Reader mail meets impossible food wine pairings: nori!

What follows below is an actual reader mail that crossed the transom last evening. Laver, similar to nori, is an edible seaweed high in sodium and iron found on rocks off the coast of Scotland and Wales. Mmm, it really is an impossible food-wine pairing! But her relationship is apparently at stake! Roll the tape:

Dear DR. Vino:
I’m a korean girl, and I have a boyfriend from france. Everything was fine until recently,we fought several times–upon my favorite
sneak — laver (dried & seasoned seaweed). Each time i eat it,he thinks i’m eating a piece of paper. And when i asked him to try some,he just stuck his nose up in the air and replied,” French people never eat anything that couldn’t pair with wine!”So i tried and tried,but no matter it’s a red or a white,it seems to just bring the “fishiness” or “sea stink”out of laver instead of its deliciousness. Is it really an impossible food to pair with wine? Or is our relationship unable to overcome our cultural differences?
-A frustrated girl that desperately needs your help

Help out this reader with your comments below!


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14 Responses to “Reader mail meets impossible food wine pairings: nori!”

  1. If it has a brinyness to it, try a Manzanilla Sherry or a Muscadet de Sevre et Maine.

  2. I’d look to Spain & Portugal for my wine choices. Something like a fino sherry or Albarino/Vinho Verde.

  3. Fino Sherry! or maybe a Fondillon from Alicante!

  4. Brogie62 – I like your style. Those were my first thoughts, of course, if you HAD to pair nori with wine that is because your relationship depended on it…

    On the whole though, it is an austere pairing, really approaching impossible. Much more fun to add some rice and raw fish since then so many more food pairings open up.

  5. You asked two questions, the first of which was whether laver was possible to pair with wine. If I were searching for a wine to impress your boyfriend, I’d try a Chablis. Chablis is typically made from chardonnay grapes, but it tends to be less fruity and more minerally than the California chards. Most often, people think about pairing Chablis with oysters andI think the laver has a similar taste profile. Moreover, the fact that the wine comes from his home country should win you points.

    You could also try a sparkling wine (Champagne if you’re looking for brownie points, though a decent cava will be far less expensive) because the bubbles have a wonderful palate cleansing effect (incidentally, also very good with oysters and caviar too).

    Now I see that no one has adressed the final question that you asked, whether your relationship will be unable to overcome cultural differences. Sadly I must tell you that the signs don’t look good. If your boyfriend doesn’t like the laver, that’s one thing. However, his unwillingness to even try it (with or without a suitable wine pairing) indicates that he is closed off to expanding his cultural horizons. My advice, buy a nice wine, dump the beau, and find someone else who is willing to learn about you AND your culture.

    P.S. — imagine trying to pair a wine with nang myun or sam gae tang…that would be interesting.

  6. so this is becoming my go to answer, but…picpoul de pinet, all the way!

  7. […] Reader mail meets impossible food wine pairings: nori! Hint: It has something to do with dried & seasoned seaweed, and a French boyfriend. […]

  8. hello everyone, I’m the girl who sent the mail to DR. VINO,and I really didn’t expect to get the responds so fast! Thank you for your suggestions, thank DR. VINO, thank everyone! Corey, I like your advice about my 2nd question,but I’ve already tried Chablis or sparkling– they didn’t work– though they seem to go well with my “kimuchi”. Sherry,umm~ I’ve never had them before, actually i’ve never had any spanish wine, gonna try them this week.Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sounds like a good choice too! And I heard that picpoul de pinet is a very good summer wine, but will it be too crispy and watery for Korean nori? Because nori is not an usual seafood, it’s more salty&strong flavored,with a hint of sesame oil. Besides korean people like cold weather, “warm” or “massive” wines always pair better with our food.

    Anyway, you’ve opened my mind, and I think I’ve got more choices now. Thank you all again!

  9. Old demi-sec Vouvray or other Chennin!

  10. Dr Vino and our love sick Girl,

    Wow it never ceases to amaze me at how over the top the French pride in their wine can go. Love not French wine is what is important here.

    If I am not too late then here it goes. Challenge your “Einstein” to come up with a Champagne that will match your “paper” treats without enhancing their “Chicken of the Sea” vapor trail.

    If this man is a true Frenchmen, he should have the knowledge to pair a champagne with your “paper” no?

    In my opinion, you might just want to change countries and try an Italian. . .


  11. He is French, no? Sure great wine come out of France but so does the quick surrender. Tell him that he should stick with what he is good at, give up, and try the laver already.

  12. Didi, would it be completely verboten to suggest pairing a beer with the laver (err…hope you’re ok with that too Dr. Vino)? Was thinking about this today…as much as I like wine, I must admit that some foods — hot dogs, most Mexican, laver(?) — just seem to go better with beer.

    And just to keep things culturally kosher, I think you should pair it with OB or Hite.

    Best of luck!

  13. Since laver is similar to nori and nori can be found in Japan, go with a Japanese wine – Saki. O.K. it’s rice wine and may open up a whole different debate on whether Saki is indeed wine or not. But whatever. It seems to be a good loophole in the ‘pair with wine’ scenario since he did not specify what the wine needed to be made from. Just be sure to find a good quality Saki that can be served chilled not warmed and call it a match made in – France?

  14. Two answers come to mind for me – Gruener Veltliner often has herbal, briny notes to it for me and it seems like acid is a good counterbalance to briniess…think banana peppers and tomato sauce. The other choice, I think, is almost so obvious it’s off the radar…Riesling Kabinett from Germany or Alsatian Riesling. I know I’m late to the party by several years, but there’s my zwei pfennig’s worth.


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