October 23, 2006

A Wine for Wagamama’s Chili Beef Ramen – Combinations #7

By Andrew Barrow In Food and Wine, Wine Notes
Coincidentally just a couple of days after selecting this dish as the basis for Combinations #7 the opportunity arose to eat at Wagamama; of course I selected this dish to see how it is supposed to be. At the time I ordered a large glass of white to accompany – an Australian off-dry blend of Gewürztraminer and Riesling which went beautifully. Full-bodied, powerful of flavour and the sweetness a superb match to the dish. Sadly I forget the producer, but it was probably an on-trade only bottling anyway.
Back home I hoped this Viognier from Australia would make another brilliant match. It didn’t – quite. While the body and the vibrant flavours were of a type to balance out the fierychilii in the food and match the teriyaki and sweetchilii the wine’s inherent dryness let the side down; but only just.
White WineDuncan MacGillivray Beau Sea Viognier, 2005, Adelaide Hills, Australia.
Available from Oddbins for £9.99gorgeousoues Australian take on Viognier. Lime is the basis but there is so much more – tropical fruits and more than a dollop of fresh, crisp apple flavours. It has had a touch of oak but this just adds a touch of creamy complexity rather than denuding the wine of fruit. A single vineyard wine which is listed on the Oddbins website as Longview Viognier. The grapes were sourced from Longview’s vineyard at Macclesfield in the Adelaide Hills. Screw-capped. Alcohol 14%.
It is a lovely wine, perfectly balanced and just right with the dish, rather than a perfect match (a touch more sweetness required).
Scribblings Rating – 90/100
MacGillivray Viognier

  1. Warren Edwardes November 2, 2006

    Gewürztraminer and Riesling are good conventionional choices. In fact my own favourite wine to drink with curries used to be Torres’ Viña Esmeralda a Muscat / Gewurz blend.
    Some residual sugar is good as chilli locks into sugar and vice versa and the two take each other out – sort of man to man marking – and the fruit goes round the sweetness in the wine and the spices go round the chilli aking the edge off it. And the to another mouthful of chilli rame or whaever ..
    But I find that flowery grapes are just a bit too yucky after the first glass and a half. Too flowery and not fresh enough.
    So experimenting I mixed a Viña Esmeralda with a day old Cava I had in the fridge to cut the florals with acidity and a bit of sparkle. . And there was born my firm Wine for Spice.
    All my wines are naturally second fermented and semi-sparkling. So half the gas of a Cava or Champagne or a lager but natural fine bubbles unlike a lager which has gas injected. So less bloating and less dare i say burping than a lager.
    So my recipe is;
    serve beer cold
    naturally semi-sparkling
    no oak
    no mouth drying tannin
    good mouth watering acidity
    balanced alcohol – about 12 degrees
    sweetness and fruit rising with the spiciness of the dish.
    Warren Edwardes
    Wine for Spice

  2. Andrew November 2, 2006

    In your case – a recipe for success!

  3. Grapefan January 2, 2007

    It’s been a while since the last “food and wine” posting so I thought I’d see if I could get something going in 2007 by asking a question.
    Down in the depths of Sussex my friend has got hold of some reindeer, bison and zebra (don’t ask!) and has invited us round for a meal. Being a fellow wine lover we want to make sure we get the right balance with what we drink. So the question is what wines will go with this combination?
    Any thoughts (apart from don’t eat the zebra)?

  4. Andrew January 2, 2007

    blimey Grapefan – how obscure can you get! ;-) Where does one find bison or reindeer in the UK? I’ll have to investigate on the wine front…

  5. Grapefan January 3, 2007

    I don’t know exactly where the animals come from – maybe it’s best not to know……………
    On the basis that reindeer would be like venison Hugh Johnson’s pocket book suggests a big red or big white such as a Hunter Valley semillon. As I heard a “blog” on semillon recently and it had persuaded me to try one, I think that’s the white sorted unless you have another suggestion of course.
    As far as the bison is concerned, having worked in Poland for almost a year I’m tempted to buy some Zubrowka vodka as it contains grass bison have p****d on (!)
    But the zebra is still a challenge…..

  6. Grapefan January 7, 2007

    Well, I’ve eaten the zebra, bison and reindeer and lived to tell the tale. As all had plesant and relatively neutral flavours – that is they were not gamey – the pairing of a Lost Block Hunter Valley semillon and Verandah pinot noir from Chile went down fine.
    Would I eat them again? Yes, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to track them down.


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