Pairing Japanese Dishes with Italian Wine?

Miku Restaurant (Image courtesy mikurestaurant.com)

Miku Restaurant (Image courtesy mikurestaurant.com)

We have heard about fusion cuisine; mixing elements of French dishes with Mexican spices, for example.  But have you considered fusion also as the pairing of cuisine from one region with the wine from another region?  Recently I and a few other wine and food writers sampled the pairing of Japanese food from Miku Restaurant in Vancouver, with Valpolicella and Prosecco Superiore wines from the Veneto region of Italy.  Overall the pairings went quite well.  I think I would say that Prosecco is an easier pairing with Japanese food, but there was also some Valpolicella (red) wines that also worked.  Without going into the minute details of each dish and wine, I thought I’d list the pairings and give some general comments for you.  Hopefully these can help guide you in your wine and food pairings in the future. I did review some of these wines in these articles that you may also want to read:

8 Prosecco Superiore For You To Try

A Dozen Plus 3 Valpolicella Wine Recommendations

Wine and Food Pairings Menu

ABURI SASHIMI – maguro, salmon, hamachi
CONTE COLLALTO – Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut
LA FARRA – Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Millesimato 2016

SALMON OSHI & EBI OSHI – Pressed BC wild sockeye salmon, jalapeno, Miku sauce; Pressed prawn, Iime zest, and ume sauce
BELLENDA – Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Sei Uno” Rive di Carpesica 2015
VILLA SANDI – Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Millesimato 2016

PAN SEARED HOKKAIDO SCALLOP – navel orange, watercress, yuzu putanesca
CA’DI RAJO Congeliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry Millesimato 2016
VAL D’OCA Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry Rive di Colbertaldo 2016

ABURI BEEF CARPACCIO – AAA sterling silver short rib, organic baby greens, garlic jalapeno ponzu.
LA COLLINA DEI CILIEGI – Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2012
RUBINELLI VAJOL – Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore 2012

FRASER VALLEY PORK CHOP – Black vinegar reduction, market mushrooms, baby potato
SARTORI Di VERONA – Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2013 “Regolo”
CANTINA VALPANTENA VERONA – Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2013 “Torre del Falasco”

AAA STERLING FILET MIGNON – 5-hour sous-vide, brown butter wasabi sauce, market vegetables
PASQUA – Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2013 “Villa Borghetti”
VALENTINA CUBI – Amarone della Valpolicella DOC CIassico 2006 “Morar”

VANILLA PANACOTTA – fresh fruits and chocolate coconut sorbet
DRUSIAN- Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG Dry
BACIO DELLA LUNA-Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG Dry

My Food Pairing Comments

As I mentioned the Prosecco Superiore was in general easier to pair with the Japanese dishes. The Proseccos in general had stone fruit flavours and a small to medium-sized creamy bubble and medium acidity.  The combination of stone fruit flavours, medium acidity and the palate cleansing bubbles worked well to let the flavours of the sashimi, sushi and seared scallops come through.  All were complementary pairings.

The Valpolicella wines came in different levels of flavour intensity and body, from Valpolicella DOC Superiore (the lightest), to Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore (medium), and Amarone della Valpolicella DOC (the fullest bodied).  These wines all showed red fruit flavours, some pepper or sweet spice, and were dry in general.   My favourite Valpolicella pairing was the AAA Sterling Filet Mignon with the two Amarone wines.  The Filet mignon was soft and full of meaty flavour, and had a salty crust. The sweeter riper fruit flavours were a good contrast and complement to the dish.  I also did not mind the Beef Carpaccio with the lighter Valpolicella DOC Superiore.  I thought the Fraser Valley Pork Chop was OK with the Ripasso, but it did not make my taste buds dance.  That being said, one of the chefs attending this pairing event really loved the different elements of this dish with the Ripasso.  So it may just come down to a difference in tastes for this dish.

Food and Wine Pictures

VILLA SANDI Valdobbiadene Brut Millesimato, VAL D'OCA Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Rive di Colbertaldo, and CA'DI RAJO Congeliano Valdobbiadene Millesimato Extra Dry Proseccos Superiore DOCG

VILLA SANDI Valdobbiadene Brut Millesimato, VAL D’OCA Valdobbiadene Extra Dry Rive di Colbertaldo, and CA’DI RAJO Congeliano Valdobbiadene Millesimato Extra Dry Proseccos Superiore DOCG

VALENTINA CUBI Amarone della Valpolicella DOC, CANTINA VALPANTENA VERONA Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2013 Torre del Falasco, and PASQUA Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2013 Villa Borghetti

VALENTINA CUBI Amarone della Valpolicella DOC, CANTINA VALPANTENA VERONA Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore 2013 Torre del Falasco, and PASQUA Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2013 Villa Borghetti

ABURI SASHIMI

ABURI SASHIMI

SALMON OSHI & EBI OSHI

SALMON OSHI & EBI OSHI

PAN SEARED HOKKAIDO SCALLOP

PAN SEARED HOKKAIDO SCALLOP (looks and tastes awesome)

ABURI BEEF CARPACCIO

ABURI BEEF CARPACCIO

FRASER VALLEY PORK CHOP

FRASER VALLEY PORK CHOP

AAA STERLING FILET MIGNON

AAA STERLING FILET MIGNON

VANILLA PANACOTTA

VANILLA PANACOTTA

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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