All my wine blogs, Garnacha

My first ever Veal Osso Buco with Garnacha Par Excellence

My first ever Veal Osso Buco with Garnacha Par Excellence

I know, I should be probably dieting like everybody else. I need it. But I didn’t make any New Year resolution regarding my weight issues. I watch what I eat year around. Unfortunately, for some reason, it doesn’t always show. Why bother when I know I will be hosting a private wine dinner the very first Saturday of 2011?

How do you diet with 5 courses and 5 different wines??

Food to me is very important part of well being. And not just any food, it must be good too! I love the whole process getting the idea, working, improvise and play with it, until it’s done to my liking.

My Osso Buco story wasn’t different. I saw some nice looking veal shank in Whole foods. Since I have never made it before (but I had it in the restaurants), it represented a challenge. I decided it shouldn’t be so hard and bought two good looking veal shanks.


OK, there was another reason too. But let’s start from beginning.

Thanks to an unbelievable generosity of a dear friend (let’s call him JO), part of my almost empty “wine cellar” got an unexpected makeover last week. Unexpected, but very, very appreciated!


Suddenly, I needed to create a special dinner to accommodate a very special bottle of wine. No problema para mí!

I started by looking for the recipe. I wanted the best, so I looked up Mario Batali’s version. I agreed with him that there is a beauty in simplicity (as long as you have fresh quality ingredients). Just to compare, I also looked up other respected Italian chef’s recipes but returned to Mario’s base.

Yet, as always, I ended up not following the recipe completely. But when the philosophy of the dish is understood, I believe it can take few twists here and there.

See my version of recipe here

As I was cooking my memory took me back to he beautiful Moncayo Mountains we traveled to visit the vineyards of D.O. Campo de Borja. Rough terrain that my stomach remembers as well. Inigo Alberto, (our guide) for some reason drove crazy fast.

Up and down the hills, on the dirty little roads, in his small car, gas and brakes, until I got car sick. My sickness later disappeared – about the time we got to Alto Moncayo wines during our wine tasting.

(Inigo later asked me to mention it in front of his bosses – so maybe they would finally buy him the Hummer he has repeatedly asking for). I totally brought it up in my thank you speech and you can see that it was received very well). I wonder if he got the car yet…
Anyway, visiting Bodegas Borsao and Alto Moncayo was one of the highlights of our Spanish trip. Our kind hosts spent quite some time with us, answering all our nosy questions and tasting their great wine portfolio with us. The catering chef, who brought an excellent menu for the tasting, even interrupted his vacation to be there! And, they have some of the most impressive tasting room we have seen!

The vineyards of Bodegas Borsao and Bodegas Alto Moncayo have a great potential – some of them located in about 2,000 ft elevation, planted between 1910-1967. Old vines have an extremely low yield, additionally decreased by green harvesting. The age of vine, the quality of the fruit, high elevation and a challenging soil is a promising combination for an incredibly rich and complex wines. And that’s exactly what you get here.

Starting with their super bargain Borsao red, Monte Oton or Tres Picos, to the high end of Alto Moncayo and Aquilon, these wines are a showcase of Garnacha Par Excellence. Although Campo de Borja is not as famous D.O. as for example Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Priorat, these wines are getting the attention they deserve! And the professional wine ratings are reflecting that as well.

Alto Moncayo Veraton 2007:
Wine Enthusiast October 2010: 91pts
Stephen Tanzer: 92pts 2010 review: 92pts!

2006 Vintage: Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: 94pts

The winemaker Jose Luis works closely with famous Australian winemaker Chris Ringland, who oversees the winemaking process. Jose Luis told us that exact age of some of their vines is unknown….

So, that’s my story with my first ever Veal Osso Buco and Garnacha Par Excellence relationship. It was delicious, although the wine ended up being much bigger than the dish. Next time, I will prepare a steak or lamb. We absolutely didn’t mind it though, and finished the delicious bottle. You can’t really put it back to the bottle once you decanted it. Ok, you can, but we didn’t feel like it.

Before my last sip I had a tiny bit of dark chocolate (and I am not a big fan of pairing chocolate with wine) – but it was an amazing transformation! This big, excellent Garnacha, approached by cacao became a velvety sensation.

And as far as the diet talk goes, isn’t veal a diet meat after all? I know, not the shank particularly, I hear you. Just so you know – it was delicious, but no, I didn’t eat the whole thing…