Derek Black is the general manager/wine director at Rattan Pan-Asian Bistro + Wine Bar on Eldridge Parkway. We asked him to tell us what kind of wines he likes with Asian food and for his list of "5 Wines that Will Blow Your Mind."
DB: Call me crazy, but I'm going to do something that usually isn't done — I am going to recommend some red wines that pair well with pan-Asian cuisine. The stereotypical choices with spicy Asian cooking are white wines with a little residual sugar, such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc. But I like red wines better than whites. My motto is: "If you like red with fish, then go with it." There are no rules in a knife fight — or wine drinking.
2004 Scott Harvey "Inzinerator"
Amador County, California
Scott Harvey is best known as the architect of the incredibly trendy "ménage à trois" blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet. His latest inspiration is a Zinfandel blend called "Inzinerator." It's got loads of warm raspberry, blueberry and white pepper spice notes on the palate. It goes beautifully with teriyaki beef or Asian-style baby back ribs. The "Inzinerator" is new to the market, but here to stay.
2005 Tait "The Ballbuster" Shiraz
Barossa Valley, Australia
Bruno Tait's 2005 "The Ballbuster" Shiraz is huge. The blend is 80 percent Shiraz, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Merlot. It's aged 12 months in American and French oak. Potent in its buzz factor (15.8 percent alcohol), it is a boutique-style Barossa red that is very drinkable now. I like to pair this "fruit bomb" with dishes like our satays and the "red curry basil beef."
2005 Amisfield Pinot Noir
Central Otago, New Zealand
In a post-Sideways era, Pinot Noir has become the cool choice for veteran and novice wine drinkers alike. New Zealand Pinots are gradually gaining a place among the best in the world. This Pinot Noir is very different from the Santa Barbara Sideways Pinots. It tastes more like a Syrah. This wine is perfect with any kind of salmon.
2001 Fontodi Flaccianello Della Pieve
One of the first 100 percent Sangiovese Super Tuscans, this huge red wine combines the old-world characteristics of Sangiovese with contemporary wine-making techniques. Highly structured and full on the palate, the wine opens up with black cherry spice and a pleasant toasty oak. I like to pair this monster Tuscan with our "Vietnamese garlic beef" or tuna teriyaki. It's a real treasure of a wine that I wish I could drink daily.
2001 Château d'Yquem,
2001 Château d'Yquem (or basically any vintage) is the nectar of the gods. Château d'Yquem is in a class of its own. At d'Yquem, only the best grapes are used, and it takes one entire vine to produce one glass of wine. It's the perfect wine with any fruity dessert.