Malbec is a variety of grape that originated in Southwest France but is now also grown in Argentina. Mascarpone, an Italian sweet cheese, is similar to cream cheese. You’ll have extra poaching liquid, which you can use over berries or other fruit. It will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.
Bring the wine, port, water, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and allspice to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pears and simmer for 10 more minutes. Refrigerate the pears in liquid for 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.
Using a whisk, whip the mascarpone and cinnamon until fluffy.
To serve, remove the pears from the poaching liquid and place each pear half on a plate with a spoonful of whipped mascarpone beside it. Garnish with basil chiffonade. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the poaching liquid around each plate.
*To chiffonade is to cut into narrow strips. Stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly and then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife.