Last year, around this time, I was sent a case of sweet wines from the Bordeaux region of France for a series of online tastings. The focus by the fine folks at the Sweet Bordeaux has been to resituate the wines from the region, which have long been heralded as wines to be enjoyed after dinner or with dessert.
Given their high levels of acidity, the producers of Sweet Bordeaux argue that the wines should be considered as excellent options as an accompaniment for appetizers, entrées, and even as an apéritif. I became familiar with the approach when I visited Bordeaux a few years ago, coming away convinced of the validity of the contention.
Last month, while trying to make some sense of my pile of samples, I came across those twelve bottles of golden Bordeaux wines and decided the time was now. My idea? Make some of the recipes I have been ‘perfecting’ over the past few years and pair them with what I would normally consider a good option as well as one of the Sweet Bordeaux wines.
(This is now the third week of this “Challenge” with links to the first two weeks at the bottom of the page.)
Today is Tuesday, and for quite some time now in this house, it is Taco Tuesday (both of my sons play, and are fans of, the great game of basketball and once LeBron James proclaims anything, it becomes their gospel):
The boys have allowed, however, other Mexican or Tex-Mex (yes, there is a difference) dishes on the second weekday and today’s challenge features my beef and chorizo enchiladas. When I prepared this last week (with invaluable assistance from my lovely spouse), we were also celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday–and she had specifically requested my enchiladas (so I have that going for me, which is nice).
- Olive oil
- 1 large carrot
- 1-2 stalks celery
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 pound chorizo or spicy Italian sausage
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1-8oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock (if needed)
- Oregano, cumin
- Chili or Cayenne pepper (optional)
- 10-12 Tortillas (corn, flour, or a combination thereof)
- Grated cheese (I use a blend of Montery Jack, Cheddar, Asadero and Queso Quesadilla Cheese–just Cheddar can be a bit greasy)
- Enchilada Sauce
- In a large skillet, sauté the finely diced carrot, celery, and onion in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil for a few minutes.
- Once vegetables start to soften, add in beef and chorizo, breaking up the meat into tiny pieces. Sauté with vegetables until browned.
- Skim off any excess fat and add Oregano, cumin, cayenne (if using), salt, and pepper to taste.
- Stir in tomato sauce along with vegetable stock (if needed). Reduce to simmer.
For the Sauce:
I could list all of the ingredients and steps here, but I would just be taking them verbatim from one of the food blog sites I really like: Cookie & Kate (it’s a vegetarian site, but I usually just add meat, because, well, meat). I have used this recipe a dozen or so times now and the only edit I would make is that it needs a bit more flour to get the thickness that I like.
Usually, as I make the sauce, my wife wraps the enchiladas using either flour or corn tortillas (the boys prefer corn, we like the flour, so we either do half of each or use a combo corn/flour tortilla). There is enough meat to make at least 10-12 enchiladas, which we place in a high-walled, oven-safe pan and then cover with the sauce and then the grated cheese. We then bake for about 30 minutes at 350°F until the cheese has melted and become slightly golden or until the kids are really hungry, whichever comes first.
As for sides, we typically do guacamole, Cole slaw, diced olives, and salsa.
This week I opted for a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon to go up against another wine from Cadillac, one of the major Sauternes satellites in Bordeaux. For a while now, Chilean wines have been seen as great values, but I also firmly believe that there are many fantastic wines, regardless of price, emerging from the slender country wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains.
2018 Viña Maquis Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Retail $20. Big ass bottle. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Carmenère, 1% Petit Verdot. I had made spicy beef enchiladas for my Korean mother-in-law for her birthday (what can I say, she likes my latin cooking!) and I was deciding what to pair across from another Sweet Bordeaux. I opted for this Cab. Quite dark in the glass with an abundance of dark fruit (cassis, plum, blackberry), a healthy dose of earth, a smattering of spice, a brief visit from freshly ground coffee, and just a whiff of herb (oregano?). The palate is quite frankly delicious. Cab is rarely a go-to for me, but this is incredibly well-done. Fruit, spice, earth, verve, all the elements are there. And at under twenty bucks? Holy cow, this is a winner. Excellent. 91 Points.
2016 Château Garbes-Cabanieu Cadillac, Bordeaux, France: Retail $18. 100% Sémillon. Under cork. Responsible bottle. This is my third (fourth?) foray into the world of Sweet Bordeaux wine pairings and even though brief to this point, it has been a ton of fun. Case. In. Point. It was my mother-in-law’s birthday (she will not let me reveal which one) and she requested that I make my famous (at least to me) enchiladas. Done. I also know that she is a lover of sweet wine, hence this lovely Cadillac was a no-brainer. Golden color with oodles of honeyed pineapple and bits of citrus and golden delicious apple bookend this scrumptious nose. The palate is sweet, but far from unctuous with all that fruit that the nose portended, along with a vibrant acidity, a delicious honey aspect, and a lengthy finish. Lovely. Excellent. 91 Points.
While there is a ton of beef, sausage, and cheese in this dish, there is also spice, which led me to believe that the Sweet Bordeaux would perform well in this pairing, and it did. Don’t be fooled, the Chilean Cabernet put up a fantastic fight, but in the end, sweet and spicy won out.
The Standings (thus far):
Sweet Bordeaux: 2
The Drunken Cyclist: 1