Umami in Asian Cuisine
Umami in Asian Cuisine can come from many foods.
Picture from umamiinfo.com

Just recently, I wrote a post about umami. Before reading further, I highly suggest that you take a gander in order to understand what it is. Umami, one of the flavors that our taste buds can detect, can be tricky to pair with wine, especially with Asian cuisine. Take a look at the map that I cropped from umamiinfo.com (for the whole map, or a bigger view, click on the link). Many of these foods have unique tastes that are all quite earthy, fishy, acidic, sour, or fermented. Since that post, I have had several people ask me what wines can be paired with Asian, umami dishes. I live in an area filled with Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, and Korean restaurants, so I thought that a post was warranted.

The following top 5 list is of wines that pair well with Asian, umami dishes. All the wines are dry, acidic, citrusy, and earthy. They all need these flavors in order to balance out the unique tastes found in many Asian dishes.

  1. Sparkling Wine (Champagne, Brut, Prosecco, Cava)- bubbles help move the flavors around on your palate.
  2. Riesling (Germany, New York)- lemon, lime, pineapple, honey, and ginger
  3. Grüner Veltliner (Austria)- lemon, lime, peach, honey, and white pepper
  4. Viognier (Virginia, France)- tangerine, peach, honeysuckle, white jasmine, and sometimes vanilla
  5. For you red drinkers, Pinot Noir (Burgundy, Oregon)- flavors can vary, but Pinots are light bodied and won’t take away from the flavors of the food.

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