Thu 25 May 2017

Marrying the Exotic – Wines For Kimchi, Ceviche & More!

By

Once upon a time, we would have dismissed the idea of pairing spicy food with wine and suggested members opt for a beer or soft drink instead…

…but as David Williams says in his article for Societynews (‘What doesn’t grow together might just go together’), part of the fun of wine is to experiment and find out which foods work well with our latest wine of choice.

Share the passion!
If you find yourself a sure-fire winner, do let us and fellow members know by posting a picture of your winning combo on social media and using the hashtag #wines4spice

Wine writer David Williams believes there's fun to be had 'from the deliciously creative chaos of the contemporary global food scene.'

Wine writer David Williams believes there’s fun to be had ‘from the deliciously creative chaos of the contemporary global food scene.’

As a nation we are notorious for pinching and then adapting other people’s cuisines to call our own and at the moment, our desire for the increasingly eclectic seems to know no bounds. Often these cuisines are from non-wine-producing nations, making the old adage of ‘what grows together, goes together’ a bit redundant. More often than not, what tickles our tastebuds in terms of sensory hits, also spell death to happy wine matches.

So what should we do?

David’s article gives some great pointers for wines that should work with our penchant for global fusion cooking and we’ve put together some suggestions in the Exploration pages of the website too, including a special mixed case.

So, whether you’re a fan of the subtle yet assertive flavours of Japanese sushi, fiery and fermented Korean kimchi, the sweet and sour zing of South East Asian cooking, or the intense vibrancy of Peruvian ceviche; if the perfumed spice of Eastern Mediterranean cooking is on the menu or if you are just pimping up some traditional ‘fast food’, you could do worse than equip yourself with our mixed 12-bottle Spice Box case of wines which should have something for everyone.

Because we want people to explore and enjoy, the case has a special price too – £95 instead of £106.80 – a saving of £11.80.

Korean kimchi - a bridge too far for wine? Not at all, we say! Look to Alsace...

Korean kimchi – a bridge too far for wine? Not at all, we say! Look to Alsace…

Finding the perfect partner
When I asked our buyers for wine suggestions to go with the weird and wonderful-sounding dishes that David name-checked in his article, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear some conflicting views on the subject.

Food and wine-matching is guaranteed to get a few people hot under the collar around here and when it concerns the cuisines in David’s article (and nations which don’t produce wine), you have to rip up the rule book and start riffing on the key ingredients in the dishes and flavours in the wine instead.

As everyone knows, ultimately, what works well is a matter of personal taste, but some common ground was reached and we came up with some additional thoughts on the subject to those espoused by David Williams, which I thought members might be interested to hear.

Adding in my own personal preferences (how dare I?!), we did eventually decide amicably upon the suggestions printed in the News, and the broader selection of wines now appearing in the Exploration pages of the website.

Phew! Who would have thought it could be so difficult?

Oh, and If you don’t have access to a tasty takeaway to get hold of such exotic dishes, by the way, we have corralled a couple of recipes together to recreate your own Friday-night favourites at home.

Here are some of our buyers’ thoughts on the subject of finding the perfect bottle:

Marcel Orford-Williams

Marcel Orford-Williams‘In my opinion, the rule of thumb when it comes to pairing wines with these kinds of cuisines is that you’re best off opting for wines that are not too subtle and certainly not too mature either. With my last Thai take-away we had the Coffeles’ Soave which was thoroughly delicious.

I was once taken to a sushi place in Reims and we were served rosé Champagne from a number of different Champagne houses (I think someone was trying to make a point!), I seem to remember Roederer Champagne Rosé with a piece of Kobé beef was utterly sensational.

‘People talk of riesling working well with these kinds of dishes – they can, but don’t waste too grand a bottle, its delicate subtlety would be lost, in my view. Simple wines work best and something like Louis Guntrum’s Dry Riesling 2015 would be smashing with sushi.

Gewurztraminer is the other go-to grape when it comes to curry (its name actually means ‘spice’), but again, don’t go too grand and go for dryer styles – Trimbach, Beyer or Hugel would be my choice, or even an edelzwicker (Alsace blend) like our Society’s Vin d’Alsace, perhaps. I have very fond memories of a post-tasting dinner in a Bradford curry house with our Alsace winemakers, where we managed to get through practically an entire case of gewurztraminer between us!’

‘Don’t forget to think pink when it comes to eclectic cooking! These wines are incredibly versatile and cope really well with spice.

Pierre Mansour

Pierre Mansour‘For Eastern Mediterranean food, obviously we have a some lovely Lebanese wines that would be a perfect match, but I also would opt for rich Spanish Rioja like Castillo de Viñas, or something based on the monastrell grape such as our Society’s Southern Spanish Red.’

Joanna Locke MW

Joanna Locke MWWhen it comes to pairing wines with sushi I can’t help but feel those whites with the freshness of the nearby sea work bestalvarinho or Vinho Verde from Portugal’s Atlantic coast, or traditional French seafood partners, Muscadet or Picpoul de Pinet.

‘I remember a conversation with Luis Pato, pioneering winemaker of Bairrada wines, when he told me about the culinary and historical connections between Japan and Portugal and how Portuguese wines are becoming increasingly popular because of their ability to pair with global cuisines. “Thai food requires wines that are fruity and lowish in alcohol, and the Japanese are very enthusiastic about our wines. There are a lot of similarities in our cuisine. Both nations eat a lot of fish and pork and though both use spices, the cuisine is essentially quite simple.”

Read more about his thoughts on the subject in our interview with Luis on our website

‘It makes perfect sense and provides some kind of explanation as to why Portuguese whites seem to work with spicy, global cooking. The reds, on the other hand are equally versatile, I think, with riper Dão vintages an excellent choice for Eastern Mediterranean dishes and both reds and whites adaptable to dress up or down for posh fast food!

Another spice tamer, particularly if coconut milk is involved, is chenin blanc. Even quite delicate-seeming wines like the Demi-Sec from Domaine Francis Mabille can hold their own surprisingly well against a bit of chilli. And the Cape’s chenins or chenin-based blends with a bit more oomph to them, can work with Asian spicing or even Caribbean cooking.

Fish and citrus is nothing new for us but in the currently fashionable Peruvian ceviche genre with its blistering lime tang calls for an Aussie dry riesling or Greek assyrtiko

Fish and citrus is not new for us but in the currently fashionable Peruvian ceviche genre, with its blistering lime tang, an Aussie dry riesling or Greek assyrtiko are called for

Sarah Knowles MW

Sarah Knowles MWFusion cooking and global cuisine was big down under long before it hit our restaurants and the up-front zesty, ripe-fruit flavours you get from Aussie dry riesling chime beautifully with sweet-sour and hot nature of many of these dishes.

Full-throttle spicy shiraz, or a GSM blend is a no-brainer for Eastern Mediterranean cooking. But I also like the soft, fruity flavours of Pedroncelli’s Friends Red Sonoma County, which would be a good standby for this style of cooking as well as posh fast food.’

We hope that you have fun finding your own perfect pairings – don’t forget to share! #wines4spice

Joanna Goodman
Communications Editor

Visit our Exploration wines page

Snap up ‘The Spice Box’ Case for £95 (instead of £106.80)

Read David Williams’ article for Societynews

Categories : Miscellaneous

Leave a comment