8 January, 2018
Alamos and Gascón Malbec Lunch at PerbaccoComments : 1 Posted in : Dining in San Francisco - CA, Malbec, Red Wine, Restaurants, Torrontes, White Wine, Wine on by : The Gourmez
By some feat of great fortune, during the only two weeks I was home last fall, I squeezed in a lunch with representatives of Alamos and Gascón wineries at Perbacco in San Francisco. Of course, their wines were there, too. 😉 And delicious food, all free to me by the hospitality of my hosts. It was my first time at Perbacco, and I enjoyed discovering their bold Italian flavors.
My hosts included winemaker Matías Ciciani of Don Miguel Gascón winery and Tatiana Nessier, the brand ambassador for Alamos wines. Both wineries are based in Mendoza, Chile, where they focus on high-quality malbec wines, whether varietal wines or table wines.
While I had the Alamos Torrontes 2016 at this dinner, I was delighted to look back in my archives and find one of my first ever torrontes reviews was for Alamos, a 2009 vintage that I drank in 2010. I gave it my highest marks then, and I’m delighted to share my opinion remains the same. Fantastic is how I rated its kiwi, Bartlett pear, white flower, brown simple syrup, and cinnamon notes this time, all balanced with bold lime acidity. It paired well with the mushroom and parmesan risotto bites Perbacco served for an appetizer.
The parmesan was especially delightful in those flavor bursts. But it was only the first first course. A salumi misti plate came next, with three varieties of salami—the fennel was especially tasty. The prosciutto provided a pleasing vinegar tang.
The 2016 Alamos Malbec had the mouthfeel and taste of blueberry with licorice and oak done with a strong enough hand to make itself known (3/5). It was bright in contrast to the 2015 Gascón Malbec, which I found to have woody elements of bamboo and an herbal profile of marjoram, green bell pepper, and green peppercorns. Tart cherry filled out the glass (3.5/5). Both wines are affordable and—very important—widely available.
For the second course, we moved on to the select lines of malbec from these producers, though select translates to pricing in the $20 range—no bank breaking here. I could definitely tell we’d taken a step up in terms of quality, though the earlier wines were enjoyable.
The Alamos 2015 Selección Malbec was softer by contrast, with an elegant potpourri nose and a smooth blend of violet, cherry, plum, and oak (4/5). It enveloped my flat-iron steak, while the Gascón complemented every bite.
Perbacco’s flatiron steak over an arugula panzanella is a great argument for always serving steak over salad! The roasted red and yellow peppers tasted sweet as cherries and the capers provided an essential flavor pop. I’m always game for chimichurri on top of…everything, on top of everything.
The meal finished with an impressive dessert of hazelnut brown butter cake, peaches, and vanilla cream with brown sugar crunchies.
The cream was more like meringue in texture and glossiness. I savored each bite of it with the warm, gushing cake, even as our hosts had to hurry off to another engagement! But not before I got a sip of—
Oops, that wine’s name is embargoed. 😉 I greatly enjoyed Tatiana and Matías’s company, and that of my fellow wine media peers, and the public relations contingents from Calhoun & Company and E. & J. Gallo, under whose portfolio Alamos and Gascón fall. A pleasure to make all your acquaintances, and a pleasure to be reunited with the wines of Mendoza.
This media dinner took place 2 October 2017.