Monday, December 10, 2007

Wine and Korean Food.

Chalk and cheese up there ^.

Jancis Robinson has done a couple of articles on Korea recently and one dealt with the issue of matching wine to Korean food. The first point worth making about this is the rather dismissive way in which we Westerners deal with the food of the East. We have this tendency to lump the cuisine of huge and diverse nations into a catch all phrase and so talk about Chinese food and Korean food. Whilst it is fair to see certain ingredients and methods in each countries cuisines when it comes to wine matching the method becomes somewhat redundant. Do we talk about matching wine to French food or to Italian food? No, we talk about matching wine to individual dishes. The match for Boeuf Bourguignon and Bouillabaisse are not the same. So, the match for Bibimbap and Bulgogi will not be the same. There is one other point worth making about the matching of wine and Korean food and that is the prevalence of Banchan. We have found the perfect wine to drink with our Dweji Galbi and then we have sides of crab, pancake, creamy salad and of course kimchi. That lovingly selected bottle of New Zealand Pinot is suddenly a little overwhelmed.

Can a match be made then? Of course, if we talk about individual dishes. For your grilled meats, bulgogi, galbi et all, you are looking for a fruity, low tannin red, the aforementioned NZ Pinot Noir being a good example of this.

For seafood we need to be looking to a thirst quencher with brisk acidity. Rieslings will fit the bill perfectly and may have enough acidity to cope with some of the spices. Bear in mind that overly spicy food, like the bul dak, are going to be too much for any wine. Go for the beer or soju.

Finally, this website here, recommends sherry with Korean tapas. I can certainly see that the strength of flavour of a good sherry might be able to stand up to some of the bolder flavours. So, head over to Les Vins Maeils an pick up some sherry, we need to be supporting the pioneers!


The Jancis Robinson article was based on information from Jeanine Cho Lee, soon to be Asia's first Master of Wine. It is great to have a Korean born woman pioneering in the Asian wine world and as someone who is studying for the WSET Diploma, considered one step behind Master of Wine(heh, get me!), I have nothing but respect for her commitment and dedication to her studies. Being outside of the wine industry and in a developing country, in terms of wine, makes it all the more difficult. Fair play to her.

1 comment:

Big Bliss said...

I don't know what Bibimbap is but I want some. That is possibly my favourite new word in quite some considerable time.