Those who read this blog know how much I enjoy the pairing of spicy Sichuan cuisine and Riesling. While some perhaps find it typical, and even boring(!!!) and take it for granted as they explore more adventurous combinations, last night once again reminded me of what deliciousness is all about - when you join authentic Asian cooking with a high-quality German Riesling. I am not a German nor a Chinese, yet every time I lean on those pair of friends, it feels like home. If anyone is still not doing this, DO they MUST!
Wine: 2004 Dönnhoff Riesling Kabinett - Germany, Nahe. Cost: $20.
Food: Mapo Tofu (silky tofu, ground pork, chili and bean sauce, scallions, fresh roasted sichuan peppercorns) and Spicy Tomato Fish (basa fish fillet, Chinese cooking wine, ginger, tomato, roasted chili peppers, sichuan peppercorns). Cost: $10.
Though I had a number of Riesling disappointments in the recent past, this time the wine was excellent. At only 9% alcohol, the two of us finished the whole bottle. It was a quintessential Riesling - perfectly balanced with fruit, acidity, minerality, and petrol. Not unique, but very enjoyable, and at $20 a bottle well worth it. Kabinett (slightly sweet), but pleasantly so due to mouth-cleansing counter-effects of acidity. It comes from the region of Nahe, in Germany - a lesser known wine region than other German regions such as Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, and Pfalz - but I continue to be impressed by the lesser-known Nahe. The dishes were very spicy, enough so that I thought a Spatlese rather than Kabinett Riesling could have been a slightly better match.
Each time I think of mouth-watering Sichuan cuisine, my stomach begs my mind for Riesling. Before I know it, my mind makes my body to the cellar where my pet Rieslings look more inviting than diamonds. Some may call it foolishness - I call it love!