Pairing wine to the heat of chile peppersHi Rook,
Thanks for the great question about what to drink with spicy (i.e. HOT) Korean or Chinese dishes.
For our latest book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, we interviewed dozens of America's best sommeliers, and posed the same question to them. Here's what two fans of Korean food told us:
* Rajat Parr, master sommelier, The Mina Group (San Francisco): "I love Korean food, but it's hard to have any kind of wine with it unless you have a Vinho Verde or something that's really high in acid -- like a Kabinett Riesling from a really lean vintage, or Txakoli or high-acid Pouilly-Fume..."
* Jill Gubesch, sommelier, Frontera Grill (Chicago): "...With the grilled sweet and spicy beef that you cook yourself, I like Qupe Syrah Bienesseto from the Santa Maria Valley because it is not too heavy."
As for some of the hotter Chinese cuisines that pack a punch, e.g. Szechuan, you can count on off-dry Alsatian white wines (e.g. Gewurztraminer or Riesling) to tame the fire of the lighter dishes, or rose or even Beaujolais with spicier red meat dishes.
(And given that the subtitle of our book indicates that we recommend other beverages besides wine, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the cooling powers of beer!)
Andrew & Karen
Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page
Co-Authors, WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
Winner of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award