It’s my constant and undying mission as a lush in life to make wine the go-to beverage over beer, soda, juice, water, and other liquids in general. Sometimes that takes a Shamu-sized load of trial and error, especially when it means dealing with uuber salty/spicy/meaty/amazing/out-there foods.
This Dare to Pair Panel, inspired initially by Justin Warner’s Tricked Out Ramen recipe for Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines, straight up killed it with lots of trial and very little error as we explored the nuances of Ramen. Literally OODLES of noodles and a range of complex flavors from
your college favorites Top Ramen and “Cup Noodle,” to more intricate and artisanal recipes like the one from Justin.
Grab your chopsticks and siracha kids because things got real and wine won again.
The wine lineup included several vinous gems: the bright and food-friendly Pine Ridge 2012 Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend; Concentrated and oaky Robert Mondavi Central Coast Pinot Noir; Cherry-infused Domaine de Ronze Beaujoulais; La Guita Manzanilla Sherry; Holly Hill Grenache Blanc; and then some. You get the gist–we rounded up a whole bunch of wines that are winners on their own and tossed ‘em on the table with the ramen wildcards.
Four Ramen flavors dominated our table including Top Ramen Beef Flavor, Shrimp Cup Noodles, Justin’s Tricked out Ramen (which included roasted pork, bacon, ginger, and corn–YUM on its own and DOUBLE YUM with added siracha), and Momofuku Chicken Ramen.
Since a remarkably small amount of research has been published on the profound topic of Ramen and wine, (My Google searches yielded questionable results), we started from the bottom and then rates the wines to see which was the most ramen-friendly overall as well as what was the best pairing.
Best Overall Pairing: Domaine de Ronze Beaujoulais Villages and Top Ramen Beef Flavor
This light red was all ripe cherry fruit and hints of dirt and piney earth. With the MSG-dominated Top Ramen, which is all faux-beef deliciousness. Next time you want to remember your broke college days, grab some 5 for $1 Top Ramen and this tasty Beaujoulais. It’s even good chilled, for added Ramen versatility.
Ramen-Friendly Wine Award: Pine Ridge 2012 Chenin Blanc/Viognier Blend, California
Light, bright, and delicious, this California juice adapted to all sorts of sodium levels, meat and seafood ingredients, and even siracha. Zest acidity and ripe peach and pear flavors and a $14 price tag make this the instant-noodle go-to.
New Rules of Ramen:
- When in doubt, Sherry is always an option. La Guita Manzanilla Sherryand Tio Diego Amontillado Sherry were on our tasting table and despite high alcohol and rich nutty flavors, didn’t disappoint with a variety of noodles, with some panel members actually proclaiming their love for Spain’s signature fortified wine.
- If it’s spicy, drink water. Alcohol and spicy don’t always mix well, so if you have a heavy hand with the chili oil/siracha/cayenne please back away, and bring a water glass.
- Cup-Noodles is a last resort. Seriously.
Quotes from the Venerable Ramen Panel:
“Cup Noodles tastes like dirty dish water. Seriously, that is an accurate call for the shrimp flavor.”
“Anything that masks the dishwater taste is a great pairing.”
“Siracha and alcohol just set my mouth on fire.”
“The Beaujoulais makes you really want a big piece of meat in your mouth.”
“Drain your glasses. Now. Drain them.”
Fun Facts: In 1958, instant Ramen noodles were invented by Momofuku Named the greatest Japanese invention of the 20th century in a Japanese poll
In 1994, a Ramen museum was founded in Yokohama.