For this installment of pairing Rosewood Estates wines, we went for the 2008 Natalie’s Süssreserve Riesling. Rated a (2) on the sugar scale, Neil immediately suggested an Asian or Indian dish. We settled on butter chicken, one of our favourites. I wanted to try a new recipe, and Neil wanted a curry of some sort to try out his homemade pear chutney. Over to Neil for the wine portion of this post:
Generally, off-dry or sweeter white wines are a perfect match for the spices and heat of many ethnic foods. While a nice beer goes incredibly well with a curry, if you’re in the mood for wine, Riesling or gewürztraminer are a good bet. With Riesling, you need to be careful not to select something too dry. This varietal has a beautiful range of styles, and can be very crisp and acidic. Delightful; but at that end of the spectrum the subtlety would be destroyed by the heat of a curry.
This particular wine has some of the süssreserve – unfermented Riesling juice – added back to the wine just before bottling. This provides added character, natural acidity and of course sweetness. On the nose, heavy stone fruits predominate, with typical bright notes of lemon. The mouthfeel is a little creamier due to the higher sugar content, and that slight “oiliness” plays off the Indian spices quite nicely. The wine has an acidic backbone, so the sweetness stays balanced. Typical of a cooler-climate region, the finish has a slight flintiness, with lingering acid.
How did the pairing work? Very well – and the wine would work well on its own as an aperitif. (As a bonus, the stone fruit married to the pear chutney and spices; so all in all, the four parts of this meal were most complementary.)
The dish we paired it with was Food Network Canada’s Cooking Club Challenge dish for September – No Butter Chicken.
Preparation time: 7 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
2 to 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup water
1. Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. When it starts to get hot, add the ginger and onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until onion is soft.
2. Add the tomato paste, spices and salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes, turning the heat down to low. Add the chicken and stir well to coat it and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the brown sugar, yogurt and water, turn heat up to high and cook for 7 to 10 more minutes, till chicken breaks easily when pressed with a fork.
For our next installment of pairing Rosewood Estates wines, we went for the 2008 Semillon. Rated a (1) on the sugar scale, we wanted something that would marry with the off-dry nature of this wine. I prepared one of our favourite “regular” dishes – lemon pasta with prawns. The dish has a touch of spice, generous garlic; and of course lemon juice (and zest) and large prawns.
This is a gluten-free version, using brown rice pasta which worked fine – it was a little gummier than regular pasta but this meant the sauce stuck to the strands of spaghetti nicely Over to Neil for the wine portion…
The Semillon, with the lively notes of lemon grass and slightly creamy mouthfeel countered the spice, while at the same time complementing the palate. Playful on the nose with melon, white peach, wildflowers. On the palate, a touch of minerality, but definitely medium-bodied with fruit and zest all the way. The finish is long enough to sit well with some spice, and the lemon makes a natural fit for the prawns.
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