Empanadas, especially those with animal protein filling, seem to call red wine. It’s one of those natural combinations that don’t arouse any concerns or even generate controversy, but did you know there is a perfect wine for empanadas?
Argentina is known for its Malbec, a variety of wine originally from France, which has taken the country of Borges and Cortazar as its adoptive and favorite home. From the far north in the border with Bolivia to Patagonia, the Malbec allows for the production of diverse and exquisite red wines. Maybe because of this, the rest of the varieties of wine in Argentina live under the shadow of their older sister, this is precisely the case of the Torrontes.
While it is also grown in other regions, it’s in the north, in Cafayate, where the truly unique varieties come from. Its floral aromas, which go from margaritas to jasmines, and bone fruit marmalade, as well as its volume in the mouth (it is said that it is greasy because it has the density of oil when you taste it), and its relatively low acidity push it away from those very citric flavors and aromas we are used to with sauvignon blanc grapes.
Salta and Cafayate are lands of empanadas and cheeses, and even though both can be served with Malbec or Tannats (another stellar wine of the region), they insist on serving them with Torrontes, and you can understand why when you taste it.
The fruits and the flowers of the Torrontes play subtly with the spiced of the meat in the empanada and the smokiness of the cheeses, while its volume and mild acidity cleanses the palate and prepares you for the next bite. It can also nuance the spice of some sauces and it leaves the red wines for the main courses.
When we talk about pairings and harmonies, aside from some theory (and common sense, sometimes), one must also consider experience: in the end, our palate will tell us what works and what doesn’t, as well as what we like. That’s why the next time you enjoy an empanada, give white Torrontes a chance and give in to that regional combination of the north of Argentina.