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Sauvignon and Soy Sauce - a taste trip from west to east

25 November 2012, by Sebastian Nickel

Sauvignon de l'ArjolleNow and then, I like to cook something Chinese. At least that’s what we call it although I rarely follow a Chinese recipe. With respect to the ingredients, Asian cooking would certainly be more adapted to: Ginger, soy and shoyou sauce, sweet and salty, red peppers and garlic… Together with all kinds of fresh vegetables according to the season, carrots, leek, mushrooms and all kinds of cabbage, stir and fry on hot fire in a wok together with some beef, marinated chicken or tofu, noodles for consistency or rice to absorb the juice.

Sometime it seems rather difficult to match the Asian tastes with wine. Many reds will quarrel with the salt of the soy sauce or the piquancy from peppers and ginger. Rosé wine might be fine, but we only think about it in summer, except some full-bodied and heavy rosé wines from southern France you may as well enjoy in winter.

Some two or three weeks ago, I stumbled over a bottle of Sauvignon blanc from the Languedoc, or that is to say from the Côtes de Thongue, that was patiently waiting in my fridge to be opened – a wine from Domaine de l’Arjolle 2011 (their wines are actually an essential part of my cellar for more than 10 years). I quickly wrung the neck of the bottle and cracked the screw cap to pour the wine in my glass. Freshly cut grass, lemon peel and some green apple, crispy and light on the palate, with grassy aromas and some bitterness on the final – simple but efficient.

At the table the wine doesn’t lose its composure, manoeuvring neatly between de different flavours of the dish. Its freshness handles the sweetness of the dark soy sauce, while its airiness soothes the heat of the pepperoni. As a surprise, the saltiness of the dish emphasizes sweetness in the wine, which I did not notice before, and matches even better with my homemade Asian food.



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