Red wine for Kimchi?
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.
Not many red wines I'd want to drink with kimchee, but I think Lambrusco is one that might be interesting.
re: Chicago Mike
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.
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.
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.