Alsace and Sambal

I woke up yesterday with a wild craving for Indonesian food. I toyed a lot with the idea of having dinner at Hey Handsome, a great option and maybe my only legitimate experience with Indonesian food before our mini-honeymoon last November.

One of the most exciting things for me in learning about a new culture is through its food, and obviously, where possible, through its wine. It was in that trip to Indonesia that I had a better understanding of their culture. And how their cuisine seems to literally be a melting pot of all the different flavors and spices influenced by the individuality of each of its nearly 20,000 islands.

Taking inspiration from this, plus my craving that came out of nowhere AND my nagging curiosity to finally open one of the jars of Sambal I bought, I decided to attempt to recreate those flavors and quickly whip something up for dinner last night.

Chopped up onions, garlic, red bell peppers, carrots and cilantro and 20 minutes later…

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As I wasn’t sure yet how it would finally taste, but knowing it would be a little creamy from the coconut milk and spicy from the Sambal, I prepared two bottles of wines to try with this dish, but finally decided on the Josmeyer Alsace Dream last night, a white wine blended from different grapes from Alsace, France.

Alsace is in the northeastern side of France bordering Germany. One can find a lot of commonalities in the wine style and grape varietals used between the two places. Wines from this region are mostly white, with some red wines normally from the Pinot Noir grape. As this wine region is more in the north, it doesn’t quite receive the amount of sun and warmth needed to ripen thicker-skinned grapes, hence the white grape dominance.

Wines from Alsace are great go-tos for Asian food. As the flavor profile of wines from this region tend to be on the fresh, mild acidity, sweet side, with sweetness levels varying from dry (total opposite of sweet in wine lingo) all the way to sweet wine, Alsatian wines become a great way to somehow cool the heat from red chillies in Asian dishes.

It did go quite well with my Indo-inspired Sambal Curry Shrimp Noodle dish (I don’t have a name for it yet!). The salty chili in the Sambal, though only a small quantity was included, was pronounced and in some bites, raring to set my mouth on fire. But each sip of the Alsace Dream by Josmeyer created a nice balance of salt, heat and a refreshing mild sweetness that prepped my mouth for another bite.

And though mild, the presence of some acidity in the wine offers structure that cuts through the creaminess of the coconut milk keeping that feeling of over-saturation or umay completely at bay.

My verdict: A-ok!

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