Who knew matching Korean food with wine could be so challenging! It is; but with the right knowledge, you’ll be throwing back orange wines like a Korean pop star (disclaimer: unfortunately I don’t know any famous Korean people, other than Kim Jung Un of course, but I’m sure he doesn’t drink alcohol).
If you’re in Melbourne, you’re in for a treat. The upcoming Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will be taking one of Australia’s hotter than hot wine makers, the darling of every sommelier worth his salt, Brad Hickey of Brash Higgins, and matching his wines with the current epicentre of Korean Food in Australia, Sydney’s Moon Park.
- Food texture is just as important as flavour profile when matching Korean food with wine
- For example, you’ll notice many Korean foods have a real crunch
- These textures need to not only compliment the wine, but challenge it as well
- For this reason, textural white wines that are ‘orange wines’ are often best. Ned described this as a ‘phenolic texture’
- They aren’t orange in colour of course, rather they range from golden hues to onion skin brown.
- In the mouth, their texture, tannin and body can sometimes resemble a red wine, albeit with the flavour of a white wine
So what the hell is an orange wine!? I’m glad you asked.
Before explaining that, you need to understand how most modern white wines are made. Grapes are crushed, and straight away the solids are separated from the juice so wine’s colour remains pale.
Orange wines are basically white wines made like red wines, with prolonged maceration of crushed grape, skins and seeds.
Orange wines are now finding themselves on the coolest restaurant wine lists because many sommeliers believe they go better with food. The big problem however, some critics believe this prolonged maceration makes these wines more susceptible to ‘faults’. And in some cases, these faulty wines are being on-sold unbeknownst to the public. Not all orange wines of course, just some. Which is why it’s always good to stick with producers that are highly regarded, such as Brash Higgins
But back to Korean food and wine matching
- The best red wines to match with Korean foods; think Beaujolais (grape variety Gammay), South Africa’s hero grape variety, Pinotage and some Pinot Noirs (Ned recommends Northern Tasmania, Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula). Pinots with too much full flavoured fruit are not recommended, such as those from New Zealand’s Central Otago.
So there you have it – lots to take in. If you are in Melbourne for the food Festival (February 28-March 1), I would definitely be buying a ticket to the Brash Higgins/Moon Park masterclass. Lots of other tasty masterclasses to check out as well. Tickets available here.