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red with spicey tenderloin

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I'm making a family favorite for a holiday meal (the first time I have actually cooked it myself) and was wondering what you chow hounds thought would be the perfect wine to serve with it.

The dish is beef tenderloin that's coated with a thin layer of a thick spicy Asian sauce that features ingredients like Sambal Manis and Sambal Oelek.

The trick is to put on enough sauce that it seals in the tenderloin's juices but not so much that it overwhelms the beef. When done right, the beef has a lingering spice but at first you only taste beef itself.

So, which wine? I'd like to keep it between $15-$25 a bottle. I was thinking perhaps one of the less expensive Ridge Zins. I thought a zin would stand up well to the bit of spice, but am a bit concerned it might be too fruity for those used to Bordeaux.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Happy Holidays!

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  1. Surprise... try a white here... riesling is beautiful with sambals... ditto for gewurztraminer. The beef is really a secondary flavor note...

    Among reds, zinfandel is a good idea, I'd also look at a Valpolicella Ripassa Superiore with this dish... but the higher the level of sambal the closer this dish is to riesling...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chicago Mike

      Great suggestions on the riesling. I live in the Finger Lakes and have many favoriates (Standing Stone, Dr. Frank, Treleavan) and will be sure to have one on the table.

      But will definately want a red too, especicially since I try not to make the dish too spicy.

      Any other thoughts on a red?

      Thanks!

    2. From my experience, red wine gets pretty much obliterated by the combination of soy sauce and rice vinegar. So if your spicy sauce includes them, this would be the one time to have the tenderloin with a riesling or a chardonnay. For a red, I'd go with one with soft tannins, like a young barbera or a montepulciano d'abruzzo.

      1. Unless the Asian condiments are overwhleming -- and your description indicates they're not -- or you eat your tenderloin well-done, red's the way to go. Soft tannins, fruity sweetness and reasonable alcohol levels will smooth the interaction. A New World Pinot Noir would do the trick -- Churton's 2006 Marlborough (New Zealand), which I tasted on the weekend and which you can probably find for around $25, would be dandy, especially if served slightly cooler than room temp.

        2 Replies
          1. re: bubbles4me

            Some would, for sure. Jadot's beefy Moulin-à-Vent Château des Jacques, for example. On the other hand, many crus (especially ones from Fleurie and Brouilly, but also including wines like Laperrière's Morgon) would lack the necessary stuffing, IMO.