Which wines go with Peruvian food?

23 Aug

Señorita Vino is taking a much-needed vacation this week, so for your pairing pleasure, here’s a past post on two of my favorite subjects, wine and Peruvian food. There’s a new bonus pairing not featured in the first version, so read on!

If Peruvian cuisine were a movie star, she’d be stalked by paparazzi, grace the covers of fashion magazines, and receive an audience with the Pope. Ah, but  if  wine were her consort, what lucky devil would have the privilege of escorting her on the red carpet?

Ever the match-maker, Señorita Vino proudly presents some wine selections to go with popular Peruvian lunch dishes and street food. Stay tuned for a future post on what to pair with more elaborate Peruvian fare:

1. Aperitif – Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Reserve. Alsace, France

Think of this sparkling wine as a palate cleanser. The elegant little bubbles in this fruity, dry wine from France’s Alsace region set the stage for a rich and varied menu.

2. Butifarra (Peruvian Chicken Breast Sandwich) and 2010 Phebus Torrontes. Salta, Argentina.

Butifarras are usually served with pork, but this genteel take on a street food classic went beautifully with with the citrusy Torrontes from one of Argentina’s famed wine growing regions. The crisp, stainless-steel fermented dry white complemented the creaminess of the chicken salad filling. ¡Delicioso!

3. Triple White Bread Sandwich with Avocado, Egg, and Tomato and 2009 Harbor Front Chardonnay. Monterey, Calif.

Tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple, with a splash of orange, brought the tanginess of the tomato and the butter of the avocado to life on this Latin-American twist on the club sandwich.

4. Cheese and Fruit Platter with Papa a la Huancaina and 2009 Bougrier ‘V’ Vouvray. Loire Valley, France.

A modern take on the Peruvian staple, papa a la huancaína.

A creamy white wine with a hint of sweetness, this Loire Valley classic displays some minerality, which is characteristic of the soil from this world-renowned grape growing region. The slight residual sugar in the wine balances the salty cheeses, and at the same time it complements the fruit. The Vouvray’s creamy flavor helps tame the slight kick of the ají amarillo in the huancaína sauce, which is poured over boiled potatoes.  

5. Pionono with Dulce de Leche, Strawberries, Almonds and Chocolate and Rivata Brachetto Piemonte. Piedmont, Italy.

Sí, chicas y chicos – they make piononos in various Latin American countries, but the Peruvian version features dulce de leche and good-for-you treats such as fresh strawberries and almonds, which are packed with ‘good’ fats. It’s a guilt-free dessert. Kind of. Because of the pionono’s high sugar content, I paired it with a sweet sparkling wine from Italia. Just enough sweetness to complement the dessert without making you feel like you’ve devoured the sugar bowl. And the bubbles help cleanse the richness of the dessert, leaving you with a fresh palate.

*SPECIAL BONUS PAIRING not featured in my previous post! (EL FULL DISCLOSURE: This next Peruvian specialty is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve got a soft spot for cute, fuzzy little critters, Señorita Vino advises that you look away. Now.) Cuy chactado (guinea pig) with 2010 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Marlborough, New Zealand.

Cuy, or guinea pig, is a Peruvian dish that could trigger nightmares for small children (and some adults).

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, gente. This, my friends, is a guinea pig who sacrificed his life so that I could have lunch while traveling in Arequipa, Perú three years ago. If you can get past the ick factor, guinea pig meat is lean and is said to be nutrient-rich. And–spoiler alert–it tastes like chicken. Colonel Sanders has nothing on the line cooks in the roadside restaurant where I sampled my first (and admittedly last) deep-fried little lab buddy. Why Sauvignon Blanc? The acidity in the wine ‘cuts’ the grease from the deep-fried batter. If you have the stomach for it, it’s a winning, albeit macabre, combo. ¡Salud, y que viva el Perú!

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3 Responses to “Which wines go with Peruvian food?”

  1. Bridget August 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Was he a free range or farm raised cuy?

    • Pamela August 24, 2012 at 8:59 am #

      Raised on a small farm and left for the big city with high hopes, only to end up in a roadhouse that catered to tourists seeking adventure and exoticism.

  2. whineandcheersforwine August 24, 2012 at 4:59 am #

    Glad to see you have discovered PHEBUS also. Delicioso! If you haven’t read it already here is what I wrote about it:

    http://whineandcheersforwine.com/?s=phebus

    Thanks.

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