Chile is that long, narrow country just to the left of
Argentina. The Andes are to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the
west and the vineyards are planted along an 800-mile stretch of
valleys in the foothills.
The northern wine regions are hot and dry compared to the
cooler, wetter regions in the south. As with all the world’s
vineyards, rivers play an important role. The Maipo, Rapel and
Maule Rivers are the major rivers that serve as temperature
Chile is home to both wine values and the upper crusty stuff.
Like California, they have a long history with Vitis Vinifera
grapes. Back in the 16th century, the Conquistadors planted
vineyards to “the common black grape” otherwise called Pais or in
California, the Mission grape. This thin skinned grape produces a
thin bodied, rustic red. It is valued for its vigorous growth and
ease of cultivation. A perfect jug wine grape.
The Phylloxera epidemic in France pretty much changed the
direction of Chile’s wine industry. Many French enologists and
viticulturalists made a new start in Chile. Isolated by the Andes
and the Pacific Ocean, Chile to this day has never been invaded by
the destructive root louse known as Phylloxera
Today, Cabernet Sauvignon vines are now the most widely planted
red grape with almost 95,000 acres. Sauvignon Blanc is planted to
almost 33,000 acres, Chardonnay 27,000 and Merlot to 26,000 acres.
The forgotten Bordeaux grape, Carmenere, is now planted to 23,500
Chile’s Central Valley is divided into four main subregions:
Maipo, Rapel, Maule and Curico. The Rapel region is further divided
into the Colchagua and Cachapoal Valleys.
One of my favorite Chilean wines is Viña Cono Sur Colchagua
Valley Reserve Cab that sells around $12. Another to look for is
Veramonte Colchagua Valley Cab also around $12 or Los Boldos with 3
different Cabernets ranging from $10 to $14.
While exploring Chilean wines, a traditional Chilean dish to
pair with those wines is Empanadas de Pino. Empanadas are like
samosas, calzones or pasties, a savory stew wrapped in dough.
There’s just something fabulous about a flavorful package for
picnics, hiking or wine tastings!
Empanadas de Pino
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of vegetable shortening
1 cup of warm milk
In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder and salt for a
few seconds to combine. Add the vegetable shortening by spoonfuls.
Pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. With the blade is
running, add the warm milk. Process until the dough starts to come
together in a ball. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for a
few seconds and form it into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and
let it rest in a cool place for 30 minutes while you assemble
1 lb of ground beef
3 medium-sized yellow onions, diced
2 or more cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of beef broth
1 tbsp of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
15 green olives, sliced
1/3 cup raisins
Heat some oil in a large skillet and cook the onions on medium
high heat, stirring until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for
a minute more. Add the ground beef and brown. Add the beef broth
and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Sprinkle the
flour over the beef and stir until thickened. Cool while you’re
rolling out the dough.
Cut the dough in half and roll each half into fairly even logs.
Cut six even pieces of dough in each log so you have 12. On a
floured surface, roll each small ball of dough into a 6” in
diameter disk. Fill the center with 2 spoonfuls of your cooled
pino. Top with a slice of hard boiled egg, a few slices of olives
and some raisins. Then fold in half so you have a half moon shape.
Gently seal all the edges by folding the sides up and pressing
Brush with an egg wash (an egg white mixed with a tablespoon of
water). Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or
lightly greased. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cool on a rack while resisting the urge to taste for a few minutes
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