If you read our bios page you will find out that half of the Peru Delight’s team (ie. my mother) is not only a professional chef, but also a wine expert. She spent many months studying vines, grapes, wines, and everything inbetween, and tasting and pairing them with food. After graduation from the course, she founded the Peruvian Wine Society, a group of fun, like-minded people, (including Jorge Tali, who wrote a great post for us about Peruvian wines a while back), who have become a close-knit community, and they get together at least once a month to try a new bottle, and talk about wine, food, life, and love.
That being said, we don’t write much about wines in this blog. There’s no particular reason for this, other than perhaps the fact that we are even more obsessed with food than we are with wine, and that passion doesn’t leave room for much else most of the time.
However, a couple weeks ago we were approached by Gallo Family Vineyards, to write a sponsored post on the occasion of the 2nd annual #MoscatoDay. This seemed like the ideal opportunity to focus more on something that some consider essential to the whole culinary experience, which is pairing the food. If you know the tiniest bit about wines, you will know that you can really make or break a dish depending on what you pair it with. If you choose wisely, the flavors and aromas of whatever is on your plate can be enhanced beyond your imagination.
To write this post, we received 3 bottles of the California family-owned Gallo Family Moscato wines. A white, a red, and a rose. We were eager to try all 3 of them, but had to delay gratification to put them in the fridge for several hours and make sure they were spot-on cold when tasting them. When the wait was finally over, we got the glasses out, and the feast began.
The first one we tried was the sweet -with the taste of honey and peaches-, and slightly acidic white Moscato. This light-bodied wine was silky in the mouth, and had a citrus/sweet aroma, which we found would go great with a lot of our Peruvian sweet and sour dishes of Chinese influence (a.k.a. Chifa). The classic Tallarin Saltado was our entree of choice to pair with this wine, together with other not too spicy, and slightly sweet chicken options, such as Estofado de Pollo. A wine like this would also go well with a Pichuberry and Quinoa Salad because it is fruity and light. Because of its sweetness, this Moscato is also ideal to accompany desserts. Our fresh and naturally sweet fig terrine is our favorite choice for this. As a rule of thumb, when you pair a dessert with wine, the wine always has to be sweeter than the dessert, or otherwise it will be overpowered. Keep that in mind when you do your own pairings.
The second Moscato we tried was the medium-bodied red, with sweet citrus, peach, and bright red berry flavors. Less sweet, warmer, and more earthy than the first, we decided it would be a great complement for sturdier chicken dishes with a sweet aftertaste, such as our Asian-influeced pollo al sillao and the succulent pollo saltado. Light meat dishes such as caiguas rellenas or arroz tapado, would also be enhanced by this wine because the raisins in the filling add a light sweet note that goes well with it.
The third and last wine was a fizzy, crisp rose. We loved the lightness of its aroma and taste, with hints of fresh red berries and orange blossoms, and a very distinct peachy flavor. Its high sugar content, resulting in a velvety texture, makes it the perfect dessert wine, and so we would definitely pair it with our peach bread pudding, or our creamy apple cake. Other great options would be the turkey with pichuberries we made for Thanksgiving, our vegetarian arroz chaufa, and our quinoa, bacon and pistachio pilaf.
Peruvian food is so complex and intensely flavored with spices, herbs, and fresh ingredients, that it’s not the easiest gastronomy to pair with wine. However, it is possible to find great accompaniments to a lot of our dishes in the wine world, by choosing contrasting or complementing flavors that don’t overpower, but enhance one another. We hope you try and enjoy these pairings as much as we enjoyed putting them together, and if you want to join the fun and keep celebrating #MoscatoDay with us, join us tonight at 9pm ET for a twitter party hosted by @GalloFamily, using the hashtag #gno. See you there!