I would never have thought to pair a red Bordeaux wine with Asian food, but some times you have to let your imagination run wild. Contemplating dinner at the new Ani Ramen House I was thinking that authentic Ramen has rich rustic flavors and so a rich rustic wine was in order.
The Wine: Chateau Macay, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France $$
The Food: Exciting, authentic, delicious Ramen and other delights
The Place: Ani Ramen House, Montclair NJ
And when you consider Bordeaux you might as well say like California, many different styles of wine made in this region.
The wines of Bordeaux are highly regulated with a mind boggling system of classifications. They are not labeled and sold by grape inside, but by terroir, the place where they are made. This makes choosing a Bordeaux for a particular meal quite a feat. But looking at the grape composition of a certain wine helps in pairing.
But would any red wine pair well with these delicate Pork Buns, kakuni (braised pork belly), shredded cabbage pickled cucumber with spicy miso mayo?
These thoughts filled my wine as I perused the bottles in my cellar. I first considered a few whites, yet I kept thinking red would be better for our first dinner at Ani Ramen. But it had to be a gentle red with agrarian flavors like the food we were about to have.
It could not be a big Cabernet rich Bordeaux fit for a Porterhouse, no the wine had to be mostly Merlot and some other grapes for complexity and character. I spotted a Côtes de Bourg and found that it was 65% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Malbec. I thought this just might be perfect with the smoothness of plummy Merlot, the softening herbal aromatic Cab Franc and still some Cabernet Sauvignon for structure and bite accentuated by the lively Malbec. Complex, intricate, yet not overwhelming. It just might be perfect.
My hunch proved true as we savored the Pork Buns and again rewarded as the wine intermingled nicely with the crisp fresh flavors of this Ani Salad, made of kale, crispy tofu, carrot & red onion with sesame ginger dressing, especially the ginger.
On to the main event. Ramen’s signature characteristic is, whether meat, fowl or vegetarian, the rich flavorful broth that I think cries out for a red wine.
Bordeaux with a Ramen like this Mazeman Brothless Bowl, filled with chashu chicken, chashu pork, kakuni, ajitama, & scallion? Yes, surprisingly perfect.
Chashu Pork - braised pork shoulder
Chashu Chicken - marinated minced chicken
Kakuni - braised pork belly
Ajitama - marinated soft-boiled egg
With Tsukemono Ani's signature pickled market vegetables on the side ready to be mixed with the Ramen.
This particular wine, Chateau Macay, Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, France, from the cooperative Val d’Orbieu is an exceptional value. We enjoyed the 2011. The 2010 vintage won a Silver Medal at the Vinalies Internationales Wine Competition (2013) and a Gold Medal at the Concours des Grands Vins de France (Macon, 2013). The highly regarded Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Guide 2014, said “Beautiful vibrant red. Fruity nose redolent of ripe blackcurrant. The palate is supple, fresh and idiosyncratic, driven by more of the same delicious aromas. The finish introduces a hint of firmness that guarantees good ageability.”
We hope to see this wine and others from Val d’Orbieu widely available in the US soon.
We can't wait to get back to Ani Ramen House, it is so good.
401 Bloomfield Avenue