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Soy sauce, the fermented product of soybean, roasted grain, water, and salt, is a common addition to many dishes inspired by Asian cuisines from India to Japan. Unfortunately, it adds a layer of difficulty for those wishing to pair with wine; soy sauce is usually very salty, robustly flavored with dark roasted flavors and a savory quality also known as ‘úmami’.
It is tricky to pair wines with soy sauce directly; Paul recommends low-alcohol Italian sparkling prosecco, typically distinguished by light, sweet flavors of peach and apricot (though prosecco in sugar content can range from dry to sweet), soft, moussy acidity. I have heard of red Burgundy (pinot noir) as well as Beaujolais pairing well with meats prepared with soy sauce in the marinade; the salt softens the tannins in red wine, and young red wines particularly. My particular intuition led me to beer, and particularly Warsteiner’s Dunkel, a beer that is rich enough to stand up to soy sauce and also meld well with the deep soy flavors.
Other suggestions that might work include the always-versatile riesling production from Germany. I am also convinced that hard ciders, from dry to sweet, represent a hugely overlooked beverage choice, but that’ll have to wait for another post.