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Red wine for Kimchi?

humble drinker Apr 24, 2008 10:51 AM

Kimchi, the quintessential Korean sidedish has really strong flavor and aroma. It is very spicy - though there are not-so-hot varieties -, and has strong smell due to the fermentation and the ingredients like garlics, fermented fishes and seafood, and chilli powder.

It is quite challenging to pair a wine, especially red one with Korean food mainly thanks to Kimchi's strong flavor.

A few months ago, a Japanese manga writer, Tadashi Agi paired Kimchi with Librandi Gravello 2001 from Calabria, Italy (a blend of 60% Gaglioppo and 40% CS). According to Tadashi Agi, Librandi Gravello matches well with spiciness of Kimchi, since Gaglioppo grapes are grown in Calabria, where red hot peppers are also cultivated.

Well, which red wine would you pair with Kimchi?

FYI, the manga series <Drops of God>, written by Tadashi Agi and drawn by Shu Okimoto, is soooo popular in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong that the wines mentioned in the manga were SOLD OUT and their prices soared at least 30% upward in these countries.

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  1. m
    mengathon RE: humble drinker Apr 24, 2008 01:30 PM

    Not many red wines I'd want to drink with kimchee, but I think Lambrusco is one that might be interesting.

    1. c
      Chicago Mike RE: humble drinker Apr 24, 2008 06:22 PM

      riesling with some red food coloring in it :)

      2 Replies
      1. re: Chicago Mike
        moh RE: Chicago Mike Apr 26, 2008 03:20 PM

        I think a really cheap riesling is about the only wine I'd even consider with kimchi. The operative word here is "cheap". I would not waste good money on wine for kimchi. I adore kimchi, and I adore wine, but not together.

        If I was trying to have wine with a Korean meal, I'd probably employ my Type A wine tasting sandwich technique, and drink the wine in between bites of the most wine friendly food in the meal (likely the meat: bulgogi or kalbi). Kimchi, rice, meat wine meat rice kimchi repeat cycle. Any cheap red you want. Don't open a very nice bottle...

        But I'd much rather swig back shots of soju, or straight vodka, or beer if you like beer.

        1. re: moh
          humble drinker RE: moh Apr 30, 2008 01:36 PM

          Totally agree.
          I would not waste any of my good bottles to drink with Kimchi.

      2. w
        WineAffairs RE: humble drinker Apr 24, 2008 08:42 PM

        I rather have a beer with Kimchi. :P

        If you reallly looking for red, some odd local varietals blend from Spain (e.g. bobal, or Rias Baixas red) or Italy (Trentino Alto region) might work.

        1. Foodandwine RE: humble drinker May 11, 2008 06:31 PM

          Why not go with a sparkling wine.. Why Red?

          1. steve h. RE: humble drinker May 11, 2008 07:12 PM

            beer would be my first choice. if pressed for a wine, i might consider an italian white. something like a tocai. i lived in south korea for three years and the place still puzzles me.

            1. WineUnleashed RE: humble drinker May 12, 2008 06:18 PM

              I have actually met success with Kimchi and a zweigelt from Austria. I think the key here is acid and youth and no oak. The acid in the wine will combat the "pickled"/fermented flavors. You need the youth for more fruit to handle the chili and spices. And oak would wash away the "clean" nature of the kimchi. So the rare pinot noir from Alsace (hard to find here in the US) could work as well. I would think some Northern Italian reds could work but it is pretty tough to give a generalization for an Italian wine pairing. It would have to pair with a specific wine. If you wanted to experiment start with a Dolcetto. It is a real workhorse, the right amount of tannins... acid and fruit will vary making it a challenging pairing.

              Safe bets: beer, Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris

              1. p
                proptrade1 RE: humble drinker Aug 19, 2009 10:04 PM

                Recently I've tried Kimchi with South Austalian - Kay Brothers Amery Vineyards Shiraz 2006. The strong aroma and taste of shiraz made a great pair with the spicy Korean dish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: proptrade1
                  drumwine RE: proptrade1 Aug 20, 2009 08:20 PM

                  I'd go with a sparkling Shiraz....say Magella's

                2. l
                  linalool RE: humble drinker Sep 30, 2009 01:45 AM

                  lacrima di morro d'alba. or how about a hybrid like baco noir? both foxy and funky

                  1. c
                    chrisinroch RE: humble drinker Oct 1, 2009 06:31 AM

                    Sometimes wine is not the best pairing for a particular food. I would say that this best pairing is a lager.

                    FYI, Consumption of TNT turns urine amber or deep red, which people often mistake for blood.

                    1. b
                      bulavinaka RE: humble drinker Oct 1, 2009 08:43 PM

                      Beer, soju, or makgeolli are my first choices. Personally, I can't wrap my mind around drinking a traditional wine with kimchi. My tongue is in spasms trying to imagine a wine with kimchi. :)

                      1. Chinon00 RE: humble drinker Oct 3, 2009 07:44 PM

                        I picked up a nice medoc today that I had at a tasting. I brought it to our local Korean BBQ for dinner tonight. It didn't work for us. All the wonderful earthy, mushroomy, slightly funky notes of the wine were virtually undetectable with the kimchi.

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