Red Rooster at Fat Mao
In the ever-evolving culinary world, anything works; as long as they are palate-pleasingly good and reaonsably priced. Wine-tasting in a noodle place? Why not? Hey, we are talking Vancouver's beloved chef Angus An's Fat Mao Noodles here. And the wines are from Red Rooster, a famed BC winery located on the Naramata Bench. Winemaker karen Gillis is a 2nd generation Chinese who dedicates her days (and nights) on food and wine, and these days, on crafting great wines in the beautiful Okanagan wine region.Tucked away on E. Georgia Street, a reformed 'eat street' where the next generation eateries and gastropubs are the norms, Fat Mao is the 3rd baby of Eng. Though tiny, this noodle house still shares An's love of Thai cuisine, yet its Chinese name 'Big prosperous cat' hinges his Taiwanese Chinese origin. Taiwanese noodle with Thai concepts served at Fat Mao may well be another accentuation of An's ability to wed the two eccentric cusine in a different form. As for wine-pairing, An happens to be one of the urban Asian chefs in town whose wine knowledge is a key element of his success. On a cold evening during the Lunar New Year celebration, the lucky few are invited to a cozy wine-pairing dinner sipping Red Rooster wines with Karen and indulging in liberating dishes An crafted from behind the small kitchen counter. This combination rings in the Year of the Rooster superbly.
2015 Reserve Rose: A yummy wine for any occasion, anytime of the day, with and without food, the cheerful salmon-colour makes this wine a welcomed starter of the new year table. A blend of Syrah (37.3%), Malbec (21.4%) Mourvedre (21%), Grenache (16%) and Petit Verdot (4.3%), the flavour profile is sensational. Grapes are cold-aoked on the skins for 3 days and using the 'saignee' process method to bleed off a portion of the juice, this Rose is refreshingly fruity and aromatic. Chef An created a soy-marinated quail egg to go with this.
2015 Riesling: Floral with hints of apple and dried orange-peel lined with subtle spices, this riesling is a perfect match with the drunken chicken ballotine which was marinated in Red Rooster wine and served with Thai fermanted bean sauce. The illusive sweetness seeping through the floral and spicy aroma settles the fermented bean sauce to a notch. For those who desire white with the Dry Duck Noodle, this is a good fit too.
2015 Chardonnay: The wine is clean and juicy as the result of whole cluster pressed. Buttery but not heavy with a touch of oak and vanilla. Loaded with tropical fruit flavours and dried lychee, this chardonnay is best enjoyed young. Chef prepared two pairing dishes: Thai Fried Egg Salad and Asian Style Bouillabaisse. Chardonnay and avocado; and seafood in a turmeric broth, each presented quite a distinct portfolio but whether with salad or soup, it worked charmingly!
2014 Reserve Malbec: A delight for BC Malbec fans, this Malbec is made with grapes from Red Rooster's own on-site vineyard. Flowing with ripened berry flavour and a touch of dried longan and smoked wood, this is the go-to wine for Asian stews and barbeques. Chef An paired this with Beef Short Rib, Braised Pork Cheek and the Duck leg Shanghai noodles. Ah, all meat dish, but I believe it'll go well with a clay-pot of vegetables in fermented bean sauce too.
2014 Cabernet Merlot: With a nice body that garners many's attention, this red easily becomes the favourite red of the evening. The fomular of 45% Merlot, 32% Cab Sauvignon and 23% Cab Franc blends in cocoa, dried fig and blackberries. With tank fermentation, older American oak aging and in French oak, the complexity lingers on.
2014 Cab Franc Ice Wine: A sweet bonus of the evening which I often prefer to drink on its own. Not usually a Creme Brulee fan but Eng managed to inspire my palate with the Tom Ka Creme Brulee flavoured with lemongrass, coconut milk and fig compote so I did finish while enjoying the Ice wine.