Wine Pairing Rules for Japanese, Italian and Mexican Food
Peter Kasperski, the iconoclast behind many of Scottsdale’s best restaurants, gives tips for pairing wine with fabulous Japanese, Italian and Mexican–inspired recipes.
Peter Kasperski says: “Sake is legendary in Japan because of its ability to offer subtlety and nuance—just like dishes such as sashimi. Wines with similar subtlety and nuance tend to fall into the category of light, white and crisply acidic, with bright fruit notes—all the ‘ites.’ One of my favorites is the Austrian variety Grüner Veltliner, which has a chameleonlike way of matching a variety of dishes—much like tofu, another Japanese mainstay.”
Pairing: Light, Crisp Whites + Aromatic Reds
Kasperski says: “The best wines from Italy are typically medium-bodied, higher-acid red wines, and for a good reason—those are the wines that best fit the food! This is particularly true of wines based on the Sangiovese grape, like Chianti. Its firm acidity works with the acidity in tomatoes, yet at the same time contrasts very nicely with the richer ingredients—cheese, olive oil—found in pasta dishes, pizzas and so on.”
Pairing: Minerally Whites + Zesty Reds
Kasperski says: “Frequently, Mexican dishes are rich and full-flavored, with bursts of heat from various types of chiles and nutty sweetness from mole sauces. Bigger red wines with a bit of spice and not too much oak work well with this kind of food, such as Malbec from Argentina or Châteauneuf-du-Pape from France. However (please, I beg you to remember this), when it comes to seafood such as fish tacos, look for unoaked Chardonnay.”