GEN 7 Wines & Peruvian Cuisine: A Celebration of Cultures, Tradition
Peru has some of the most diverse, exquisite, and colorful food in the world. A country with biodiversity and ecosystems unmatched by any other, Peru’s cuisine has more flavors and textures than one could fathom. Its cuisine incorporates indigenous ingredients but also blends the traditions of European, African, and East Asian cultures.
So how does one pair wine with food of this depth?
Until recently, Peru has been laser-focused on spirits production, to the detriment of its own rich history in viticulture. Fortunately, this is changing and I will be covering this in subsequent posts. But for now, pairing such diverse food required wines I was confident would exhibit balance, structure, and versatility. And, because of my passion for tradition, wines that had historical significance as well. These are all elements to be discovered in GEN 7 Wines—a historic, family-owned producer crafting wines from California’s most important vineyards. Making wines since 1832, GEN 7 has been pioneering Old World winemaking techniques with California’s New World terroir for six—going on seven—generations.
Let’s explore how wines from one of California’s oldest winemaking families elevates a cuisine that celebrates its own legacy of mixing of peoples!
Petite Sirah + Ceviche
Considered Peru’s national dish and also its most popular, Ceviche and can be loosely described as “Peruvian sushi.” Thick cubed white fish is cured in fresh citrus juices, spiced with ají, red onions, salt, and pepper. Served with sweet potatoes and canchitas—toasted Peruvian corn from the Andes—this colorful dish is flavorful and surprisingly filling. GEN 7’s 2015 Premium Reserve Petite Sirah may
not seem an obvious match because of its full-bodied texture, but the perfect acidity and complex rich fruit prove to be the ultimate foil for this deceptively substantial dish. The cool climate of the Clear Lake AVA result in wines that are elegant and refreshing—qualities not usually associated with Petite
Sirah! But with its blue fruit flavors and subtle oak, this wine is a revelation with this quintessentially Peruvian dish.
Pinot Noir + Arroz Con Pollo
This one pot hearty meal made with chicken and rice—"Arroz con Pollo”—is a Peruvian staple. Rice is infused with generous amounts of cilantro leaves to give it a characteristically green color, while seasoned chicken, carrot cubes, peas, and red bell pepper rest on top. GEN 7’s 2014 Pinot Noir Reserve is the ideal com
pliment to this festive dish, as the acidity, dark fruit and spices balance out the richness of the chicken. While Pinot Noir is already one of the most food-friendly wines, the characteristics of the Martini clone displayed in this wine are particularly suited for this savory dish. These grapes are grown in the famous Clark & Telephone Vineyard, which is cooled by breezes from the Pacific. Enjoying this wine conjures another image of the Pacific ocean—the exquisite Limeñan sunset
Cabernet Sauvignon + Lomo Saltado
Another of pillar of Peru’s cross-cultural cuisine and found in any Peruvian restaurant worth its salt, Lomo Saltado is a stir fry of marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, fried indigenous Peruvian potatoes. GEN 7’s 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon in all of its rich, black fruit, spices, and chocolate undertones is a perfect match for this Peruvian take on steak and potatoes. The full-bodied yet silky texture of the wine made from grapes grown in Sonoma County pairs deliciously with the thin sliced beef sauteed in a soy sauce and vinegar-based dressing. Well-balanced but expressive, this food-friendly Cabernet displays the best of Sonoma County while connecting us to dish that evolved into Peru’s code of identity.
Zinfandel + Chifa
Peru has its own tradition of Chinese food, simply called Chifa, from the mandarin word “to eat.” No where else in the world is it referred to this way, and nowhere else in the world has it become as emblematic as it has in Peru. Chaufa-- “fried rice” in Cantonese—is the most widespread Chifa dish and can be served
with chicken, pork, or fried fish. With its history as one of California’s most important grapes, GEN 7’s 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel Reserve is the perfect historical compliment to Chaufa, to say nothing of its gastronomic affinity! A wine with a longstanding tradition on California’s dinner tables as Chifa is on Peruvian ones, this version is exuberantly black and blue fruit-laden, with jammy and vanilla flavors lingering on it’s long finish. Produced from storied Sonoma Valley old vines, this wine is intense but balanced and compliments the savory, richness of this beef Chifa and the soul of Peruvian cuisine.
GEN 7 Wines commemorate the legacy and future of Old World and New world traditions. Wines of this quality, history, and typicity are the ideal partners for a cuisine that continues to grow in global popularity, celebrating the fusion of cultures through its varied dishes. Find these infinitely pairable wines and read more on the Bacino family’s winemaking history at www.gen7wines.com