Corks+Forks: Wild Ginger and àMaurice

A Wild Ginger chef prepares the restaurant's signature steamed buns.

Confucius says Bordeaux red blends are perfectly suited for Asian food.

In the midst of Wild Ginger’s inaugural Summer of Riesling world wine affair, the James Beard award-winning restaurant has gone and done it again. This celebrated Asian eatery has announced an exclusive house wine that goes against the grain of conventionally pairing wine and cuisine — simply because it’s red.

A Wild Ginger chef prepares the restaurant's signature steamed buns.

The winemaking talent of Anna Schafer, co-founder of Walla Walla’s àMaurice Cellars, has combined with the steady service hand of Jake Kosseff, Wild Ginger’s company wine director, to bring us a red wine that is palatable for spicy dishes.

Kosseff, whose dynamic wine list just received its third Wine Spectator Grand Award last month, is offering this new blend by the glass and bottle at Wild Ginger Seattle, Wild Ginger at The Bravern and the Triple Door.

We’re really excited to be partnered with on this project because they are one of our favorite wineries,” said Kosseff of àMaurice Cellars.

And they should be — àMaurice is a boutique, family-owned operation that sits amidst the ideally sloped foothills of the Blue Mountains in Walla Walla, Wash. In true European style, the winery strives to match each bottle with its proper edible counterpart.

The grapes for Confucius Says come from Wallula Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, and Weinbau and Bacchus Vineyards in the Wahluke Slope AVA — some of our state’s best vineyards, according to both Schafer and Kosseff.

The culinary and wine houses took their tongue-in-cheek approach a step further by slightly adjusting an ancient Confucius proverb: “They who know the wine are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.”

The Restaurant: Any of the three Wild Ginger locations (see above).

The Dish: The trademark Fragrant Duck — “succulent fresh duck, a house specialty, with a fragrant skin spiced with cinnamon and star anise.” Served with steamed buns for a small extra charge, and well worth it to wipe up the sauce.

The Grape Varieties: Traditional Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (38 percent), Cabernet Franc (34 percent) and Merlot (28 percent).

Why It Works: Although white wine is the initial reaction to a menu that “spans the eastern Pacific Rim,” a Bordeaux blend can match the flavor of the duck’s baking spices and overall savory demeanor.

Recommended Wine Match: Confucius Says 2009 Red Blend, Columbia Valley. Loaded with vanilla, raspberry, plum, ground spices and sprigs of herbs on the nose, the wine combines sweet fruit with cedar spice, juicy cherry and dancing acidity.

For more information on the blend, visit one of the three locations to test it yourself. Make sure to take advantage of the Summer of Riesling events, the inaugural celebration of the white wine through private wine dinners and dapper in-house offerings. This promotion will run until mid-September at the aforementioned locations.

Wild Ginger  |  1401 3rd Ave., Seattle  |  (206) 623-4450