilean SB, I think I have a new fav! Dona Isadora SB is a very dainty wine. Everything from its aroma to taste is very soft and soothing. The aromas are subtle as well. I got hints of peach and apple. This SB feels very light on your tongue and the acidity was not overpowering, but just right. It paired well with my Pescado a la Lata (baked salmon). After the first sip, I felt warm and fuzzy inside :)
Dona Isadora Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile, 2012)
Bang, Bang! The Dona Isadora Cabernet Sauvignon came out with guns blazing! This wine is EV-ERY-THING! Just thinking about it makes me happy. The aromas were filled with dark berries and cherries. This cab is light-bodied and extremely refreshing. I found this red to also be fruit forward, but had a light tang on the backend. The contrast of the sweet and tanginess reminded me of the infamous sour patch kids, but in reverse. This cab starts off with a hint of sweetness and then hits you with a little twang at the end. But, as crazy as it sounds, it works! I just want to run the through the Andes Mountains like oh girl from the Sound of Music did in the Swiss Alps and proclaim my love for this wine!
Tacama Tannat/Petit Verdot (Peru, 2012)
So, Tannat and Petit Verdot varietals are new to me. For background, Tannat is a red wine grape, historically grown in South West France in the Madiran AOC, and is now one of the most prominent grapes in Uruguay, where it is considered the “national grape.” Petit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape, principally used in classic Bordeaux blends. Both are now grown in South America. Tacama is 58 percent Tannat and 42 percent Petit Verdot. The bouquet of the wine was very beautiful. I just love the smell of black cherries. This red was a little earthy with hints of black pepper. Like a true red, this Tacama had very powerful tannins. Despite the punch you get from these unique flavors, I found it to be very smooth.
Finca La Florencia Malbec (Argentina, 2014)
Before Sunday, I was not a fan of Malbec! But, after trying this Argentinian Malbec, I am now a believer! There’s only one real word to describe this wine and it’s BOSS!! Warning this Malbec is for mature audiences only…lol. It’s definitely not sweet and it’s not as fruit forward as the Chilean Cab. The tannins were definitely poppin’, but you get this nice wave of smokiness. I’m telling you there’s something gangsta about this one! It’s very rugged with a hint of femininity that lingers with each sip. After drinking this Malbec, I just wanted to smoke a cigar and get my smooth criminal on!
Seeee!!! You don’t have to leave Houston to get an international taste of wine. I LOVED the South American wine selection at Andes Café. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their wines! Until next time…