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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wine Review: Graffigna Malbec and Pinot Grigio

As a food blogger, every now and then I get offered free stuff to try, for the purpose of reviewing on my blog. Sometimes I accept, sometimes I don't. I figure as long as the focus stays on pizza, and I provide full disclosure, I may as well get some sort of remuneration for doing this blog, which on the whole is a drain on my wallet.
And if the product has some relationship to pizza, so much the better. So I gratefully accepted a couple of bottles of wine recently from Argentina's Graffigna winery.
Graffigna's 2011 Pinot Grigio is light in color and body, with a slight, palate-cleansing acidity that is balanced by a bit of fruitiness. For pizza, I'd pair this with a white, garlicky pizza or maybe a seafood pizza.
The 2010 Malbec was more full bodied, with a deep red color, and hints of berries and pepper. This wine has won awards at several international competitions, and I can see why. It's complex, yet well balanced. This would be the one to pair with a red pizza, particularly one with a lot of meat toppings. I'd also recommend it for a deep-dish or other thick-crust pie.
Graffigna wines retail for around $10-$13, making them a good value for wine of this quality. Check the South American section of your local wine shop.
Along with the offer, Graffigna provided me with two recipes that they recommend for dishes to pair with these wines. I haven't tried them yet, but I do have occasion to eat venison and rabbit once in a while, so I'm adding these to my recipe collection. I imagine you could substitute beef for the venison, and chicken (preferably leg or thigh meat) for the rabbit.

Venison Stew with Cinnamon & Wine (Serves 4)

By Edgar Navarrete, Affaire Bistro & Lounge, NYC


1 lb. venison meat diced for stew (leg)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 celery root, peeled and diced
3/4 cup flour
1 bottle of red wine (Graffigna Malbec)
2 quarts beef broth (canned)
5 cinnamon sticks
2 sprigs fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. tomato paste
salt and pepper


Heat up a large braising pan. Season the meat with half of the olive oil (1/4 cup), salt and pepper.
Heat the rest of the olive oil (1/4 cup) in the braising pan and cook the venison for about three minutes on each side. Remove from pan.
Put the vegetables in the pan and sauté for about three minutes, season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables begin to soften, add the venison and mix. Sprinkle flour on top and continue mixing.
Once the flour is cooked (when you can no longer see it) add the wine, beef broth, cinnamon sticks, parsley and thyme, and bring it to a boil. Add sugar and tomato paste, and stir until incorporated. Cover with aluminum foil and reduce heat to a simmer (very slow boil).
Cook for one hour adding water if needed. Once the meat is tender, it is ready to serve.

Rabbit Frisée Salad with Poached Egg & Sherry Vinaigrette (Serves 2)

By Edgar Navarrete, Affaire Bistro & Lounge, NYC


2 whole rabbit legs, boiled and shredded
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tbsp. minced chives
1 head frisée lettuce
1 tbsp. sherry vinegar salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 quart water
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 slices of toasted French bread


In a saucepan heat the water and white vinegar until it reaches a temperature of 160° and poach the two eggs.

In a separate sauté pan, heat up the olive oil. Before it starts boiling, add the shallots, chives, and shredded rabbit meat, then lower the heat and sauté for one minute.
Place the frisée lettuce in a mixing bowl. Add the sherry vinegar to the sauté pan. Immediately turn it off when it reaches a boil and mix it with the lettuce carefully. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the two slices of bread in the pan, keeping it off while you finish setting up the salad. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with the poached egg on top and the sliced bread on the side.

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