We at the Asheville School of Wine were honored to be part of the Gan Shan Station preview dinner at Metro Wines on Friday night. It was a small sample of what Chef Patrick O'Cain plans for his new restaurant in the old gas station on Charlotte Street, which he plans to open by the end of the year. There was room for fifty people that night, and the reservations sold out within a week.
I was excitied to be able to pair wines the incredible food with the new front of the house manager, Certified Sommelier Joe Minnich. We tried to avoid the "obvious" pairings that typically go with asian cuisine, no off-dry Rieslings or Gewurtztraminers here!
As guests arrived, they were greeted with beef tartare on house made rice crisps, and rose sparkling sake! Just slightly off dry, with a nice, round mouthfeel to it.
The first plated course was a smoked trout salad. We selected a dry cab franc rose from the Loire Valley, crisp enough to cut through the intense flavors, with a steely, flinty flavor to match the smoke of the trout.
Next we enjoyed pork pate with house pickled vegetables. The flavors were exotic and intoxicating! We paired that with one of my favorite Gruner Veltliners from Weingut Muller-Thurgau; crisp, with incredibly high acid and a fresh, clean flavor. It worked perfectly if I say so myself!
Following that, a delicious charred octopus in a miso-turnip puree came out of the kitchen. We paired this with the only red of the night; the Valle Del'Acate Frappato, from Sicily. It was light and fruity, with a slight floral flavor. Think Pinot Noir covered in flowers!
The last course was my favorite, a black rice congee, topped with an egg and chile oil. Szechuan spices give this dish some kick, so we decided a big, rich white would pair perfectly. We selected the Truchard Roussane out of Carneros, California. The big weight of this wine provided a cushion to the spicy flavors in the congee. It ended up being one of the most popular pairings of the night.
As a final gift, patrick brought out asian ginger candies, which we paired with the Manuel Acha Vino Vermouth Blanco. We chilled it down and served it Port style in a short glass. This Vermouth is sweet, but it is aged on the peels of bitter orange, which gives it a slight fruity bitterness. It was the perfect end to the night.
For those of you who were unable to attend Friday's event, rumor has it that there may be a follow up dinner some time in November. Get your reservations now at www.metrowinesasheville.com or call 828 575-9525. Tickets will likely sell out fast.
Join us in November and see why there is so much hype about this incredible restaurant!