Matching wine at Hashi’s cooking class
Lately, I’ve been doing lots of food and wine matching with Japanese food. I really enjoy the challenge of matching wine with this food. It’s not an easy thing to do, what with all the competing flavours coming at you, from the salty, umami-ish qualities of soy to hot wasabi and sweet soy, the food really can be a melange of flavours, certainly not a straight up Sunday roast, that’s for sure.
I love Japanese food, whether it’s sushi or noodles, I never say no. So, when I was invited along to Reiko Hashimoto’s Hashi Cooking class in Wimbledon AND asked to match wines with the menu, I jumped at the chance. My friend Luiz (thelondonfoodie) is a huge fan of Reiko’s classes and thought it would be fun to get me to match some wines. My task was to give the other attendees a list of wines I thought would match and each could choose one to bring one along.
First up, my suggested food and wine matches:
- Beef Tataki with Creamy Sesame Sauce paired with a rosé
- Gyoza paired with champagne
- Scallops with Creamy Spicy Sauce on sushi rice (my favourite) paired with sauvignon blanc
- Cold Noodles with Spicy Aubergine paired with an Italian carmenere
I left it fairly open as to which wines to bring only specifying the type of wine. I was curious to see what the others would bring as they were all food bloggers. I brought along a 2008 carmenere from northern Italy, Vigna Dogarina from Campodipietra, Veneto. I was intrigued by this wine because most carmenere I know comes from Chile so this was going to be a new experience in food AND wine tasting. I’d been told this wine was also known as cabernet franc in Italy and it did certainly have some of those cab franc characteristics. Red chili pepper, paprika, talcum powder even on the nose. It was more of the same on the palate, a quite savoury wine with a definite red chili profile. I’d paired it with the cold noodles and spicy aubergine. It didn’t quite match the spicy aubergine but was a good match with the dashi soy broth that the noodles were sitting in.
The surprise pairing of the night was the champagne with gyoza. Everyone was a bit taken aback by the novelty of having a champagne in the middle of the meal but why not? I know of some people who have champagne throughout the entire meal. Luiz had brought a non-vintage champagne, Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top. We all loved the bubbles and with the gyoza, it was a pleasing match, bubbly and a fresh fruitiness cleansing the palate.
The favourite dish of the evening was the scallops with spicy mayonnaise. I had suggested a sauvignon blanc and someone had brought along a 2008 New Zealand S. blanc from Marlborough Hills. Green peppers and vegetal aromas at first, the wine had ripe tropical fruit notes on the palate, peachy lychee with a citrus finish. It worked so well with the wine, a very harmonious blend, it was a pleasure to eat and drink the two together.
Dry rosé is always a good bet if stuck for a match and the French rosé the 2009 Les Restanques, was everything you expect from that part of the world. A refreshing minerality, red fruits and roses on the nose and palate, it wasn’t overwhelmed by the beef tataki and had a fruity cherry finish to it.
All in all, an immensely enjoyable evening, learning to cook Japanese food and matching it with wine. I think everyone had their minds opened to the possibilities of wine with Asian cuisine, going beyond rieslings and off dry whites that are the usual suspects when it comes to Japanese food and wine pairing. But don’t get me wrong, I do love those rieslings!
A big thanks to Reiko and to Luiz. For a complete write up on the food side of the evening, check out Luiz’ post on the nights cooking.