MÁS Tapas y Vino and DH Lescombes
Recipe by Marc Quiñones · Photos by Stephanie Cameron
This year, edible takes you behind the bottle with chefs from around the state who are creating inspired pairings with New Mexico wines. Each chef creates a dish inspired by the wine and delivers a fresh recipe to our readers.
In this issue, we sit down with Marc Quiñones, executive chef of Hotel Andaluz and MÁS Tapas y Vino in Albuquerque, to talk about New Mexico wines and creating menu pairings. NM Wine delivered bottles of DH Lescombes 2012 Petite Sirah to Quiñones, who created a recipe to match the full-bodied wine.
Tell us about the philosophy at MÁS when pairing wine with tapas.
When I think of food, I think of wine. I have been around wine my entire career and consider myself fortunate to have worked in many places where wine was just as an important part of the menu as the food. Small plates, big flavor, and wine is the concept behind MÁS.
How do you navigate that connection of flavors between food and wine?
Whenever I am planning my menus, I try to consider the diner and the whole experience. When thinking about the ingredients on the plate, my mind automatically goes to, “What wine will pair well with this?” We spend a lot of time educating our staff to be able to have a conversation with the guests and help them pair a wine with their dinner. Just like food, wine has a lot of soul—I really feel you need to experience wine like you do food, taking the time to understand the flavors and how they go together.
What’s your process around creating dishes to pair with a wine?
John Cuviello, our director of food and beverage [at MÁS], and I really work together to create our menu. His wine choices will inspire directions I take on the menu, and my food will inspire choices he makes in his wine selections.
How important is it to have the chef involved with the wine program?
It is paramount for chefs to be involved in the wine program if you want to be taken seriously as a major player in the restaurant industry.
In your experience, is it hard to convince New Mexicans to drink New Mexico wine?
I do a lot of traveling and bring the flavors of New Mexico to surrounding states; and along with the food, I bring the wine. New Mexicans are very proud of their food and products and really love to support what is created here and that includes the wine.
Do you enjoy wine on a regular basis? If so, which are your favorite styles?
Absolutely! My favorite style is pinot grigio because it is fruity, a little tart, and a little sweet. It is a natural pairing for my style of cooking with big flavors, vinegars, salts, garlic, and herbs.
Tell us about your pairing and why you chose this dish for the DH Lescombes 2012 Petite Sirah.
As soon as I cracked open the bottle, I got the flavor of cherries and immediately thought of the elk on our menu. From there I built a dish: cherry, cracked black pepper, herbs with potato, parsley, a little bit of lemon, and the texture of the tempura carrots. All these things coming together works well with the properties of the wine.
Is there anything else you would like edible readers to know?
MÁS Tapas y Vino will be at the Albuquerque Wine Festival May 26–28 at Balloon Fiesta Park. We will be serving several of our dishes and attendees will be able to create their own pairings.
Get Chef Marc’s Cherry Elk Tenderloin recipe, here!