We were invited by Okanagan Crush Pad Winery to take part in a wine pairing dinner at Kaya Malay Bistro. With Chinese New Year just around the corner, it was the perfect time to experience a wine-paired Asian dinner. The event showcased several wines from Haywire Winery‘s portfolio, while our 10-course dinner profiled key Asian ingredients and cooking styles. Haywire wines are made in Summerland at the Okanagan Crush Pad Winery, which is located between Peachland and Penticton in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan region.
Left: Leeann Froese from Town Hall Communications introduces the Okanagan Crush Pad team. OCP’s wine advisor David Scholefield seen in the centre, with co-owner Christine Coletta to his right. Right: We were joined by several other Vancouver food and lifestyles bloggers. It’s always amusing when I take a step back to look at how ridiculous we all look with all of our cameras. 😉
Above: The chicken satays were moist and tender and were served with peanut sauce. Wine pairing: Haywire The Bub 2012. This sparkling wine doesn’t have a cork, but rather has a beer bottle cap. Why not break old rules where old rules don’t make sense, according to Scholefield.
Left: Japanese-style deep-fried soft-shelled crab. This was one of my favourite dishes of the evening, the crab was nicely battered and fried but the crab still managed to stay moist and juicy; Right: BBQ duck salad with Cantonese dressing. Lettuce wraps are a traditional Chinese New Years dish. I’m a big fan of Chinese lettuce wraps, which is usually served with pork instead of duck. I also quite enjoyed this dish. Wine pairing: Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2011. This juicy and fresh wine was a decent pairing that didn’t overpower the wonderful sweet and savoury flavours of the crab and the duck.
Left: Mandarin Hot & Sour Soup. This soup was too sweet, and as a result, it was neither hot or sour. Right: Thai Seafood Soup. This soup, on the other hand, was delicious and the soup base tasted more like a Malaysian laksa broth. Wine pairing: Haywire Gewurztraminer 2012. Although not as sweet as the typical Gewurztraminers that I’m accustomed to, this one actually worked really well to cut through the spiciness of the Thai seafood soup.
Left: Taiwanese stir-fried eggplant. It was delicious but could have used some added heat like Kaya’s sambal green beans; Right: Korean-style grilled sablefish. I’m a big fan of sablefish, but as a delicate fish, I’m not sure that I liked that it was fried with its crispy skin. Although the fish was perfectly cooked through and still moist, I think a tilapia or basa filet would have sufficed for this dish. Wine pairing: Haywire Pinot Noir 2012. This French oaked wine had some subtle intensity and a hint of cherry, which helped further enhance the flavour profiles of these dishes.
Left: Wok-fried egg noodles with shiitake and siuchoy. I felt this noodle dish was really lacking in flavour. I resorted to dousing it with hot sauce, which made it a bit better; Right: Vietnamese shrimp and scallop fried rice. While it did have a lot of scallops, I felt the dish was quite under seasoned and flat. But I understand if they had to tone down these dishes and play it safe since they were feeding so many mouths that night. That being said, I do enjoy Kaya’s nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) and their mi goreng (Malaysian fried noodles), which are both quite authentic and have a good amount of heat. Wine pairing: Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris 2012. This was a dry wine that would have been better suited for dishes that were spicier or more savoury.
Left: A dessert medley included Berry & Rice Pudding and Deep-Fried Banana & Vanilla Ice Cream. Wine pairing: Haywire Gamay Noir Rose 2011 & Haywire The Bub 2012. Right: The collection of very affordable (under $25) Haywire wines that we tried that evening. From left to right:
Many of these wines are only made in small, exclusive offerings, and therefore have select distribution. Here are the few specialty wine stores in the Lower Mainland that carry them:
Crosstown Liquor Store: 568 Abbott Street, Vancouver
I don’t typically drink wine with Asian food, so it was interesting for me and it was really eye-opening and got me thinking about the possibilities. All in all, it was a very enjoyable dinner and we both left full, happily buzzed, and satisfied.
Here are 5 tips to consider when pairing wines with Asian foods:
- Aromatic, sweeter wines pair well with hotter, spicier dishes.
- Reds with light or moderate oak go well with soy or oyster-based dishes.
- The acidity in sparkling wine and bubbles pair very well with a wide selection of food. When in doubt, grab the bubbles.
- Crispier, drier whites enhance lighter dishes without overpowering the flavour and texture.
- Juicy, fruit-forward reds with depth and complexity match nicely with intense-flavoured dishes, deep-fried or braised.