All my wine blogs, Borja, Garnacha, Rose wines, Spain

Borsao Rosé 2011

When I saw this year’s new release of Borsao Rosé on the shelf, I could not resist. How could you go wrong with a rosé wine from the famous Garnacha region (Campo de Borja), that only costs $6.99 a bottle?

I am a big fan of Borsao wines – and it’s not just because I was lucky enough to visit their vineyards and the winery few years back.

I already enjoyed their wines before that, for years. But when you are given the opportunity to meet the winemaker, to see the soil, vines and people involved in all that labor, the love for the brand gets another vibes.

Old vines Garnacha (Alto Moncayo Mountains,  Borja
Old vines Garnacha (Alto Moncayo Mountains, Borja

It’s is mainly because their wines are consistently really good. From the cheapest (or better said inexpensive) line of bottles such as Monte Oton, Borsao Tinto – that range around $5-8 retail, to their incredible Tres Picos, unbelievable value for under $20. Not to forget about their newest project, Borsao got involved in, the superb Alto Moncayo wines.

Therefore I am familiar with the taste of Garnacha wines coming from this winery, especially the old vines with their very typical spice, sweetness and a very concentrated dark fruit flavors. Credit to those attributes goes to the high quality old vines (the winery doesn’t have records on some of their oldest vines, to figure out how old they really are), and the very unique soil of red clay (rich in iron), mixed with red slate, that they were planted in. The Borsao vineyards are located high in the Alto Moncayo mountains (I still remember how sick I felt when Inigo Alberto drove us, very fast, up and down those mountains, on the dirt roads, in his little car.)

Our guide Inigo and Jose Luis - the Borsao's winemaker
Our guide Inigo and Jose Luis – the Borsao’s winemaker

So how was the Borsao rosé? Lovely, rich salmon pink color, as the Garnacha grape gives it a lot of color from its thick skin. Refreshing, fruity scent of raspberries and dark fruit. At the first sip, it felt like – OK, lovely, not particularly exciting wine, nice for summer (and great for that price, right?). A lot of fruit, I missed the acidity to balance it out, it almost felt  (as my husband put it), a little flat. Still, much better than many rosé wines I tasted lately, for a much higher price. Don’t forget, for years I am being spoiled by Muga Rosé, that I consider one of the best Rosé wines made in Spain. So balanced, so rich, simply delicious.

But then we took a bite into our turkey sandwich, I prepared with sweet roasted peppers, lightly drizzled with hot Sriracha. The other sip of Borsao rosé was very surprising.

Hey – the wine’s true colors showed up! The heat of the sauce brought up the spices in the rosé, suddenly it felt balanced much better, it was vibrant, it woke up all our senses. I loved it – and must say, it’s a damn great bottle of rosé for that price!

I just hope that since my last visit, my new Spanish friend Inigo finally got his desired hummer that I strongly  advocated for with his bosses!

All recipes paired with wine, Beef, Ground meat

My best chili recipe

Just few sunny days of promising spring, and we got back cold, chill and rain here in Connecticut. From opened windows back to turning up the heat… well, the winter is not giving up that easily. Today, when I am writing this, I feel like huddling up around our fireplace, having a bowl of some comfort food.

That brought my thoughts to my all times favorite that never disappoints – chili. I know there is a discussion if beans belong to the truth chili, chunks of meat or ground meat – it’s totally up to you. This is my favorite recipe for one lazy Sunday, when you have time to let cook your dinner on the stove for 2 hours.

My best chili recipe

When my friend saw that I use a chocolate in my chili recipe, she freaked out a little. Than she tasted it, trying to detect the chocolate, her favorite food, in it. I don’t think she did, but she sure loved the richness of this chili. I never used black beans before but it gives it a great flavor.

• 2 tablespoons oil
• 2 red onions, chopped or 1 large
• 1 green bell pepper chopped
• 1 red bell pepper chopped • 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb lean ground beef (I used bison)
• 2 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 1 bottle of dark beer (any)
• 1 cup of strong coffee (I used espresso)
• 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
• 3 cups beef broth
• 1 small bar of dark chocolate – I used Chirardelli’s 60% cacao, 375 oz.)
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon dry oregano
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 tablespoon ground coriander
• 1 teaspoon salt (season at the end, by personal taste)
• 3 (15 oz.) cans of kidney beans (black and/or red)
• 2 green chili peppers, chopped (leave the seeds in if you like it spicy)

Cook the ground meat in heavy duty large pan on medium heat, until brown, splitting it apart with a wooden spoon.

Take out the meat and leave it on the side. Add a little bit of olive oil into the same pan, add onions and garlic. When the onions are softer, add all the dry spices to release their aroma and mix together.

Add chopped peppers and chili peppers to the mix. Turn down the heat , stir and let cook on low heat for a few minutes.

Return browned meat to this mixture. Add tomatoes with liquid, beer, coffee, chocolate, sugar, tomato paste and beef broth. Mix together and bring to boil. Stir in 3 cans of beans (drained and washed in colander with running water).

When reached boiling point, reduce the heat back to very low, cover the pan and let slowly simmer for 1 and half to 2 hours so all the flavors could merry together. Season with the salt at the end, if needed

Serve with a scoop of sour cream and favorite tortilla chips.

Wine pairing suggestion:
I know, when I have chili, I feel like Corona with a lime. I am not big on beer but some dishes just taste better with it. I also tried it with red wine – looking for something a bit spicy, not too oaky – and Spanish was actually pairing pretty well with chili.

Let me know what was your preference!


All recipes paired with wine, Beef

Beef Madras

Beef Madras
(recipe and picture: courtesy of Ken K.)

1 – 2 dried red chilies
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/4 cups coconut cream
4 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
2 onions chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1-1/2 pounds lean braising beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
generous 1 cup beef stock,
plus a little extra if necessary lemon juice salt

Depending on how hot you want this dish to be, chop the chilies with or without any seeds. The more seeds you include, the hotter the dish will be. (sounds good to me…more) Put the chopped chilies and any seeds in a small bowl with the coriander, turmeric, mustard seeds, ginger, and pepper and stir in a little of the coconut cream to make a thin paste.

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole or large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is golden brown. Add the spice paste and stir for 2 minutes, or until you can smell the aromas. Add the meat and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest level, cover tightly, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender.

Check occasionally that the meat isn’t catching on the bottom of the casserole, and stir in a little extra water or stock, if necessary.

Uncover the casserole and stir in the remaining coconut cream with the lemon juice and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce the heat again and simmer, still uncovered, until the sauce reduces slightly.
Serves 4 to 6.

Suggested wine pairing:
For it’s spiciness, I have paired this delicious dish with young and spicy Garnacha from Campo de Borja, Spain. The wine is produced by Bodegas Borsao and called Monte Oton. The spicy sauce brought up the spice in the wine and those two complimented each other very well.