Spring is my favorite time of year. The ground thaws, the time changes, and seedlings remind me to be resilient. Here in Colorado, the warmer days are so welcome after the long, cold winter. When we’re lucky, it’s 75 and perfectly sunny during the day. At dusk, temperatures drop and we cover bare arms with cozy sweaters. When we need to be reminded we live in the Rockies; heavy, wet spring snow wrecks our tulips and sends us back indoors.
It’s the ideal time of year to pour Malbec. The sunny weather is like a hype song for the grill. The blanket wrapped patio dinners are the calling of these bold, fruity reds. When it snows, the wines feel like a cozy fire to curl up next to.
In Argentina, the smoky flavors and aromas of charred asado are the centerpiece of long days gathered with friends and family while meat slowly roasts to perfection over an open flame. People sip Malbec and take turns prodding the coals of their perfectly stoked parilla, or grill.
Last summer, I had a friend come and stay with me for a couple months while he was in town. As a thank you, he left me with a Traeger grill. It’s a fancy combination of a grill and smoker. Not something I would have invested in for myself, but man is it awesome. At first, I had a little trouble getting used to cooking on it. The Traeger doesn’t get as hot as the grills I’m used to, cooking meat, poultry, fish, and veggies for for longer periods. The result is deliciously tender, delicately flavored foods cooked to perfection.
In honor of the season, I’ve paired one of my favorite Malbecs, Mendel, with Chimichurri Smoked Ribeyes done on the Traeger. The salty, fatty meat and the delicious, flavor-blasted chimichurri sauce are out of this world with the fruity, medium-plus acidity of the wine. This combo was the perfect intro to the warm months, and an enough to inspire me to get my patio furniture set up and cut the grass for the first time.
The steaks sit on the smoker for an hour before you finish them with a good high temperature sear. It’s super easy, and the hour on the smoker is the perfect opportunity to prep the chimichurri and sip on the wine. The sooner you get the sauce together, the more integrated the flavors will be when it goes on the meat. I like to let it sit out on the counter inside so the herbs, garlic, and spices meld together.
Feeling brave and want to try something fun? Try building a simple DIY parilla, using basic hardware store materials and charcoal. I haven’t done this, but I love the idea. I definitely want to try this for a party this summer! If you have done it, please tell me about your experience in the comments!
Don’t feel like cooking? Order some empanadas from Maria Empanada in Denver and keep it simple. Try the Argentina Specialty Empanada or Chicken Chimichurri for the perfect pairing.