WIDE WORLD OF WINE- Pairing Wines with Ethnic Cuisine

Intrepid food adventurers or those far from the tastes of home find challenge when selecting a wine to accompany ethnic flavors.

A wine for these authentic meals can be as simple as a direct cultural pairing, such as sake for sushi. Alternately, some real pleasure can be found in breaking traditional ties and forming cross-cultural alliances. Sommelier at The Grotto Justin Tichy says, “The fun is in seeing how they work together.”

Tichy rises to the challenge of finding a wine to pair with ramen (usually hot soups are beer dishes) by suggesting an Old World Pinot. Lola, a French-influenced California wine from the North Coast, is “a small production wine, not priced like a rare gem, and very approachable.”

Sushi needs something delicate—a rose or a traditional champagne--to support the clean flavors of the fish so Tichy suggests the Jean Charles Boisset No. 69. According to Tichey, this blend of pinot noir and burgundy has a little more backbone than blanc de blanc. “I can just picture myself drinking this,” Tichy says, “eating sushi and being very happy.”

Though Peru has incredible culinary range, for the best wine pairing Tichy suggests looking next door. For good neighborly relations, Tichy recommends ZOLO, a 2013 Torrontes from Mendoza, Argentina. The tropical aromatics complement the citrus in ceviche without creating an overload of acidity.

Braised beef dishes such as saltado and tacu tacu have “Malbec written all over them,” Tichy says. “There’s nothing like a big old plate of beef and a little Malbec that’s got something to it.” Tichy introduces ANKO Malbec, 2012. From one of the highest cultivation areas in Argentina, the elevation gives the wine earth-driven flavors to help savor the beef. This world-traveling Malbec can pair equally well with rich Turkish flavors.

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