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About this Episode

Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit the Cantonese restaurant, Empress by Boon.  Owner and operator Chef Ho is a Michelin-starred chef with over 36 years of experience at several of the world's most renowned Asian restaurants. In this restaurant, he combines traditional techniques with fresh ingredients from local purveyors to produce dishes that are both contemporary and with the essence of traditional Cantonese cuisine. Grant Wood offers suggestions on which wines to pair with Cantonese cuisine. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2017 Rudi Pichler, Ried Achleiten, Smaragd, Wachau

  • 2009 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion, Pessac Leognan

  • 2016 Royal Tokaji, Red Label, 5 Puttonyos, Hungary

Transcript: Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules!

A podcast where we review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier

Hello Grant, great to have you back for another great wine list.

GW: Hello Robert!

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 wine lists can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, 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.

Empress by Boon

Empress by Boon is a new SF hotspot with a very affordable $98 pre-fix menu where the menu focuses on modern takes on traditional Cantonese fare prepared with local ingredients by Chef Ho. Here we get to explore a unique wine list that is traditionally difficult to pair with wine as the cuisine isn’t quite tied to the norms of food and wine. Here we get to go outside the box and think about pairings in a new light.

Let’s kick off with cocktails as you I love to do so. Right away, I love the “Through the back door” which features mezcal, Volcan Reposado tequila, orange, Maraschino, St. George bruto Americano which would be just the right lubricant I look to. The Pirate’s Gospel featuring Zacapa 23yr rum, lime, crème de banana, honey, and Peychaud is another libation that wouldn’t take much convincing of myself either. These are also great options when thinking of beverages to pair with their faire of cuisine as well.

Let’s dive into the list, though, since this is a place where traditional wine pairing is notoriously atypical. With this type of cuisine, I think bubbles are truly your friend here. So right away I would go for the Jean Vesselle, Oeil de Perdrix, Grand Cru from Bouzy. I love this little village in Champagne which I believe has some of the best Pinot Noir at the best value. Anytime I see Bouzy on a menu, I go for it.

Moving on to whites, there is a great selection of dry and off-dry whites that really complement various dishes on their menu. Starting white the dryer side, I love the 2017 Rudi Pichler, Ried Achleiten, Smaragd from Austria’s Wachau. This is a beautiful wine full of soul and savor and is a perfect match for exploring something new.

For something off-dry and what will be sure to go with a wide range of their cuisine would be the 2019 Joh Jos Christoffel Erben, Kabinett, Urziger Wurzgarten, from the Mosel in Germany. These wines have such balance, freshness, and just the right amount of sugar to make these wines sing with the spicier side of the spectrum.

Let’s go to reds where I think this is a great place to talk about what is a great opportunity to get creative. From the lighter perspective, I like the 2015 Weingut Franz Keller, Spatburgunder from the Mosel which will have just the right amount of lightness, freshness, acidity, and body to go with their mains.

Next we have to talk about a hallmark on their menu which is Bordeaux. There is some benchmarks that I would expect to see. Names like Mouton Rothschild, and Margaux, are here but I’d go for the 2000 Ch. Kirwan which is a beautiful wine with some age. A great splurge wine would be the 2009 Ch. La Mission Haut-Brion from Pessac Leognan which is a revelation and a true classic to go with what this food demands.

To finish, a beautiful, sweet wine is what I would want here so why not go for the 2016 Royal Tokaji, red label, 5 puttonyus from Hungry? It’s the best way I can think of to tie off a beautiful meal here.

RT: Grant, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Empress by Boon’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try your great suggestions.  

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like Grant 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 quickly 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.

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

Thank you.










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