Japanese food pairing with wine or sake, which is better?

We had something different last Sunday! We had a food pairing with wine instead of the usual sake. Aligned with the theme of Earth day and celebrating nature, Healthy Soba Iki served a special matcha soba with marinated octopus that was paired with Vini Viventi’s natural wines. The matcha soba was made with 100% buckwheat soba with Matcha powder incorporated in the making of the dough – there was no compromise of the chewiness of the buckwheat soba, and the Matcha flavour came through beautifully.

I had a Zidarich Vitovska 2018, which was a dry Italian white wine that was very rich in minerality (imagine the taste of mineral water, but combined with pleasant peaches and apricot). It paired deliciously with the mild matcha soba. This wine is from Northern Italy, with the vines grown on iron-rich topsoil over limestone bedrock. The area is also exposed to the salty sea breeze from the Mediterranean. In my opinion the wine was a good expression of the terroir, with its rich minerality standing out with a deliciously fruity palate of yellow peaches and apricot. One interesting fact is that the producer, Benjamin Zidarich, incorporates red wine methods in the making of this white wine, extracting the tannins from the grape skin that provides structure to the wine, reducing the need to use additives to store the wine.

Duck rillette and yuzu-miso chicken

We also had side dishes such as duck rillette with capers and a miso-yuzu chicken. Even the duck rillette was well balanced on its own – the fattiness of the duck was nicely balanced with the acidity from the capers. We ended the day with a burrata cheese with apricot which complemented the wine perfectly!

At the end of the day, the question of whether wine or sake makes a better pairing with Japanese food lies in the skill of the curator himself – pairings are all about either complement or contrast (acidity with fat, saltiness with sparkling etc.) and as long as the right wine or sake is chosen well with food, the dining experience will be elevated. I enjoyed the burrata cheese with apricot pairing with the Zidarich Vitovska 2018 best and I would imagine a light refreshing Mimurosugi Dio Abita would go deliciously with the Matcha soba!

Thank you Vini Viventi and Healthy Soba Iki for organising a delicious lunch last Sunday! If you are interested in Vini Viventi’s vast selection of delicious natural wines, feel free to visit them here or come to one of Healthy Soba Iki’s monthly collaboration with them. If you want to be notified for when that happens, follow us on Instagram!

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