Monday, October 26, 2015

Wine Night at Yoree

Prime Short Rib with Shiraz, Dak Galbi with Chardonnay, Sweet Potato Soup with's Wine Night at Yoree Korean Dining Barbecue.

Yoree Korean Dining Barbecue, in collaboration with Philippine Wine Merchants, recently hosted a  special wine night, pairing Yoree's signature dishes with some of South Africa's best wines for a unique dining experience.

I've never tried pairing wine with my favorite Korean dishes before, it was always a cold beer, maybe even some Soju, that just washes down the bold flavors and spices Korean cuisine is known for so perfectly. One thing's for sure, this was going to be different. And special. And trying something for the first time is always exciting...

The dipping sauces are served, with a sweet and spicy sauce for seafood, Bamboo Salt or Jukyeom ( a traditional Korean process where sea salt is stored in bamboo trunks), and a boldly flavored soy bean paste for the grilled meats. For the special dinner, Philippine Wine Merchants featured their exclusive South African label, the Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers Vereniging van Zuid-Afrika Bpkt, which means "Cooperative Winemakers' Society of South Africa," or simply KWV, a winemaking cooperative established in 1918 by wine makers from the Western Cape in South Africa. Korean flavors with wine from South Africa, global cross-cultures on a plate. And a glass.

Our dining experience began with a bowl of thick, creamy, hearty and comforting Korean Sweet Potato Soup, a traditional Korean staple served during winter. The creamy texture is layered with the natural sweetness of the sweet potato for rich flavors, and I enjoyed the pairing with KWV Classic Chenin Blanc, a light and crisp white wine with hints of pineapples and apples that cleanses the palate with every sip. You can also pair it with the KWV Merlot, with its deeper and rounder flavors and its distinct raspberry and blackberry notes.

Joey Lucio (L) of Philippine Wine Merchants then poured round after round of KWV Classic Merlot, and a festive vibe is felt all around. That evening, the informal and casual atmosphere added to the cozy dining experience. And the team from Philippine Wine Merchants made it even easier by stressing there are no real rules with wine pairing...

...just go with your favorite wine and enjoy. Pairing wine with Korean Banchan, or traditional appetizers, can be tricky. The contrasting flavors, from mild hints to bold and spicy notes, will have to be paired with different wines. The KVW Classic Cabernet Sauvignon's pronounced dark plum notes with hints of cedar spice seemed to pair well with the spicier banchan, while the KWV Classic Chardonnay complemented the delicate notes of the vegetable and seafood starters. Then again, there are no rules, simply go with the flow. And that's what made the Wine Night at Yoree special, as you go on your own leisurely pace discovering different combinations.

For the first course at Yoree's Wine Night, we were served their signature Dak Galbi, tender and juicy boneless chicken thigh in a special house marinade, grilled right on your table. The crisp and clean citrus notes of the KWV Classic Chardonnay is a good choice to complement the subtle and delicate notes of the Dak Galbi. Take a piece of the juicy chicken and gently wrap it in pickled seaweed for a flavorful punch.

Next, Yoree's Spicy Mackerel Stew was served, with tender fillet of mackerel in a rich and flavorful sauce. The briny notes of the mackerel are tempered by the bold notes of the sauce for balanced flavors, and the subtle lemon notes of the KWV Classic Chardonnay paired well with the dish.

For the mains, Yoree served their signature beef barbecue, starting with the US Angus Boneless Short Rib, with its specks of white marbling...

...and the Prime Short Rib with Prawn, seasoned with Yoree's rich spice blend. The bold, savory notes of the premium beef and the full-bodied flavors of KWV's signature reds then take the pairing to an even higher level.

The thick slabs of US Angus Boneless Short Ribs are then laid on the table-top grill above flaming hot charcoal, as a savory aroma gently rises. A new wine glass with the KWV Classic Shiraz is then served, with a sip that delivered a velvety smooth finish with more pronounced dark berry notes and subtle hints of pepper and chocolate lingering long after the first sip. The noticeably deeper notes make it a perfect match for the US Angus Boneless Short Ribs...

Pick up a tender slab of freshly grilled US Angus Boneless Short Rib and delicately roll it in fresh lettuce, top it with a spoonful of fermented soybean past, a pinch of bamboo salt and roasted garlic, and go for it. The initial flavors come from the sharp soybean paste and garlic, followed by the bold, beefy notes of the US Angus Short Rib. Perfect. A sip of the KWV Classic Shiraz, with its bold and concentrated black cherry notes adds its own layer of flavor, preparing you for another bite.

Then, go for the Prime Short Rib, a leaner yet tender and juicy cut of beef that pared well with the KWV Classic Cabernet Sauvignon, the KWV Classic Merlot, or the KWV Classic Shiraz. The rich and clean flavors of the premium beef, with just a hint of flavorful smokiness from the grill, is pure beef bliss.

My Wine Night at Yoree is capped by a Mini-Bibimbap served on a hot stone bowl, paired with another round of the KWV Classic Shiraz. Wait a few minutes, and allow the hot stone bowl to crisp up the rice at the bottom. I've never had wine with Korean cuisine before, and I wish I did it sooner. The wine just adds a whole new flavor experience to the rich and bold Korean flavors, a refreshing new spin to your favorite Korean dishes. Here's a toast to Yoree's Wine Night, or as they say in Korean, "Gun bae!"

Yoree Korean Dining Barbecue is located at The Forum, 7th Avenue corner Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig or call 866-0432 for more information.

KWV Wines are exclusively imported and distributed by Philippine Wine Merchants, call 853-9894 and 851-0171 for more information.

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