Pairing spice with wine: Chimichurri rub

Mark Hughes Drinks, General, Ideas, Rubs

GUEST POST from Simon Wright: Pairing Spice with wine!

ChimichurriPairing spice with wine for our Chimichurri is the sixth in a series of guest posts by Simon Wright. Simon has worked in the wine trade for 5 years and has recently passed the WSET’s Diploma in Wine and Spirits. After meeting him at a food festival, he wanted to come up with pairings for our spice to give people a better understanding of how different spices work well with wines and craft beers. You can find out more about all-things-wine on his blog & we hope you enjoy experimenting with his suggestions as much as we do!

A note on our Chimichurri: this works perfectly as a rub, but the classic way to use this is to make it up as a sauce. Mix a teaspoon or two with a 2:1 ratio of cold-pressed oil and red wine vinegar, before leaving to infuse for a few hours or overnight. Then, drizzle on cooked meat in the same way you would drizzle mint sauce on lamb. We can’t tell you how good this is – do try it the next time you have lamb, steak or beef and you’ll never want to use mint sauce or horseradish again!

Chimichurri Rub

Chimichurri Wine Pairing“This particular blend of flavours is a firm South American favourite so to match it I simply have to go with a grape variety that is synonymous with that part of the world. In a word, Malbec. It hasn’t always been this way though; for centuries the village of Cahors in south west France was renowned for its ‘black wine’, an inky liquid borne primarily of the Malbec grape. In recent years however it has proved itself hugely adept at ripening to perfection under the rays of the Argentinean sun, and most people nowadays associate it with there more than France.

The herbs and spices used in the rub marry perfectly with hearty red meat dishes, particularly beef. Malbec does well to match the robust flavours and textures of steak dishes because it gives full bodied and concentrated wines. I would crudely classify examples from Argentina and Chile as falling into the more shouty, powerful, juicy fruit camp. These wines definitely have their place and they would work really well with the smoky, rich & intense Chimichurri dressing.

My personal pick however would be one of the south western French Malbecs; Cahors in particular. These wines tend to have a bit less alcohol so work a bit better with food, they can also have more complex flavours like pepper and herbs which complement this rub fantastically.

As always, let me know what you think of this match, and share any pairings you put together.

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See you next time!