wildgingerduck.jpg
Photography by Mat Hayward
In the attempt to achieve pure hedonism, Happy Together aims to locate the ideal food and beverage match at Seattle-area restaurants

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Wild Ginger's Duck Plays Nice with Oregon Pinot

wildgingerduck.jpg
Photography by Mat Hayward
In the attempt to achieve pure hedonism, Happy Together aims to locate the ideal food and beverage match at Seattle-area restaurants or markets.

"Common sense" is all that is required to pair food with wine. So says Lettie Teague, former executive wine editor at Food & Wine magazine and current columnist for the Wall Street Journal, in her article a few weeks back. Although wine savvy might be slacking in the average Seattle consumer's repertoire, Teague's driving point was that finding your pairing zen is easier to achieve than one might think.

Likewise and without mincing her words, a Seattle sommelier told me once that wine was "just grapes from a fucking farm" and food should coincide strictly upon personal preference. The solution to the excess in pairing importance? Drink simply, drink often and eat while you do it. Although an elite marriage may not always be the possible goal, the concept is clear -- drink what you like with what you like to eat.

Location, location: Wild Ginger -- The downtown culinary institution for all foods Asian-influenced, Wild Ginger is also noted for their exceptional wine list and staff of roving floor sommeliers to answer all of the questions you will have regarding the hefty vino menu. Stocked with an aberrant inventory of Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine, both the wine and food menu take time and determination to select the wise dining and drinking duo.

Eating: Fragrant Duck -- Affectionately appointed as the "bird buns," this is a guarantee for my table every time. The house specialty is roasted with cinnamon and star anise and is outfitted with plump steam buns and Sichuan peppercorn salty sweet plum sauce. Tear in with your hands and stuff all you can in the bun and in your face. Napkins are required.

Drinking: Et Fille 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir -- The winery's name, meaning "and daughter," refers to the father-daughter team that produce this Willamette Valley wine. Thanks to a higher temperature year in the valley, the 2009 Pinot is full and robust, loaded with intricate layers of berry (think raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry) and plum, sealed with a mineral flavor that balances out the moderate acid. Fille, or daughter, Jessica Mozeico-Blair says it reminds her of a Mini Cooper, with all of the zip and power crammed into a lean profile.

Pointers from the Pros: Certified advanced sommelier and company wine director at Wild Ginger, Cortney Lease says she is innately drawn to recommending Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with the signature scented poultry.

"The body of the 2009 Et Fille Pinot Noir and the berry flavors and aromas go with the earthy, gamey and mushroom notes of the duck," Lease says. "The texture of the Peking duck with the velvetiness of the wine goes flawlessly. I like the weight but also the delicacy of the wine, you don't want to pound the duck to death with the wine if it's already killed."

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