Can We Please Eat Outside Now?
It is summertime and we cannot wait to fire up the grill and cook outdoors! Wine and barbeque often mean beef with cabernet, though when the weather is warm, we love lighter options and often turn to Spanish parrillas (grills) for inspiration.
The menu for a parrillada, or barbeque, will vary throughout each region of Spain, using a selection of local veggies, seafood and meats that always pair exceptionally well with the local wine styles. To help kick off grilling season, we have chosen a few of our favorite parrilla recipes to pair with your favorite Artesa wines.
The northwest Atlantic coast of Spain is home to the AlbariÃ±o grape, as well as an astonishing variety of seafood. Summertime here means whole fish on the grill â and most famously, fresh sardines, which are nothing like the tinned version and phenomenally delicious, though difficult to find in the US. Weâve chosen a recipe that works beautifully with any firm, whole fish, such as red snapper, sea bass, branzino, or sole. The most important thing is to choose a local fish, as fresh as possible. A fresh fish should have bright eyes (not cloudy), shiny scales and a fresh smell. Youâll rarely see fish fillets in a Spanish market, because it is impossible to see if they are fresh. Donât be afraid to cook a whole fish! It is easier than you think, and incredibly delicious. Accompanied by a classic salad of greens, boiled potatoes, and sweet onions with paprika and plenty of good olive oil, there is no better pairing with the Artesa AlbariÃ±o!
Mind you, if the freshest fish in your area is salmon, tuna or trout, those will be better suited served with a Pinot Noir. Tuna is popular all over Spain, and in the southern region of Andalucia they serve a fresh and delicious dish of barely grilled fish with salmorejo, a savory version of gazpacho topped with bits of Spanish ham that is earthy yet refreshing, and
pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir.
A parrillada in Catalonia has a distinctly Mediterranean flavor. A warm, summer evening by the sea is captured perfectly in a dish called escalivada; smoky grilled eggplant, red pepper, onion and tomato, peeled and tossed with olive oil, salt and a little sherry vinegar. Served this with grilled shrimp and a cold glass of Artesa
Rosado, and you can almost feel the sand between your toes.
In the wine regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, wood burning parrillas and slow-cooked lamb are a year-round specialty, offering smoky and earthy flavors that are the perfect match for a robust and aged Tempranillo. Here in California, delicately mild lamb loin chops and fresh asparagus on the grill are ideal for the lush, velvety Artesa Tempranillo. An overnight marinade of garlic and herbs is followed by just ten minutes of grilling to create a fine-dining worthy dinner in your own backyard.
Finally, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge our primos in Argentina, where the parrillada is dedicated to perfectly grilled beef. The highly limited Malbec included in this monthâs red wine club selection is undoubtedly a brilliant companion for a grilled ribeye and provoleta, the countryâs famous pan-grilled slab of provolone. Try our grill-top alternative of Halloumi cheese. Halloumi is a greek sheepâs milk cheese that is firm and salty, a little rubbery when fresh, but when grilled, it is deliciously crispy outside and gooey inside.
No matter how you choose to enjoy your wines this summer, we hope you can spend as much time as possible outdoors with good food and great company.