We are back at it, looking at our Caribbean kitchen, focusing on what we love to eat, and deciding what wines work best when paired with them. Today, we are pairing wine with Mango Sour.
What is Mango Sour?
My friends, mango sour is the Caribbean condiment you put on everything! Ok, well, maybe not everything, but for sure pholourie, potato balls, and fish cake. It is so delicious that I literally drown my pholourie in mango sour; literally dripping of mango sour.
So, when you think you are pairing wine with the pholourie... umm... not really. It is that heaping serving of mango sour that you are pairing, with some consideration to the texture of the pholourie.
Ok, so what is Mango Sour. It is a mixture of mango (you probably guessed that), onion, thyme, garlic, vinegar, wiri wiri pepper, a little bit of sugar, and other spices to taste. After the mango comes to a boil, you mash it or blend it to reduce the consistency to a paste.
The flavour profile of mango sour is the perfectly packaged sweet and sour combo with a drive of umami from Caribbean spices. Simply the best of everything in one condiment.
Below are the wines I selected for this mango sour and wine pairing experiment. These wines were chosen based on structure and overall makeup, but even with thoughtful consideration, there were still some surprises!
Late Harvest Riesling
Why this wine - I selected a Riesling of this kind because of its acidity and residual sugar. It's got enough sugars to play with the spice in the sour and enough acidity to make it a great food wine.
The result - the wine's mineral notes really shot to the front of the stage in this food and wine pairing. Strong tropical notes on the sour also sung. This pairing was ok, but the aggressive mineral push made things a little unbalanced for me.
Rosé from Nebbiolo
Why this wine - I picked a rosé because it can be served chilled, which may be a benefit to pairing with the pepper in the sour, also the Nebbiolo grape is adorned with skilled red fruit that I know for a fact gets enhanced in a pairing like this.
The result - this pairing worked. The red fruit was enhanced as expected, and it was pleasant.
Natural White Blend
Why this wine - I simply picked this wine because of my affinity for well-made natural wines and food. A word of warning, however, when using natural wine in a pairing, you do have to know your wine's makeup (structure, how it progresses over time, etc.) before attempting.
The blend in the natural white wine that I used for the mango sour pairing was 50% Verdejo and 50% Grillo.
The result - The natural wine became slightly candied on the palate, but that was it. There were no other transformative moments. While this pairing was ok, it would not be my first choice.
Why this wine - this is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, and some Syrah, from Southern France.
Carignan and Grenache are both medium-bodied reds, which is a safe bet when doing a pairing like this. Carignan also pulls up with medium+ acidity, so I am counting on it to do some work here. Moreover, this wine comes with 14.5% alcohol, meaning the fruit will appear riper on the palate, and the sense of sugar is heightened.
The result - THE WINNING MATCH!
The spiced notes in the wine and the spice in the mango sour created an astounding congruent pairing. It was like a mashup of peppercorn and red and black berries on the palate. Just so many levels of joyful complexity to break down.
This was not the pairing I pegged to win, but that goes to show that when you find commonality in two different dimensions of your food and wine pairing it can produce a wow moment. I'll raise a glass to that!
Are you interested in trying to make mango sour yourself? Check out this Guyanese recipe.