Wines for Grass-Fed and Free-Range Meats

Argentinean Malbecs and Torrontes pair wonderfully with grass-fed meats

Wines for Grass-Fed and Free-Range Meats

Wines for Grass-Fed and Free-Range Meats

People are buying more grass-fed meats than ever, and anyone who's ever been to a feed lot will tell you that's a smart idea. Down in Argentina, where the abundant pampas allow plenty of free-range grass for their cattle, goats, and lamb, the citizens wouldn't dream of actually eating something that's been on a feed lot. And they eat copious amounts of grilled meats. Over the years, their wine industry has developed into a model for the rest of the world on how to make perfect wines for grass-fed and free-ranging meats.

Their most famous export is the Malbec grape, and there are great examples at every price range. Nicolás Catena makes flawless Malbecs in four price ranges. The Alamos Malbec ($10) is fruity, which makes it a great match for drier meats like bison. The Catena Malbec ($20) adds complex aromas of dark cherry and plums. It matches beautifully with grilled lamb. Catena Alta Malbec ($50) comes from just a few rows of grapes, hand-selected each year by the winemaker. If this wine had a French label, it would cost $500. Try it with a filet mignon. Their top wine is Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino ($120). The price is tough, and given the fact that they only made 300 cases, the wine is hard to find. It will be the best Malbec most of us will ever taste.

José Alberto Zuccardi is a brilliant winemaker, but he's also an astute humanitarian. He not only provides housing and full-time jobs for his workers – he also built and financed a school, a dream come true for parents who want their children to have better lives. All of his lines are worth searching out, but the great bargains are from the Torrontes grape. The Santa Julia Torrontes ($10) is a white wine whose lovely floral and citrus aromas are ideally suited for grilled chicken. For dessert, try their late harvest Torrontes, Santa Julia Tardío ($13).

The Alamos and Santa Julia wines are available all over town. The higher-level wines from both Catena and Zuccardi are special-order items.

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Nicolás CatenaFamilia Zuccardi, Malbec, Torrontes, Nicolás Catena, Familia Zuccardi

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