One from Column A, Wine from Column B
But this rule evolved in the West - primarily in Europe and its cultural descendants in the New World - where wine has been a part of daily life for thousands of years, and where local wines and local foods have grown up as natural partners.
In our modern, globalizing world where you'll find McDonald's in Tokyo and Indian restaurants in Idaho (try Madhuban on the west side of Boise), it may be time for a more international view of matching food and wine.
So let's take a quick virtual journey into the culinary delights of Asia. From India through Southeast Asia and on to China, Korea and Japan, these aromatic and often spicy cuisines are deservedly popular around the world, but they can be difficult to match with wine.
Here are some basic principles I've found over many years of enjoying Asian fare:
What are your favorite drinks with Asian fare? Join an online discussion on this topic with fellow wine-and-food fanciers in our Food Lovers' Discussion Group, http://www.wineloverspage.com/cgi-bin/sb/index.cgi?fn=2. Or, if you prefer, send me E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note; but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine.
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Crisp and crackling Vinho Verde
There is nothing "green" about this clear straw-color wine ("Vinho Verde" or "green wine" alludes to its youth, not its coloration). The style made from the Alvarinho grape (equivalent to the Albarino of Spain) is generally considered best, and costs a few dollars more than those made from less sought-after grapes. This one is an excellent example, offering fresh, crisp melon and citrus aromas and flavors. It's not quite fizzy but what wine tasters call "petillant," with a slight carbonation that shows itself as a pleasant, refreshing prickliness on the tongue. A fine seafood wine, it also goes nicely with a wide range of spicy Asian fare. U.S. importer: Admiral Wine Merchants, Irvington, N.J. (Feb. 25, 2001)
FOOD MATCH: Surprisingly good with Bahn Xeo, a spicy Vietnamese crepe, folded over stir-fried chicken and broccoli.
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Essential Wine Tasting Guide
If this dilemma sounds all too familiar, I invite you to take a look at Glen Green's trademarked new Essential Wine Tasting Guide.
Glen, a wine lover and professional wine maker in Australia and France, has created a remarkable little quick-reference guide to serious wine tasting in a slick, portable format that literally slips into your shirt pocket, wallet or purse. Slip it out, open it up, and it unfolds to reveal 34 mini-pages of compact wine-tasting information including more than 1,000 specific descriptions to help guide you in the analytical tasting of wine. Just 3 1/2 by 2 1/4 inches, it's about the size of a business card, and it comes with a clear plastic holder to keep it like new.
I was so impressed that I asked Glen's permission to offer the Essential Wine Tasting Guide for sale on Wine Lovers' Page. It's $8.95 plus $2 shipping and handling in the U.S., $4 in other countries. If you would like to take a closer look, the Guide is on display at http://www.wineloverspage.com/cgi-bin/click.pl?url=www.wineloverspage.com/guide.
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
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Vol. 3, No. 6, Feb. 26, 2001