In our quest to discover the perfect pair in our first food and wine series, we braved the sometimes daunting sweet, sour, spicy and umami flavour combinations of chef Sepial Sim’s Northeastern Asian…

In our quest to discover the perfect pair in our first food and wine series, we braved the sometimes daunting sweet, sour, spicy and umami flavour combinations of chef Sepial Sim’s Northeastern Asian cuisine at Allium.

‘What you love to drink is never better than when it’s drunk with what you love to eat.’ – Rajat Parr, Secrets of the Sommeliers

One of Decanter’s top non-vintage Champagnes and highlighted as one of the ‘Best Wines of France 2020‘ by the prestigious La Revue du Vin de France, the Jacquesson 742 was a brilliant partner with the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken). The crispy, fried food perfectly complemented the effervescence and minerality of the Champagne.

There were two clear crowd favourites. Firstly, the 2019 Anselmo Mendes Loureiro, a fresh, vibrant iteration of Vinho Verde, paired beautifully with the jellyfish summer rolls and cape bream pani puri. Loureiro is known for its citrus-like notes and mineral elegance.

Next, the 2018 Pesquié Le Paradou Grenache, was a phenomenal match with the pork belly and gimbap. Fruit-forward and with ‘silky-textured red-berry notes’, this was the wine of the night! Most guests guessed the pricing at over R300. But, at almost half the price, it is a must-have on any table.

Whilst the Loureiro won the white pairing, the 2017 Trimbach Riesling from Alsace was rated as the wine to drink a whole bottle of – with or without food. It’s easy to see why Jancis Robinson described it as the single most admired dry Riesling made anywhere.

Lighter in style when compared to other Riojas, the 2017 Faustino Crianza appeared broodier, more intense and with more tannin and structure than the Paradou Grenache. We can’t wait to open a bottle with jamón, cheese and tapas!

Tasting notes:

Jacquesson, Cuvée 742 Extra-Brut NV
‘The NV Extra-Brut Cuvée No. 742 (2014 base) has really opened up since I last tasted it about a year ago. The Pinot is so expressive in the No. 742, a Champagne built on texture and resonance. Dried pear, dried flowers, plum and spice fill out the wine’s frame effortlessly, but the 742 truly shines with a bit of air, which seems to accent its freshness. Readers looking for a fine grower Champagne to drink now will find much to like. The blend is 59% Pinot Noir (from Aÿ, Dizy and Hautvillers) and 41% Chardonnay (from Avize and Oiry). Disgorged January 2019. Dosage is 1.5 grams per liter. Drink 2020-2030.’ – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 94/100 (Aug 2020)

Anselmo Mendes, Muros Antigos Loureiro 2019
‘The 2019 Loureiro Muros Antigos Escolha, in bottle about two months when tasted, comes in with 1.5 grams of residual sugar, 6.7 grams of total acidity and 12% alcohol. Continuing a trend, this seems just a bit fresher and crisper than last year’s version. The grapes are all sourced from the Lima Valley, the area most famed for Loureiro. Drink 2020 – 2029.’ – Mark Squires, Wine Advocate, 90/100

Pesquié, Le Paradou Grenache 2018
‘More fruit-forward than the 2017, the 2018 Vin de France Le Paradou Grenache combines notes of strawberries, raspberries and cherries on the nose, then backs that up with lots of silky-textured red-berry notes on the medium to full-bodied palate. It should drink well through 2023.’ – Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate, 88/100

Trimbach, Riesling 2017
‘A sleek, minerally white, with well-cut acidity defining flavors of white peach, pine and preserved lemon, showing a rich hint of passion fruit coulis. Fine and creamy, offering a lasting finish. Drink now through 2027.’ – Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 91/100

Faustino, Crianza 2017
‘Limpid ruby. Bright, spice-accented aromas of black raspberry, cherry and black pepper. Light-bodied and energetic on the palate, offering zesty red and dark berry flavors and a hint of licorice. Finishes clean and brisk, with no obvious tannins and a hint of jamminess. Drink 2021-2024.’ – Josh Raynolds, Vinous, 88/100


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