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Wine advice: Dinner at a Brazillian churrascaria


jsmeeker
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On Friday, I'll be having a nice dinner at a Brazillian churrascaria. You know, one of those blaces that brings around all the various meats on big metal skewers and they slice of pieces for you. It goes on and on and you wind up pakcing away the meat. I've dined at one of these before (Fogo de Chao in Dallas) and enjoyed it.

I'll be dining with a large group, but I don't know how many will actually drink wine. My guess is not many, but that's OK. As long as a few other people want some, I can easily justify [at least] one bottle.

I think it's pretty obvious (is it??) that a red wine is called for. So, help me select wine. I am totally open to suggestions. It might be nice to have something I haven't had before, something that the others haven't had. I'm really just staring to get more "into" wine and trying to put some more thought into it and exploring stuff that is new to me. I know things like "Pinot Noir" and "Merlot" and "Cabernet Sauvignon". Those are familair, all though probably more in name. Recently, I've been focusing a lot of my attention on Frnehc wines and tryo to get a handle on the way they catgeorize wines.

Anyway, like I said I'm pretty open to anything. Old world. new world. Whatever. What will go good with this type of dining?

(If it matters, we'll be dining at a Texas de Brazil in Miami)

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I actually eat at the Texas de Brazil in Miami all the time, most recently three times in September during my last trip down there. It's a most enjoyable place.

They have quite a number of red wines by the glass, and they will be very happy to let you taste each of them. That's probably a great way to start, to see what direction you want to go in, and of course, you can stick with glasses (they're quite generous), or each person can have glasses of the wine he or she prefers; or, the taste of the various wines could steer you toward the kind of wine you might want by the bottle.

A lot of the servers there tend to push the much more expensive bottles somewhat aggressively, a practice I really dislike, but there's a new Wine Director as of this past September, who is really knowledgeable and really nice - but I forgot his name.

Still, I think that if you start by tasting the many glass wines and discuss what you like about them with the wine person who is on, you should do fine.

On Friday, I'll be having a nice dinner at a Brazillian churrascaria.  You know, one of those blaces that brings around all the various meats on big metal skewers and they slice of pieces for you.  It goes on and on and you wind up pakcing away the meat.    I've dined at one of these before (Fogo de Chao in Dallas) and enjoyed it.

I'll be dining with a large group, but I don't know how many will actually drink wine.  My guess is not many, but that's OK.  As long as a few other people want some, I can easily justify [at least] one bottle. 

I think it's pretty obvious (is it??) that a red wine is called for.  So, help me select wine. I am totally open to suggestions.  It might be nice to have something I haven't had before, something that the others haven't had.  I'm really just staring to get more "into" wine and trying to put some more thought into it and exploring stuff that is new to me.  I know things like "Pinot Noir" and "Merlot" and "Cabernet Sauvignon".  Those are familair, all though probably more in name.  Recently, I've been focusing a lot of my attention on Frnehc wines and tryo to get a handle on the way they catgeorize wines.

Anyway, like I said I'm  pretty open to anything.  Old world. new world.  Whatever.  What will go good with this type of dining?

(If it matters, we'll be dining at a Texas de Brazil in Miami)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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It's a very extensive wine list, by the way.

(Two dining secrets there: they have a new cut of meat which they call the "whole sirloin", very different from their "top sirloin", and they don't always parade it around, but you can request it, and it's quite delicious. Also, they do have horseradish which they can serve you from the kitchen, which goes very nicely with some of the meats.)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Mark,

Thanks for the first hand informarion. I'm pleased to know they have a good by the glass selection. Normally, I DO order wine by the glass. But this time, I figured a bottle might be better since the meal is essentially 100% meat and also with a large group (almost 20, I think), there may be enough wine drinkers to make ordering it by the bottle a bit more economical.

Carolyn,

Thanks for the suggestion on the Malbec. I'm pretty sure I've never had that before. That's exactly the sort of advice I was hoping to get. Can you tell me a bit more about it?

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I was curious about Malbec also, as I've heard about it but that's about it.

Here is some info from wikipedia:click

Malbec is widely planted in Argentina producing a softer, less-tannic driven variety than the wines of Cahors. The best examples of these wines come from the Argentine region of Mendoza.

Malbec is the premier grape of Argentina. It seems to have found a natural home, being used to produce very popular varietal wines. It is now thought that the variety known as Fer in that country is a clone. As a varietal it creates a rather inky red (or violet), intense wine, so it is also commonly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create the renowned red French Bordeaux "claret" blend. In California and other areas it is increasingly being used for the same blending purpose.

Introduced to Argentina by French agricultural engineer Michel Pouget in 1868, there were once 50,000 hectares planted with Malbec; now there are 25,000 hectares. Chile, has about 6,000 hectares planted, France 5,300 hectares and California, just 45 hectares. Malbec is also grown in Australia, British Columbia and northeastern Italy.

The article also talks about the varietal's roots in France (the Loire and Cahors). It has been used as a Bordeaux blending grape but is increasingly becoming known as an Argentine varietal wine.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I went and read the Wiki entry as well. It was interesting to see that it's a popular grape in Argentina. In general, I'm a fan of the "when in Rome" philosophy. I know Argentina isn't Brazil. But it's in the same part of the world. Maybe this is one of the reasons Carolyn suggested it?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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to make... it by the bottle a bit more economical.

Another thing you can do to make this meal more economical is to join their affinity club via their website. They'll send you a 50% off dining certificate when you join (some restrictions apply, such as not valid on Saturdays), and various other 25-50% off promotions during the year.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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to make... it by the bottle a bit more economical.

Another thing you can do to make this meal more economical is to join their affinity club via their website. They'll send you a 50% off dining certificate when you join (some restrictions apply, such as not valid on Saturdays), and various other 25-50% off promotions during the year.

Thanks for the tip. There are locations in Dallas, including one close to where I live. (In fact, that's the original location of this chain). I don't think it will work for this time since it's a large group. Also, I'm not worried about saving money on the meal, but was thinking if there was enough wine drinking and people were cool with the same wine, it might be a bit better than ordering by the glass (assuming I selected a bottle that was also by the glass).

Anyway, no big deal. I'm also more than willing to buy a bottle so I can get something that *isn't* available byt the glass. (like maybe a Malbec)

Can I ask which wines you have enjoyed with your meals at Texas de Brazil?

Edited by jsmeeker (log)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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The Wiki entry pretty much covers it -- the winery I worked for had an exceptional Malbec year in 2002 to the extent that instead of using it as a blending grape with their CabSauv, they bottled 100% Malbec (only about 80 cases), which I adored.

When I first started eating churascaria, my BF (who was married to a Brazilian) told me that there is a huge influx of Argentine wines into Brazil. It was only natural to taste the variety of grapes and realize that Malbec was a clear winner with the grilled meats.

It remains a favorite grape of mine and I'm always on the lookout of US producers of the 100% varietal as it is pretty rare. Please report back after your dinner - but if go the Malbec route, I'm pretty sure you'll be mighty pleased!

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Unfortunately the churrascaria nearest me has a mediocre wine list. Under the adage of always drink the wine from the region of the food you are eating, Malbec would be my choice. If there is one on the list I highly recommend the Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec Mendoza or the Bodega Norton Malbec Mendoza Reserve. Both are excellent.

Otherwise, I'd go for a good Cabernet Sauvignon. If you want the local flavor, go for a good one from Chile (maybe the Concha y Toro Puente Alto Marqués de Casa Concha) but Malbec would still be my first choice.

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Malbec is indeed a great choice, a lovely red wine. Same with Cabernet.

Might I also suggest a nice Zinfandel? Good fruit, great deep color, heavy and hearty, a favorite wine with grilled meat generally. Also, they tend to be crowd pleasing.

Also nice would be a good Montalcino or Montepulciano (rosso or vino noble); they're classic pairings with grilled food in Tuscany or a good Cotes de Rhone. All good with red meats.

Cheers!

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I appreciate all the suggestions on the Malbec. I think I will see what they have and hopefully they can suggest one that's within my budget.

Do you think a Malbec would be available by the glass? If not, it's not a bg deal, as I was prepared to order a bottle.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Speaking of Malbecs, I have to say that I opened a bottle of a very good Cahors (Chateau la Caminade "La Commandery" 2002) to go with some leftover steak in monkey gland sauce (don't ask) tonight and, boy, was it good.

Just thought I'd let you all know.

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I'm at the Texas de Brazil web site right now. They do not provide their wine list online, just a list of some of the producers whose wines they carry -- no doubt big names meant to "impress." The South American producers on the list are:

Concha y Toro (Chile)

Almaviva (Chile)

Bodegas Catena (Argentina)

There may be other South American wines, but that's all that was touted on the web site. That last one is a decent producer of Malbec. If things like the following matter to you, the 2002 Malbec from Catena was #67 on Wine Spectator's 2004 Top 100 list. The wine retails for about $10. I have no idea how much the restaurant charges for it.

One of my personal favorites for Malbec wine from Argentina is from Luigi Bosca. That's the direction I'd go, if you want a specific recommendation.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I remembered the name of the wine person at that location - Jovany - and that he's very familiar with eGullet, so I called him and told him about this thread, and perhaps we'll see him on here to talk a little about their wines. As I've said, this is a great place - enjoy!

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I remembered the name of the wine person at that location - Jovany - and that he's very familiar with eGullet, so I called him and told him about this thread, and perhaps we'll see him on here to talk a little about their wines.  As I've said, this is a great place - enjoy!

Thanks.

I'll be there tomorrow night!

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Did you go? How was your meal, and especially, what wine did you have and how was it?

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Did you go?  How was your meal, and especially, what wine did you have and how was it?

I DID go. It was very good. Jovany came over and introduced himself. We talked about some of the wines, and wound up selecting two different ones.

The first was a Carmenere. It was a Santa Ema, Reserva Mapio from Chile. I liked this a lot. It worked well with all of the excellent meats that were served. The next bottle was a Malbec. Went with a Navarro Correas Gran Reserva Mendoza. It was very nice. Out of the two wines we had, that's the one all of the wine drinkers preferred.

I really appreciate the help I got in this thread, and especially enjoyed the personal connection. eGullet is such a fantastic resource. I (as well as the people dining with me) found some new types of wines to enjoy.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I'm glad you had a good experience, and he certainly is a good guy.

I've been to the Texas de Brazils in Miami and Orlando quite a number of times, and I think they do a great job all around, and I think the meats are delicious. I'm familiar with a few other similar places in Florida and New York, and I think Texas de Brazil outshines them all with their food and their atmosphere (the restaurants are beautiful).

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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  • 1 month later...

Catena makes a very nice Malbec, as do Norton. Carmenere is a good choice too.

I don't mean it in a pejorative way, but I always think of Malbec as a BBQ wine, and so I'm sure it would be a good match.

Off the mark georgaphically, (and very possibly not available at your resto) but you might also try a Nero D'Avola from Sicily. A bit offbeat, but one I quite enjoy. The Duca Enrico is a good choice, but so is the very simple and inexpensive Sedara.

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