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wine with Korean food


Madge
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I have tried searching for this but haven't been successful. I am going to a friend's on the weekend and he is serving a Korean menu. What wines would be appropriate?

Thanks

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Not to be a pooper, but soju is the best accompaniment to the spicyness of Korean food. Also, rather generic beers such as pale ales tend to work (as do Korean beers such as Cass, OB, or Hite.) I have never found a wine that has held up to the spices, but low-mineral gruner veltliners and drier rieslings have fared OK.

For sojus, I like Green Soju and Jinro Chamjinisulro Soju. The regular Jinro is pretty vile...

Soju should be drunk very cold and in small glasses. Always pour for those with an empty glass; never pour for yourself. And cheers is "Gun-bae"! (Though, more appropriately, they also say "one-shot".)

Edited by lambretta76 (log)
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I have tried searching for this but haven't been successful. I am going to a friend's on the weekend and he is serving a Korean menu. What wines would be appropriate?

Thanks

First of all, what will he be serving? Seafood? Meat? Vegetables only? Barbecue?

As general, all-purpose choices for Korean food, you might try an Alsatian Riesling or Gewurztraminer, particularly off-dry examples, which would balance salty flavors (soy, kimchee, etc.). An off-dry Chenin Blanc might work too.

If the meal is going to veer towards meat, you might try a plump, juicy red like a Zinfandel. Stay away from tannic wines, though (Cabernet Sauvignon and such)--the hot and salty flavors in the food won't pair well.

Of course, Lambretta is right too--you might go beyond wine and try soju, if you can find a top-quality example in time.

Edited by StevenC (log)
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the above suggestions hit the spot, just want to point out that if you're going for that "juicy" red, zinfindel or not as stated in the above suggestion, make sure the alcohol level is low as you can find, because 16% alcohol and spicy food will set your mouth on fire. :blink:

a nice village Beajoulas would be nice. Or perhaps Roederer Estate Brut Rose if you want bubbly.

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At some of the nicer galbi joints in Seoul, they serve wine. I remember having a rioja that went nicely with simply grilled galbi-sal. But your friend is probably serving something other than grilled meat, or he wouldn't have said "Korean Food", he would have said steak! :biggrin:

If you can get your hands on some soju, like lambretta said, I think it would make a nice touch to the dinner. Jin-ro soju (or other brands), is considered best-matched in Korea with samgyeobsal - grilled fatty pork belly (my mouth is watering just thinking about it...mmmm, cook the kimchi on the grill in the pork fat..mmmm) but is also drunk with pretty much anything. The taste is...acquired, but if you do it properly like lambretta says, ice cold and drunk in one shot, it hardly matters. I cannot, in any case recommend Korean beer, unless the stuff available in the US is significantly different than the stuff in Korea. In my opinion, it tastes like chemicals.

I have fond memories of dining with Koreans, and they'd ooh and ahhh over the fact that I could drink soju..."Isn't it too strong for you?" they'd ask. People, you should see what I drank in university! :biggrin:

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adding to the riesling, gewurz and Beaujolais items ...

-Chinon, or other Loire reds. they have the smoke notes for bbq, but not the weight of zin. we personally tested this theory within the past week or so.

-pinot gris, esp. Alsatian.

-NV Champagne or other young, straightforward bubbly. or a German brut sekt.

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My SO and I had a significant discovery last week regarding a Korean dish and wine...... Dak Kalbi and Manzanilla go absolutely wonderfully together. The manzanilla complemented the chicken and spice and the dish actually lifted the Manzanilla as well!

I should point out that a good complement was NOT what we were expecting (because of the usual shtick about high alcohol and spice not mixing), but having poured out a bit too big a measure of manzanilla for an aperitif - we decided to try some with the Dak Kalbi.

Well, gosh, golly and wow! were our reactions. :shock:

Admittedly, it wasn't so posh and refined/salty a manzanilla (just the standard Bodegas Hidalgo) so I guess a fino would also do the trick. But it's what we're drinking next time Dak Kalbi is on the menu! Or any Kojuchang-heavy dish. Something about the sherry and the Kojuchang just seemed to work really well......

[added - I guess since Chorizo is really nice with fino, that the spice with flor-sherry must work OK....I guess....]

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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