Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thai food pairings?

Last weekend a few of us went out for dinner at an old favourite, Thai Basil in Sunnyvale. This used to be a tiny hole-in-the-wall on the end of Murphy Street in Sunnyvale. It was so successful that the owner opened a much larger second branch in the nearby Town & Country Village. Now that mall is being demolished and rebuilt, the original Thai Basil has expanded into what was formerly a particularly seedy looking bar called the Miramar. This is the first time we been there since it reopened.

The obvious question arose: what wine to take? What goes best with Thai food? Conventional wisdom has it that the best match for many asian cuisines is an off-dry Riesling, but although Felton Empire was once famous for it's Rieslings I don't think there's much planted here any more. Besides, I'm not a huge fan of Riesling or of off-dry wines in general. As Stephen Colbert might say: dry or sweet, pick a side, we're at war. Red wine didn't seem appropriate and although a nice sparkler might work there are very few that would really stand up to a sweet or spicy dish.
Unfortunately my cellar is somewhat lacking in dry whites these days. A 2007 Storrs Sauvignon Blanc looked promising; I also picked out a 2004 Varner Home Block Chardonnay.

The Storrs is from the San Lucas AVA, which is in Monterey County. It's a light, fruity wine with lots of the typical grapefruit flavours as well as melon, gooseberry and something tropical - guava perhaps. There's a slight sweetness that showed up particularly when paired with a bowl of Tom Yum Soup.

The Storrs didn't last long, so we moved on to the Varner. In theory this should have been a good pairing; it's a full bodied, rich, creamy Chardonnay. The oak has integrated nicely after a couple of years in the cellar; there even seemed to be a hint of petrol on the nose like you'd expect from a Riesling. But in practice the sweetness of the sauces, nuts and coconut, and the spice of the chili and basil somewhat overpowered the wine. With hindsight I think a Fogarty Gewurztraminer would probably have been a better choice; I'll save the Varners for something more appropriate.


Wes Barton said...

Black Ridge Viognier?