Here's How You Can Master The Art Of Food And Wine Pairing, According To Experts
Today’s diverse world of quality wines is unmistakably larger than ever.
From the revered Old World terroirs such as Burgundy in France to the extreme climes of New World regions like Mendoza in Argentina; from the volcanic soils of Sicily, Italy, to the cool climates of Tasmania, Australia, and even up-and-coming regions like Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture.
And though a good wine could easily be appreciated on its own, it is best savoured when paired with food, say pundits. It boils down to chemistry, where certain elements in both the wine and food interact with each other to enhance certain flavours and textures, thus unlocking layers of enjoyment that would otherwise be left undiscovered.
In fact, this is as easy as making your way to Resorts World Sentosa where there are diverse dining options, all of which feature robust wine programmes.
Over at modern European restaurant table65, acclaimed Dutch celebrity chef-owner Richard van Oostenbrugge heartily concurs that when it comes to food and wine pairing, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: “Food and wine complement each other, there’s a synergy between both that makes the whole dining experience better,” he affirms. Opened for less than a year, the restaurant has already found its way into the Michelin Guide Singapore, earning its first Michelin star in the process.
Of course, accompanying table65’s innovative cuisine is a robust wine programme that consists of an extensive 1,000-over bottle collection—made up of classic gems from Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as New World icons. There are, to boot, a diverse selection of 32 wines by the glass that cover a wide range of wine regions, as well as a constantly evolving wine pairing menu option that diners can also request to be personalised.
Assistant operations manager and restaurant sommelier Vikneshwaran Koonnusagaran explains how he approaches his wine pairing menu: “We try every dish that comes out of the kitchen, then take into account every element of the dish, be it its acidity, sweetness, fat, how rich the accompanying sauce is, and even the cooking methods, as everything and anything can affect the wine pairing.
“We try not to fix a specific wine to pair with the dish, and instead focus on finding wines with certain complementing characteristics to the dish and then recommend a wine based on the guest’s flavour preferences.”
One of the restaurant’s signature—and most challenging—pairings features the intense veal tartare. The strong-tasting meat is layered with smoked herring, sour cream beluga caviar and bone marrow in clam juice. Both chef and sommelier noted that the team had to try a lot of wines to go with the dish before finding that only dry Rieslings with a medium to full body works; and the Alsatian producer Trimbach is a favourite to pair.
(Related: How Singapore Restaurants Keep It Interesting In A Competitive Dining Scene)
For Every Taste
As the manager of food and beverage operations, Takayoshi Aoki has the enviable job of steering the wine and beverage directions of Resorts World Sentosa’s culinary establishments. Based on each restaurant concept, Aoki sources not only the best but also more interesting wines from up-and-coming regions and of uncommon grape varietals when curating the wine list for each outlet. Aoki shares that he not only seeks to offer unexpected food and wine pairings but is also “always looking out for the chance to introduce quality wine from all over the world”, be it Austrian Gruner Veltliners, the sweet wines of Tokay that can rival Sauternes, or native Sicilian grape varieties such as Nero d’Avola and Nerello Mascalese.
(Related: Why Master Of Wine Jeannie Cho-Lee Loves Her Wines With Food)
For example, diners can expect subtropical climate Australian Semillon and cool Oceanic climate Tasmanian Pinot Noir at the modern Australian restaurant Osia Steak & Seafood Grill, and the wines of leading Japanese producer Château Mercian at both Syun and TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura.
For the Bordeaux-loving clientele of Feng Shui Inn, Aoki recommends the Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc white blend from Clarendelle, a brand by the people of First Growth Château Haut-Brion, which pairs well with fish. When it comes to the slightly spicy contemporary Chinese creations at Forest restaurant helmed by homegrown celebrity chef Sam Leong, look to crisp and aromatic Gewurtztraminer and Pinot Gris to cut the heat, or perhaps a Southern Rhone Syrah and even an Australian Shiraz to match the spice.
The inaugural Wine Pinnacle Awards Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, presented by Genting Singapore, on October 10 and The Great Wine & Dine Festival from October 10 to 12, will be hosted at Resorts World Sentosa.