Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Peking Duck House

The other day I was rummaging through my wine cellar and saw a bottle of Rangen de Than, a single vineyard Pinot Gris from Domaine Zind Humbrecht and remembered that Oliver Humbrecht once told me that Pinot Gris is the perfect wine to go with Peking Duck. I immediately called the Peking Duck House in Chinatown and asked if I could bring my own wine. They were cool with that so I booked a table. (I didn’t tell them I’d also be bringing my own glasses so I wouldn’t have to drink out of their thick, heavy tumblers. As it turned out, they didn’t mind that either. Definitely a play it as it lays kind of place!)

For comparison’s sake I also brought along a bottle of Humbrecht’s regular Pinot Gris. I invited a good friend who has spent a lot of time in China and Hong Kong and knows about Peking Duck. A word of warning: bring a sweater if you go in the summer because the air conditioning will remind you of Ice Station Zebra. Once I got past that I was fine.

We ordered the duck and a side of Chinese broccoli. We started with the regular pinot gris which was delicious: light, crisp, gorgeous fruit and a wonderful bite of acidity in the finish. The duck arrived and I was salivating. I assembled my pancake with some of the plum sauce, cucumbers, scallions and several slices of the duck. The skin was perfectly crisp. I took a bite and then a sip of my wine. Oh my God, what a thrill. It really was amazing, the wine cut the fat of the duck; the sweet plum sauce and the texture and flavors of cucumber and scallions were excellent. Now for the Rangen. I opened it curious to see how a richer more concentrated Pinot Gris would be with the duck.

I smelled it and thought, hmm, something is off. I took a sip and thought the wine might be corked. Anyone who opens a corked wine tries not to believe it is off, especially if you don’t have a backup. Well, sure enough it was corked with that unmistakable musty taste. I was bummed. But I pulled myself together and tried to enjoy the rest of my meal. I actually asked the waiter if they served wine and he said yes, they have a red or a white. I took a pass.

I’ve since found another bottle of the 2004 Rangen de Than Pinot Gris and I am going to go back to the restaurant so I can complete my experience. Meanwhile, anyone who loves Peking Duck should get Zind Humbrecht’s Pinot Gris to go with it. You are in for a magical culinary experience.

The Peking Duck House
28 Mott Street
New York, NY 10013


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