Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekend Wino: Spanish Rioja Wine with Venison Chili


The approaching weekend leaves the mind the opportunity to wonder into our own customized world without the hassle of work.  If your anything like me, one of the questions you ask yourself is, 'What am I drinking this weekend?'  

With the help of my friends at Wine Chateau, a major online retailer of wine and libations, we have started the exciting new Weekend Wino feature, where we pair wine with a complementary dish!  And unlike so many pairing articles-we provide the recipe and the link to buy the exact wine featured.

I've been really excited to get the ball rolling on this feature-especially it being the time of year where so many people are practicing healthier habits.  I, for one, am doing the Slow-Carb diet, developed by Tim Ferriss in his book, The 4-Hour BodyI am a fan of any diet that requires minimal exercise and still lets me drink!  The venison chili in this recipe is a slow-carb recipe and can be easily adapted for your own preferences.

THE WINE: Marques de Riscal Rioja Proximo 2009


My favorite part about drinking wine is the story that can be learned from each bottle.  Looking at the region (North-Central Spain), the websites and the types of grapes used (Tempranillo)-opens the mind and awareness of the drinker, giving them a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  Awareness is the best flavor any wine bottle holds.

TIP: Look up the funny words or locations on the labels so you understand what you're reading.  

Rioja wine is grown in North-Central region of Spain.  Rioja wine is traditionally a light textured, low tannin wine with moderate acidity.  The acidity makes it a great pairing for a red chili dish-so the tomatoes offset the rioja's intensity.

For a more novice wine drinker, the acidity can be a deterrent for this bottle as it pairs better with food than alone.

There are 3 types of Rioja wines:
  • Crianza: Released after 2 years of aging-minimum 1 year in oak barrels
  • Reserva: Released after 3 years of aging-min 1 year in oak
  • Gran Reserva: Released after 5-7 years of aging-min 2 years in oak
                                 *The price/btl. increases with the aging process

Other types of dishes that would work with the Rioja: a heavier tomato-based dish featuring red meat.

Venison Chili - Slow Carb
Serves 8
Approx Time: 6 hours

1lb bag dried kidney beans
1lb ground venison
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart (32oz) canned diced tomatoes with juice
Chili powder-to taste
Cumin-to taste
Cayenne pepper-to taste
Salt - as needed
Water-as needed

Take dried beans, rinse and cook as directed on bag. Let sit full hour.

In large pot add 1 cup water, venison, onion and garlic. (Note: adding the water to the meat when it cooks helps it to crumble nicely.)  Cook meat through.  Add tomatoes, beans and enough water to just cover the beans.  Bring to a boil.  Taste and add 1 tablespoon of chili powder and cumin.  Add 1 teaspoon cayenne. Taste and adjust seasoning until it suits your preference-add salt if needed.  Allow to simmer, uncovered for 3-4 hours, stirring every 20 minutes and adding water as it thickens (2 cups at a time).

After 4 hours taste to make sure the beans are cooked through and tender.  If not, simmer longer (but 4 hours should be plenty!). 

Serve with the lovely Marques de Riscal Rioja Proximo 2009 and Enjoy!

Special Thanks to the Wine Chateau for recommending wines for this feature!

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