If you are a wine expert or a long time Italian wine drinker, please look away. Most wine drinkers won’t describe a wine as “versatile”. However, with hot asian spices, you do need something interesting to go with. Unless, you go with a beer or tea, they always work and work well.
There are 2 schools of thoughts on pairing with very spicy dishes; some would match with an off dry to “relieve” the spiciness, others would match with a high alcohol, high tannin red for a “head on collision”.
I have a different objective. It’s not arm wrestling here. I ain’t looking a wine with favours to co-exists with, nor compete with the spice. I am hoping for something that can add to and enhance the spiciness.
At Crittenden Estate, I found the best match today. Crittenden Estate first planted in 1982. They are also pioneers of wine tourism in Mornington Peninsula, which inspires us MP Cottages to start our holiday accommodation business today. Besides making wine, Crittenden runs a restaurant and accommodation onsite. We dined and stayed at the Crittenden Estate, had a great time. We’d recommend quality competitors, they are one of them.
Back to their wine, Crittenden Estate makes a Vermentino. Let’s begin with our proper wine notes after tasting:
“The Crittenden Estate Pinocchio Vermentino offers lively aromas of pear, white peach, and pink grapefruit with subtle notes of citrus zest. It is a refreshing medium body that could enjoy on its own as aperitif, perfect for MP summer. On the palate, it’s medium acidity and slightly on the riper side with flavors of grapefruit fresh almond. Perfect match with garlic prawns, grilled octopus, goat cheese or even fennel-spiced pork sausages.”
And we put it to a real test ….
What’s harder than pairing a wine with a Sichuan spicy tapa? Try 4. In the featured image you will see the “4 small plates” in our test. They were made with fennel, pepper, aniseed, cinnamon, clove, chili pepper, broad bean chili paste, shallots, ginger, and garlic. Enough? They aren’t dishes made so spicy which numb your lips and tongue, but trust me they have enough. The Vermentino dance in my mouth, I could taste both the wine, the spice and the freshness of the ingredients. It was like magic. I went back and forth around the four dishes and the wine, each time it gave me something new, delicious, savoury and very enjoyable.
I would love to have more. At the time of writing, the Vermentino is no longer on Crittenden’s website. Dear Crittenden (Rollo, Zoe, Garry), if you see this, I hope you haven’t pulled the vines and please continue making it.