As I was enjoying my Japanese dinner party last week, I stumbled across a food and wine pair that was so odd, it actually worked. The wine was Choya Umeshu, which is an almost disturbingly sweet wine containing real plums floating within. Authentically Japanese, it's housed in a strange but useful bottle sealed with foil and with a pour spout. I wasn't sure why this would be necessary until I tasted it.
This is not a wine that you want to drink in large quantities. It is, however, excellent served in a small sipping glass with a side of spicy pickles. The tart acidity of the pickles combined with their spicy red pepper kick creates an excellent balance for the sweet plum wine that has a viscosity similar to that of thin simple syrup. The sweet, spicy, tart combination provides tons of fun of your palate, while the acidity does an excellent job slicing through that heady sweetness. Both the wine and the pickles are tasty enough on their own, but together the combination is truly inspired.
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