Familia Zuccardi (Mendoza, Argentina) Pairing Dinner.

Dinner on the 21st March 2012 was again at Terry’s 2º Piso (yes, I know I eat there often, but what of it?), this time a dinner featuring the Familia Zuccardi’s wines from Mendoza, Argentina. Aside from two Argentinian diplomats, in attendance was Zuccardi Regional Export Manager, Germán Pungitore.

L-R: Argentinian Embassy Minister Jaime Goldaracena, Zuccardi Regional Export Manager Germán Pungitore, Ambassador of Argentina H.E. Joaquin Daniel-Otero, JC & Mari de Terry, and Catha.

The evening kicked off with an endless stream of refreshingly chilled Carolina de Masachs Brut Nature Cava. This a most approachable and dangerously drinkable cava, fresh and light enough to drink all day and into the night. Inexpensive too. Good for our long, hot summers.

Kuppa Roastery & Café partner Kerwin Lo elaborates on the finer points of coffee with Catha and J-Lab.

Jaime Goldaracena and Mari de Terry

With the seemingly endless stream of lively cava, we enjoyed the following pass-arounds:

Salmón de Noruega sobre Mousse de Hueva de Cangrejo. Delicious.

Chefs-turned-foodarazzis JC and Rommel Hinlo take their shots.

Cecina de León sobre Ratatouille

Albóndigas de Langostino en Tinta de Calamar y Salsa Ají. Excellent.

Espárrago de Calahorra sobre Crema Caliente de Manchego. Fantastic.

JC delivers the opening remarks…

…with everyone listening intently…

…then turns the floor over for the ambassador’s address.

Germán then introduced us to Familia Zuccardi, its history, and wine-making philosophy. For details, see the producer’s website:

The dishes and pairing wines.

The first salvo was, per JC (and confirmed by Jaime), the very typical Argentinian dish of Empanadilla Mendocina Rociada con Chimichurri. Jaime explained that this dish is normally eaten by hand, so I naturally gave it a shot - I have absolutely no problems eating by hand. This was paired with…

2011 Zuccardi “Q” Chardonnay - Quite nice actually. I remember it having notes of acacia flowers, slight honey and French oak-vanilla in its dominant leesy, buttery, baked apple and pear. Slightly low on acid, notably rounded mouthfeel. Good enough focus and balance. At a mere P950/bottle at Terry’s, it’s probably the best chardonnay I’ve tasted in the below-P1K/bottle range. We continued with this to pair with the…

Bisque de Mejillón y Alcachofas al Aroma de Pomelo y Chardonnay. A lovely dish and a bold pairing by JC, in that, to my and J-Lab’s minds, pomelo is usually a palate killer for wine. JC balanced it out brilliantly however, the smattering of pomelo pulp bits blending into the chardonnay’s finish and bringing out trailing citrus notes from the wine. ¡Olé!

Next was Láminas de Pulpo sobre Arroz Cremoso de Pimientos Rojos paired with 2010 Zuccardi “Serie A” Malbec. The wine was a bit tight and surly, not giving out much. It must still have been suffering from jetlag as, I understand, it was flown in just a week earlier, and, consequently, may have still been suffering from jetlag. Judgment reserved - I’d have to taste this again to be fair. Loved the red capsicum flavors of the arroz cremoso though.

With the following dish of Ragout de Pato Confitado Bañado con Crema de Malbec were served two more reds, namely,…

…2010 Zuccardi “Q” Malbec and 2008 Zuccardi Zeta. The 2010 “Q” Malbec was my favorite of the evening’s reds. Pretty intense and bold, but definitely in balance. Nice spiciness too. At a mere P950/bottle, I’d say go for it with substantial, rustic dishes.

The 2008 Zeta is a viscous, hefty, super-ripe, candied-fruited bully-boy composed of malbec, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo. Laced with mocha and evident oak-related notes, it is definitely of a modern cut. Should please those who prefer this style of wine. With some air, though, its focus improves.

Germán elaborates on the three reds.

Kerwin, J-Lab, Rommel, Mari & Germán.

Dessert was a Dúo de Helado de Caramelo y dátiles y Crepe rellena de Dulce de Leche rociada con Jarabe de Tempranillo Zuccardi. As always during JC’s dinners, though I was already very full, I easily finished this off.

By then, JC finally took a well-deserved break from the kitchen to join us at table…

…regaling us with enchanting tales of culinary history and evolution.

We lingered on over these eye-catching Mischievous Candied Fruits, and, thereafter, some cups of coffee and shots of espresso. It was yet another lovely evening at Terry’s. Again, yes, I do eat here very often, but, really, can I fairly be blamed? Until the next!