By Oscar Adrián Montes Iga, Certified Executive Chef of Wine Arts; Wine Writer, Texas Wine & Trail
The Texas Two Taste column is a periodical editorial with intent to discover eateries around Texas where one can uncork and enjoy wines made across the Lone Star State, bringing wine & food pairings closer to you, two tastes at a time.
Lamb may not come to all Texan’s mind immediately when dinning out – a cowboy’s rib eye, or a porterhouse, even some BBQ ribs tend to take the center stage. However, an inspired dish pairing can inspire you to try new things. This may be the case if you came in to Málaga Tapas & Bar, located on 2nd Street District Downtown Austin and try to fuse Spanish fare with Texas wine.
Málaga boasts a wine list with around 100 labels of exclusively regional Spanish wines hand selected for the food compatibility, but, if you’re a not a shy diner and ask for sommelier assistance and engage in good conversation, you may be told that amongst the 100 Spanish wines, cava and sherry, there’s a Texas Tempranillo, seeking to quench your Texas thirst.
Málaga seeks to wrap your dining experience in a pure Spanish setting with food and wine, but would also like to support Texas producers with traditional Spanish varietals, and what better way than with Inwood Estates Vineyard, Texas “Cornelius” Tempranillo, 2008, which is currently the only Texas wine served in this Spanish Tapas heaven, and with limited availability. Dan Gatlin, Winemaker of Inwood Estates has been a Tempranillo pioneer and a hallmark of fine Texas wine made with suitable grape varietals for the state.
And Tempranillo? Well, as they do in Spain…The Inwood “Cornelius” shows an earthy quality on the nose, with plenty of sour cherry and cranberry, also displaying a well-developed bouquet of mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, leather, and accents of coffee, cedar and toast with a hint of dry rose petals.
For this beautiful sample of Texas wine the recommended tapa is the Cordero Cácereño; a rosemary and Spanish paprika marinated lamb loin dish inspired by the town and province of Cáceres, in southwest Spain, where some of their main agricultural products include Lamb and Rosemary. The lamb loin medallions are served with a yogurt based curry aioli and a side of warm pita bread.
The Cordero Cácereño is tender, and the paprika and rosemary seasoning is well integrated, so no spice is overpowering. The curry aioli brings a little extra zing and a touch of sweetness to the dish, and over all, the wine complements the humble, earthy seasoning and the rich savory lamb, balancing the meal with every bite. Tannins in the wine are playful, and the acid persistent. This pairing is so enjoyable that you might forget there are other tapas on the table to try!
Join us next time for more on Texas wine & food pairings – two tastes at a time in Texas Two Taste!
Oscar Adrián Montes Iga, MC; ECWA; CSW; CBS Oscar is the contributing author of the Texas Two Taste column, and wine writer for Texas Wine & Trail Magazine.
Oscar was recognized as a Magna Cum Laude after graduating with a specialization in Nutrition, Diet & Health Science. He attended college and finished degrees in Travel & Tourism, Meeting & Events Planning, Food & Beverage and Hospitality Management; He has worked in three distinct Texas Hill Country wineries, and has been an essential staff component in wine festivals, seminars and conferences throughout the state involved with major community organizations such are The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, the Texas Hill Country Wineries Association, the Texas Wine & Food Consortium, the American Wine Society, and additionally, Oscar is now a Panel Wine Judge for the Texas Wine Journal. Oscar is a Certified Executive Chef of Wine Arts and was awarded a Master Candidate title with the International Wine Guild, and was granted Specialist of Wine Certification through the Society of Wine Educators.
To sum up Oscar, he is a dedicated Texas Scholar, grape hunter and oenophile, foodie and avid ambassador for hospitality, and he takes great joy in sharing his passions with others.