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About this Episode

In this episode, sommelier Grace Hood joins Robert Tas to demystify the wine list of the Buddakan, an Asian-fusion restaurant, and explore the wines that complement Asian food. Choosing a wine to work with Asian food always presents a dilemma for the discerning diner, but Grace explains which wines work, what they work with, and why they do. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Gewürztraminer, François Schmitt Alsace, France 2016
  • Riesling kabinett, Egon Müller Mosel, Germany 2020
  • 2016, Beatrice & Pascal Lambert Chinon from the Loire Valley, France


Transcript: Buddakan


RT: Hello and Welcome back to another episode with CorkRules! 

A podcast where we review a Wine List from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, Wine Educator and Certified Sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you back!

GH: Hi Robert! I am so stoked to be here! Love what you’re doing with CorkRules and excited to chat wine lists with you

RT Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created Corkrules to demystify wine list’s because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

So Grace - last time to tackle a classic steak house. This episode we’re taking on new territory, a NYC Asian fusion staple - Buddakan. Do they even have wine?

GH: Yeah so this is going to be a really interesting discussion, as we are dealing with Asian food, which initially didn’t have any wine pairings, as Asia traditionally and historically does not produce wine, but rather sake and soju which are made out of fermented rice kernels. Many wine regions produce wine that will complement their food.

For example…

GH:Big bold Italian reds pair with their hearty meat and pasta dishes, crisp mineral driven French whites pair with their decadent poultry dishes etc. So the question is - what wine is going to compliment the flavors of Asian food, which tend to have spicy, unique umami-type flavors to them. The wines will have to not only cut the spice but maintain a balanced palate as to not overpower the nuances of Asian food. 

RT: Spot on. I myself struggle with how to pair with Asian cuisine. How are you thinking of guiding us?

GH: The traditional and most well-known pairs are Gewurztraminer and rieslings. Both these wines have high acid that cuts through the decadent and rich qualities of some Asian dishes, like noodles or Currys.

And these two wines are also very well suited for Asian food due to their slight sweetness - with their residual sugar content, they are able to counteract the spiciness, and bring a really beautiful balance to most Asian dishes.

Two that stuck out to me on the Buddakan list were the GEWÜRZTRAMINER, François Schmitt Alsace, France 2016 as well as the RIESLING KABINETT, Egon Müller Mosel, Germany 2020

RT: Real interesting recommendations Grace. Will the resiling and gwertz work with all Asian food? What if we have a dish with meat in it?

GH: Great question - Rieslings and gwetraminers definitely pair well with Currys, noodles, fish, poultry, soups, salads. But when you get to your heavy meat dishes you can absolutely pair them with classic reds, b/c we’re going to be dealing with those fatty rich cuts of meat that will need the tannins of red wine to stand up to them.

A great medium-bodied red would do the trick for most of the meat dishes and one that stood out to me is the Jonata Syrah 2016 from the Central Coast. Syrah is my favorite red grape besides pinot noir, and it is such an underrated varietal.

When most people think of Syrah, they think of spicy Australian Shiraz, which is still the Syrah grape, but when it’s grown and produced in the southern hemisphere, it takes on this zingy peppery acidic quality. However, Syrah in the northern hemisphere tends to be more inky and velvety and rich! Delish :)

RT: Terrific! This is great context setting for Asian food. Now Grace, sometimes people have a budget in mind..  any great value wines you’d point us to? 

GH: Totally - on the whites, the 2020 SPÄTLESE Reisling from Selbach-Oster Mosel, Germany would be a great buy. Approachable price point for a high-quality German Riesling from a well-known producer.

On the red side, I would go with the 2016, Beatrice & Pascal Lambert Chinon from the Loire Valley, France. Chinon for those who are not in the know is Cabernet franc that is produced in the Chinon Village in the Loire Valley, which is the north west area of France. Now what makes Chinon different from other cab francs, is how light it is! A lot of the cab francs you’re going to get from CA are going to be big bold inky tannic and very dry. However, the cab francs from Chinon are much more light and delicate and floral. They’re an excellent pairing for Asian food b/c you’ll still get all those beautiful herbaceous notes from the dish, but the tannins won’t overwhelm the aromatic nature of the cuisine.

RT: Fabulous suggestion. I love learning about the different varietals and how different they can be growing in a different place. Now Grace, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

GH: You got it. Right off the bat, I would suggest champagne! Champagne is the most unique wine pairing in the world, in that it basically goes with any dish! It is light enough to complement the flavors of a delicate dish like raw oysters or a decadent cheese, but also is dry enough to stand up to the acid in a fatty cut of meat. On the Buddakan list for a special occasion, I would choose KRUG Grand Cuvée - I was fortunate enough to attend a Krug tasting over the holidays and it re-ignited my love of Champagne.

RT: Lucky you

GH:  If we’re looking to ball hard with a red wine, I would recommend the 2009 MARGAUX from Château Rauzan Ségla in Bordeaux. Since it’s a Bordeaux with a little age on it, it will be mellow enough not to overpower the nuisances in the lighter dishes, but also have enough backbone to complement the fat and acid in the meat dishes.

RT: Yum. That’s one of my staples. It is a great wine that usually flies under the radar.

Grace, you nailed it today. Thank you for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Buddakan and Asain food wine pairings.  

To our audience, Thank you all for joining us here on Corkrules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@corkrules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quick as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @corkrules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.




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