Wine Dharma

DharMag May 2012 Bibimbap Power Ranking

Bibimbap Power Ranking. A guide to successfully pair wine and Bibimbap Bibimbap is a zen style dish: all is perfectly sliced and arranged in a circle around the rice Wandering around Seoul’s streets you’ll come across a myriad of restaurants. There is something for all tastes, ranging from those luxurious Italian-fusion restaurants that serve classic dishes revisited according to the Eastern flair, to the small bistros where they cook specialties from all over the world, not to mention those that offer the great Imperial Cuisine, albeit, in the end, the most intriguing thing is the simple street food.

Korean rice dumplings are a typical street food you can find in Seoul Korean rice dumplings: it's not so easy to choose a wine for these mini hot bombs You can not help but stop to snooping around the food carts, the grills full of skewers or the small niches where the Lords of the Frying are doing their oily daily duty. The best places to visit if you want to dive into a sea of street food are the central Myeongdong road and the Gwangjang Market. It’s like being sucked into a pulsing vortex: fragrances, flavors and lights wildly follow each other, punctuated by the shouts of the vendors: the best (culinary) experience you can do in Seoul is to lost yourself among the rows of carts in a unknown street and being guided by the crowd flow, tasting everything and getting in touch with the authentic flavor of this country. As usual, however, keep an eye on the piquancy!

A typical Korean eatery, don't be shy and enter for a bowl of dumpling soup It is in places like these that you will find big surprises Let’s explore every corner, knock on all the doors and fill your mouth with those small, apparently innocent, dumplings hiding a kimchi super nova, but, please, don’t be fooled by appearances, nor be discouraged by odors and flavors like garlic’s sea, boiled cabbage typhoon or chili storm. We ate the best dumpling in a tiny hut with rice paper walls and a spooky purple neon sign hanging outside the door. Around the towering skyscrapers were reflecting the frenzy lights of the night, but in that humble room an old woman has taken us back into time: all was silent, perfect, as it was 1000 years ago.

Bibimbap and Korean cuisine paired with Italian wine, do you need a guide? As the Korean flag, Bibimbap is an image of the Yin and Yang The staple food is Bibimbap (비빔밥), you’ll find it everywhere and this is the basic recipe: boiled rice in the middle of the bowl surrounded by a lot of sliced vegetables, like spring onions, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, mushrooms and if you like some meat or seafood. All is seasoned with sesame oil, a sprinkle of the inevitable soy sauce, a hint of Gochujang (고추장) and Doenjang (된장), fermented bean paste, and then the whole is sealed by an egg. The taste is fantastic, deliciously light and crunchy, with sweet, green and savory hints perfectly laced by the umami of the Doenjang. The hot sauce adds that irresistible touch of masochism chili lovers can not do without.

Which wine should we pair with Bibimbap?

Forget about the tannins, because the greasiness is bone dry and also bitter (sesame oil). And about bold reds too; be careful with oaked wine, which don’t get along with the spiciness. Nevertheless we need a steady, structured and above that has a salty thickness: with these premises the only choice is a white.

What do we have in the pot?

Gianfranco Paltrinieri's Lambrusco paired with Chinese and Korean food With the help of these two bottles you can solve a lot of wine puzzles Saltiness given by the seaweeds-soy sauce combo; sweetness coming from scallions and garlic, and finally a flood of vegetable suggestions. And at this point, you could object that we could safely serve a Chianti with Bibimbapor maybe a briny, electrifying Lambrusco such as the ones of Gianfranco Paltrinieri or a cutting, brackish Bardolino from Le Fraghe winery. Yes we could, but the most subtle connections get triggered by the white wine nuances, while reds tend to overpower the herby shades of the Bibimbap.

11. Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze 2010, Nino Franco, Veneto

An amazing Prosecco. The symphony of scents of citrus, pear, apple, mango, aromatic herbs such as marjoram and bay leaf, magnolia, gardenia and rose, gives body to this wine. There is no tannin, but bubbles (fine) and flavor are more than enough. Excellent also for a hot Bibimbap: the bubbles will help to tame the fire.

10. Soave Classico Le Bine de Costìola 2012, Tamellini, Veneto

Korean dumpling, mandu, paired with white Italian wines Mandu are the most common and delicious snacks you will find Garganega is the grape for excellence when it comes to the culinary Cinese-Korean-Japanise triad. Smoothly warm, with structure and persistence and floral richness that goes well with vegetables, fish and eventually meat. Both saltiness and acidity are declined with elegance, always driven by puffs that float between broom and citron peel. Great price.

9. Colli Orientali del Friuli Friulano Vigna Bocois 2012, Ronco delle Betulle, Friuli Venezia Giulia

If the previous wines were flirting with the Bibimbap, this one takes off the gloves to face it nastily: its extremely consistent and herby saltiness is composed of many layers, good for all the vegetables present in the dish. Seaweeds, peaches, golden damsons, toasted hazelnuts, lime, are smoothly blended and they create a charming harmony with the umami.

8. Erbaluce di Caluso La Rustìa 2012, Orsolani, Piedmont

An elegant wine, blasting mineral flashes of chalk and baked flowers, with all the qualities that make this variety so remarkable brought to the peak. A warm, supple wine yearning for a tasty vegetarian dish: the glycerol is perfectly dosed and the balance coming from the combination of the warm, fruity nuances—thyme, acacia, grapefruit, peach, lily—and both seaweeds and spring onions is refreshingly engaging. Try to avoid an excess of spiciness that would spoil a so fine wine.

7. Vernaccia di San Gimignano Sanice 2012, Vincenzo Cesani, Tuscany

Such a spirit depth and power is not easy to find in a wine, especially in a white wine, but this bottle is one of the brightest member of the Vernaccia family. The fruit is meaty and titillating: you can chew slightly backed damsons and mashed mango along with an incredible minerality, pushed by a sharp, mellow acidity that evokes a sea of brooms, making the wine exciting by itself, but which becomes stunning when combined with soy sauce. Also in this case, given the neat smoked/spicy hints due to the oak, be careful with the piquancy.

6. Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Il Coroncino 2012, Fattoria Coroncino, Le Marche

Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2010, Marisa Cuomo with Korean food Fenile 30%, Ginestra 30%, Ripoli 40%, from over-ripe grapes From Staffolo with fury here we have one of the best Verdicchio of all Le Marche region. It manifests its great personality through the yellow color. Its vest is golden bright, the flavors are an overwhelming rainbow of glittering flowers and fruits, like rose, broom, pineapple in daisy infusion, peach, lemon peel and above all the sun that dries the water of the sea on the rocks. The pairing with Bibimbap is justified by the salty and aromatic—rosemary and sage—thickness that slowly fades away into the soy sauce’s darkness. Fabulous.

5. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Vigna di Capestrano 2012, Valle Reale, Abruzzo

The most original Trebbiano for taste, authenticity and courage of all Abruzzo, is a complex and structured wine, unfiltered and with a intriguing bouquet. Dried yellow flowers, medlar, tea, peach jam, barley immersed in an infusion of rock herbs. The body is solid as a rock chiseled by the wind and claim a dish as multifaceted as Bibimbap.

4. Ribolla Gialla Think Yellow 2012, Primosic, Friuli Venezia Giulia

Citrus, lemon peel and linden blossoms are making love, a sheaf of aromatic herbs spread freshness around, a zip of peach and then again that citrus blade that keep teasing your tongue along with blossoms of elder flower and hawthorn. Its slim and dynamic profile is the ideal to fit all the nuances of a Bibimbap seasoned with a touch of hot sauce.

3. Costa d’Amalfi Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2012, Marisa Cuomo, Campania

Castellada orange wines paired with Korean Bibimbap and street food The orange wines from Castellada winery are superb: finesse, elegance and strong flavors This white wine keeps getting better and better every year. The austere, passionate magnificence with which can charm you is amazing, it’s useless to try to resist. Body and elegance due to endless suggestions: peach and acacia, hazelnut wrapped in a hawthorn lake, a refreshing touch of baked pear hatched by a creamy, mineral melody that surfaces from time to time. The acidity is perfect, juicy and continues to impress for its tyrannical beauty. It is not cheap, but not many wines can say to have a soul.

2. Alto Adige Valle Isarco Riesling Kaiton 2012, Kuen Hof, South Tyrol

A monumental, golden Riesling that opens up with a powerful, zippy mineral rush to the nose. The body is a granitic massif from which flow shimmering streams of grapefruit, chalk, gunflint, tangerine peel, guava, stone, lavender, green tea and green apple that give the wine a crunchy persistence. A dry and crystal wine that for its spartan beauty reminds the Bibimbap: simple, with no frills yet delicious.

1. Collio Pinot Grigio 2009, La Castellada, Oslavia

And the winner is… Pinot Grigio! The color is hypnotic: amber with coppery blades dancing through it. It’s a mountain of saltiness just waiting to be scaled. On the palate displays a galvanizing fruit—ripe peaches, golden plums, loquats—sharpened by a stinging salty sensation, ennobled by a breeze of rock that borders on pine resin, and under that Mediterranean landscape, if you dig, you can catch a charred scent of backed herbs and slowly withering flowers. The undisputed champion of our Bibimbap Power Ranking: you will hardly find a better wine that suits the Bibimbap’s seaweeds.

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