LEO - 2013 Torrontes - Valentin Bianchi / Lemony Lentil Bisque

Leo_Torrontes_BottleLeo Messi is a huge soccer star worldwide. So much so that in countries where soccer is the predominant sport you only need say “Leo” and everyone knows who you’re speaking of. In addition to soccer, Leo is deeply involved in raising money for a good cause. His charity strives to help underprivileged kids with healthcare and education. One of his recent money raising endeavors is a partnership with Argentina’s Valentin Bianchi to produce a handful of wines with his name on them. I recently looked at the Malbec’s and here’s a look at the newly released whit wine in the line. The LEO 2013 Torrontes was produced and bottled by Valentin Bianchi. All of the fruit for this wine was sourced in Mendoza. The Estate vineyard sits more than 750 meters above sea level. This offering is 100% Torrontes. The grapes were harvested and sorted manually. Fermentation took place over 10 days in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. A month of bottle aging followed prior to release. 9,000 cases of this wine were imported into the US and it has a suggested retail price of $16.99. A bright nose filled with Lychee fruit, bits of almond and subtle vanilla bean fills the nose of this wine. The palate is even keeled and dry with stone and tropical fruit flavors accompanied by tingling spice notes. Wisps of zesty citrus lead the finish, along with a touch of limestone, and white melon flavors. This wine works extremely well on its own but is also a versatile food wine. I enjoyed it with a Lemony Lentil Bisque (see below for recipe) and was knocked out by the combination.

The folks at Valentin Bianchi make a wide range of quality wines in an array of price points and styles. Leo Messi chose wisely in aligning himself with them for his line of charity-driven wines. This Torrontes like the other wines they produce is a food friendly offering. It offers complexity and depth for the money as well and most importantly delicious drinking. So buy a bottle of Leo Torrontes and in addition to your taste buds doing a happy dance, you will be helping a good cause.

Lemony Lentil Bisque

2 Carrots 2 Celery Stalks 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 ½ cups Split Red Lentils 1 Large Potato, peeled and cubed 1 Large Spanish Onion 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin 3 Bay Leaves ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper 5 Cups of Vegetable or Chicken Stock 10 Minced Garlic Cloves 2 Teaspoons Parsley Flakes ¼ Teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest 2 Un-waxed Lemons Salt & Pepper to taste

Warm the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Toss in chopped carrots, celery, onion and potato. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened. Stir in garlic, lemon zest, parsley, cumin and cayenne pepper; cook for 5 more minutes. Add in the lentils and stir so they are well integrated. Add in the stock and bay leaves. Slice the lemon in half and add it to the pot. Bring it to a boil, lower it to a simmer, cover it and allow it to cook for about 40 minutes until everything has softened. Remove bay leaves and lemon halves. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the soup. Using an immersion blender or food processor, completely puree the soup. Add salt if needed and black pepper to taste as well as additional cayenne pepper if you want more heat. Cook an additional 5 or so minutes and serve. Serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe adapted from The Ultimate Soup Bible.