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A glass of Kaiken Malbec and Rustic Italian meatballs! A Perfect Match!
“April 17th not only represents the transformation of Argentina’s wine industry, but it is also the starting point for the development of Malbec as the iconic variety and international flagship of Argentina’s viticulture.”
History of Kaiken Winery
Founded in 2001, KAIKEN Winery is located in Argentina’s most traditional wine-growing area of Mendoza – Vistalba – one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious regions due to its singular terroir. In addition to its enviable diversity of soils, some of the oldest vines are found here, including 80-year-old Cabernet Sauvignon and 101-year-old Malbec vines. With such a heritage, as well as exceptional cellaring capabilities, the choice of Lujan de Cuyo in Vistalba as the location of KAIKEN Winery and main estate vineyard was a natural one.
Italian’s rule in Argentina!
Kaiken Winery produces premium Malbec in sunny Mendoza, Argentina – whose dining culture has been influenced by the country’s Italian heritage. It is estimated up to 24 million Argentines have some degree of Italian descent (up to 60% of the total population), making it the largest ethnic group in the country.
Today, as Chief Winemaker, Aurelio Montes del Campo is determined to continue with the family tradition and further his fathers’ focus on producing the best Argentine Malbec. His father’s influence and passion for the wine industry, led him to focus on cultivating and showcasing the true expression of varieties from dynamic terroirs within and outside of Mendoza in a leaner, more elegant style.
There is a natural pairing between Malbec and meatballs!
The strong Italian culinary influence combined with the supple tannins, underlying lush velvety texture, lusty black fruit flavors and amazing fruit flavors create a bold yet elegant and expressive wine which pair well with a variety of bold and highly flavored and smokey meat dishes, sausages and meatballs.
Kaiken Terroir Series Malbec ($17) From the Uco Valley, it’s alluring floral, blueberry, and blackberry aromas lead to a lush, silky body backed by the structure and freshness of Petit Verdot, ending with a mineral finish provided by the Bonarda grape. Pair with Argentine Chimichurri Meatballs, Lamb meatballs, Danish meatballs made of lamb and pork, or a nice big meatball sandwich.
Kaiken Ultra Malbec ($24)– This serious wine has beautiful aromas of red berries, black cherry and hints of tobacco. Round and velvety with soft tannins, its dark fruit flavors have an added touch of vanilla and toast, followed by a long and smooth finish. Very, very elegant. Pair with chipotle meatballs, classic Italian meatballs, Moroccan meatballs or Wild Boar meatballs and my recipe (below) Fennel-Scented Ricotta Veal, Smokey Bacon and Pork Meatballs which is a rustic Italian combination of beef, pork, veal and a smokey touch of Benton’s Bacon, a superstar local bacon popular with chefs around country, from Madisonville, Tennessee.
- For the meatballs:
- 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
- 4 T whole milk or cream
- 1 cup whole ricotta cheese
- 2 lbs ground pork
- 2 lbs ground veal
- 6 slices of uncooked very smoky bacon, minced ( I use local bacon from Tennessee-it's really smokey!)
- 4 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 t fennel seeds, slightly crushed
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 T parsley, minced
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- For the Tomato Sauce:
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 cans/boxes of Pomi crushed tomatoes or San Marziano tomatoes, whole or crushed
- If tomatoes are whole, crush with hands or use food processor
- 1 cup of rich chicken stock
- ½ can tomato paste
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 t dried marjoram
- 1 T sugar
- S/P to taste
- For the Rainbow Swiss Chard:
- 2 lb Rainbow Swiss Chard, chopped
- ½ chicken stock
- pinch salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In small bowl, combine bread crumbs & milk or cream and soak for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine meat, bacon,ricotta,soaked bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, parsley, fennel
- salt/pepper to taste
- Add eggs and mix with hands thoroughly
- Using a large ice cream scoop 18/8, form the meatballs
- Place meatballs on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with s/p
- Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once
- For the homemade tomato sauce:
- Saute onions in olive oil then add garlic to soften
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken stock
- Add marjoram
- Simmer over medium heat for 45 min to 1 hr until thick and rich.
- Adjust seasonings for flavor
- For the Rainbow Swiss Chard:
- Saute the greens in olive oil,s/p, red pepper flakes until wilted
- Add golden raisins and chicken stock allowing them to braise for a few minutes
- Place cooked meatballs into tomato sauce and warm for about 10 to 15 min
- Add a scoop of sautéed Rainbow Swiss Chard to individual bowls
- Top with 3 or so meatballs per person
- Parmesano Reggiano for passing
- Crusty toasted Italian bread for soaking up every bite!