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Aragón by Tabletop: Arroz Aragonés + 2015 Vinos del Viento Cariñena #WorldWineTravel

This month the World Wine Travel group is traveling by plate and glass to Aragón, Spain with host Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm.

If you are reading this early enough, jump on our live Twitter chat on Saturday, May 22nd at 8am Pacific time. Just follow the hastag #WorldWineTravel and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of articles...


Aragón 
image from winefolly.com

Located in northeastern Spain, Aragón lies west of Cataluña and south of Navarra and the French border. It is bordered by moutains: The Pyrenees to the north and the Iberian mountains (Sistema Iberico) to the west. Within Aragón there are four appellations of origin or Denominacións de Orixe (DO): Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena and Somontano, plus five Vinos de la Tierra, a catch-all appellation for regional wines.

Aragón is home to Garnacha (Grenache) vines with most of them qualifying as old-vine which are also mostly dry-framed and bush-trained. And though Garnacha is the main variety in the region, Tempranillo, Macabeo, and Cariñena (Carignane) also have a foothold.

2015 Vinos del Viento Cariñena

I was able to get my hands on a bottle of the 2015 Vinos del Viento Cariñena which must have been easily sourced for us Californians because I noticed that both Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog and Nicole of Somm's Table poured the same wine. I can't wait to read their posts and hear what they paired. Fitting, too, because it turns out that the winemaker, Michael Cooper, is a native Californian.

Let's start with this interesting bit which confused me when I first started reading about this wine: Cariñena is both the DO and the grape in this case! Cariñena is the oldest and largest of Aragón's appellations and has the village of Cariñena as its center. 

Cariñena, the grape, also goes by the names Carignane, Carignano, Carignan, Mazuelo, Moestal, Roussillonen, and Samsó. While it's native to this region, it is cultivated all over France and can be found in Italy and California as well.  The grape usually results in bold and spicy wines and is often blended with softer, more fruity varieties to temper it.

This limited production wine is from a single-vineyard of dry-framed old vines - more than 40 years old - that lie over 2000 feet above sea level. Comprised of 85% Cariñena and 15% Syrah, the grapes were all hand-harvested before being fermented in stainless steel with native years. Then it was aged in new French oak for 12 months before being bottled with minimal filtration.

In the glass, the wine pours a deep inky violet and has a fragrant nose with aromas of black fruit, smoke, and a tinge of vanilla. On the palate, the wine has those same black fruits with deeper flavors of fennel and chocolate. It's a balanced wine with a spicy finish.

Arroz Aragonés
 

When I was researching regional dishes, I came across the mention of an Aragonese rice which seemed to have as many variations as households. But it sounded as if it was akin to a meaty paella. And I never miss the opportunity to pull out my paella pan! The only real guidelines I read were to use local meats and sausages. Done! So, note that this is not a traditional Arroz Aragonés, but is my interpretation of the dish the with ingredients that I had available...and includes lots of different meats.

Ingredients serves 6

  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound bacon, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup aged chorizo, diced
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 3 ripe, organic tomatoes, chopped (you can use 1 cup canned tomatoes or tomato sauce)
  • 2 cups Spanish paella rice
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • pinch each of paprika, pepper, and ground cloves
  • 5 to 6 cup beef stock, warmed
  • 10 to 12 slices salami
  • piparra peppers

Procedure

Heat olive oil in the paella pan. Add in the onions, celery, ground beef, and bacon. Cook the beef through. Stir in the garlic and chorizo. Add in the tomatoes and cook until they have lost their shape slightly, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.

Sprinkle the spices into the pot and add the saffron to the side so it's not where the heat is most concentrated.

Tip in the rice. Pour in the stock. At this point, do not stir. Gently shake the pan to distribute the rice and meat evenly. Arrange the salami and peppers around the pan.

Bring the pan to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Watch the pan and keep turning it so that the rice cooks evenly. As it cooks, the stock will be fully absorbed.

You will see fewer and fewer bubbles popping up through the top. When it is completely dry, it's done. The rice should also be crackling. It reminds me of rice krispies. Snap, crackle, and pop!

When you no longer see any bubbles, remove the pan from the heat. Tent it with foil and let it steam for 10 minutes.


To serve, use a flat spatula to scrape the soccarat from the bottom. Invert the scoop onto the individual plates to show off your soccarat, that delicious, crusty goodness on the bottom of the pan!

That's a wrap for the May #WorldWineTravel exploration of the Aragon wine region. Thanks to Wendy for hosting. The group will be back next month with a look at the Basque wine region with Jill of L'Occasion hosting. Stay tuned.

Comments

  1. Ooo, this sounds so good! I am wanting to get my paella pan out too, what a good reason to do so. The wine sounds delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I have only used my paella pan once! Time to get it back out again with this recipe. I looked for a Carinena and for a wine from DO Somotano, to no avail. I was able to find Garnachas from DO Calatayud, so I guess I will continue to search to explore the rest of this region!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The hubby and I love soccarat, yours looks perfect! Thanks for sharing a super recipe that showcases the food of the region. I'm thinking the pairing worked, I know I'll hear more about it on the chat today.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow....this made up for your weekday vegetable based meals LOL....it looks and sounds amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This meaty paella looks so tasty. What a small choice to do meat with it to pair with the Vinos del Viento Cariñena. There is a Chinese rice dish that cooks rice in an individual-serving clay pot and forms a similar crust at the bottom of the pot. Everyone in my family fights for the crust.

    ReplyDelete
  6. OMG! That soccarat is gorgeous! It's so fun to compare what you paired and what you thought of the wine. We definitely considered paella-like dishes as an option and it seems to me that now I just need to try the wine with Arroz Aragonéss for myself!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've made a lot of dishes before, but have never had the occasion to make Paella. It's on my "to-do" list for this year with World Wine Travel in Spain. I will keep your soccarat in mind as a goal!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really like Carignan and probably don't drink it enough. Sounds like just the smoky wine needed for this soccarat.

    ReplyDelete

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