Big In Japan -or- Japanese Food And Red Wine? -or- The Thrill Of Geyserville

I seem to be spending a lot of time writing over on West Coast Wine Net today, which I’m really enjoying, but I’m trying to remember that I’m supposed to be writing here too! So I’m going to do another cross-post (though I really recommend that you go check out the full thread, it’s one of the most engaging conversations about zin I’ve ever been privy to, and it’s certainly proof positive about the passions this varietal can provoke. You can find the full thread here …)


Anyhow, here’s an excerpt of what I was most recently on about:


“…And on another note, I certainly never meant to suggest that bbq, or anything else of the sort, is somehow not serious food; to the contrary, in fact, i think ALL food is serious food! (For example, I rather think discussions about pie and coffee for breakfast rank as some of the most important culinary conversations one can have!) What I meant to suggest was there seems to be a theme out there that zin somehow goes with the “fun” foods, the “down home” foods, the “picnic” foods, etc., but you don’t see it too often discussed in the context of pairing with dishes and styles that fall outside of these “disclaimed” arenas …

As to what foods would I pair with zin, wow! That’s a BIG question … so many zins, so much food … I’ll have to think on that a bit. But I’ll give you what I think is a good example from my own recent personal history … I recently had the great pleasure of hosting a very well-known chef from Japan here in the Monte Bello tasting room (in the context of a mid-week “trade” visit), and he told me that our Geyserville is very popular with chefs in Japan because it’s one of a seemingly very few Californian reds that pair well with Japanese cuisine! I thought this was fascinating, and it certainly flies in the face of what I would think of as “conventional wisdom” as regards pairing with Asian cuisines in general, and Japanese cuisine in particular. Certainly sake is an obvious pairing, or a dry beer (Asahi, Sapporo, etc.), and I actually once had a wine rep totally win me over by pairing a very dry, nutty sherry with sushi, but red wine? You just don’t hear that very often for Japanese cooking … But his contention (and I am paraphrasing here) was that the second and third-tier layers of spice and herbality, combined with a leaner body weight and more presence from the acidity, made it a rather ideal companion …”

Categories: Food & Wine Pairing, Viticultural Salmagundi, Zinfandel

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