Wen Montivedeo showed up as this week's destination, based on randomly selected map coordinates, I looked forward to Tannat and Steak.
Further research revealed that the Uruguayan national dish, however, is not just steak. It's a steak sandwich, "chivito" (little goat), which costs as much to make at home as anything I've eaten this year.
Soft bread rolls, fillet steak, roasted garlic mayo, bacon, ham (yes really, both), cheese, olives, tomato and several other options). That's a sandwich to eat with a knife and fork.
Uruguay has around 3.3 million residents of which around a half live in Montevideo. It seems like Chivito shops are prevalent, so we had to try it.
To get into the spirit, we watched a YouTube documentary in Spanish and a few other clips to give us a flavour of the region. There is an emphasis on tango, with perhaps the most famous tango tune being written here. While across the Rio Plata in Buenos Aires they claim tango for their own, the Uruguayans would argue that the culture and history is just as strong in their capital.
Mr Purple Teeth was immediately engrossed in his chivito. He looked up occasionally to say "big", "bold", "lovely" and "my kind of wine" in-between ramming mouthfuls of mammoth proportions into his gob. This was not a delicate wine, nor was it a delicate meal. Nevertheless, the partnership worked well, and while it wouldn't be my preference for a Saturday night, the combination was really fun.
Fried egg, green olives, tomatoes, and Brie de Meaux (which I substituted for the suggested Mozzarella) are not the most obvious partners for red wine.
Despite this, the addition of perfectly cooked (if I say so myself) fillet steak topped with ham and bacon and all wrapped in soft bread, somehow it worked.
Juicy ripe fruit flavours of plum and blackberry mingled with powerful yet round tannins. There is a spicy note and a smokiness that complimented my chargrilled meats. We may not have churrasco, but I got the pan pretty smoking.
Rating: Buy Again
If you love chunky and hefty rustic reds, this one is worthy of a try. I've now had 2 South American Tannats in the last few months and think it is now time to seek out one from Madiran in France, where this grape originated.
Not for the faint hearted, or those with heart disease, despite the high volume of healthy reservatrol in the wine, our "trip" to Montevideo was a lot of fun.
Our next "virtual date" location is Shiraz in Iran. I reckon we may have a nice bottle of Shiraz but it won't be from Iran! Suggestions welcome. Even M&S are going to struggle here!