Pairings: Korean-style ribs an indulgent match for pinot

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Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard Pinot Noir ($70), our Wine of the Week, is a stage stealer. Showy, regal, generous and a tad daring, it shines like an opera diva giving a command performance.

What sets this wine apart from others in its category is a surprising and refreshing burst of orange zest tucked amid all the red fruit you would expect from this varietal, including a beguiling spritz of pomegranate.

You’ll notice hints of cool topsoil, too, and just the slightest whisper of minerality.

Because of the wine’s beautiful acidity and subtle fruit, good matches are infinite, or nearly so. Roasted root vegetables, slow-cooked winter greens, baked sweet potatoes, spaghetti squash, polenta with winter squash and classic spaghetti carbonara are all perfect partners.

Rare rack of lamb with potato or sweet potato is an outstanding match, too. You’ll enjoy this wine with roast turkey, pork roast and prime rib as well.

For today’s recipe, I’m going nontraditional, to a favorite and easy dish that mirrors the wine’s earthy complexity. Be sure to ask your butcher for “Korean cut” ribs.

To round out the meal, begin with a simple sweet potato soup and serve the ribs with barley instead of the traditional white rice, plus a mound of chard or kale sautéed with diced pancetta. For dessert? A peeled orange, of course.

Korean-style Barbecued Ribs

Makes 4 servings

— Korean Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)

2 pounds beef ribs, Korean cut

— Kosher salt

3-4 green onions, cut in 2-inch lengths and julienned

1 piece, 1-inch-by-2-inches, orange peel, cut into very thin julienne

First, make the barbecue sauce. Set it aside.

Set the ribs on a work surface and season all over with salt. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Put the ribs in a large plastic freezer bag, add two-thirds of the barbecue sauce and seal the bag, pressing out the air as you close it. Massage the bag to thoroughly coat the meat in the sauce.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for as long as 8 hours.

To cook, prepare a fire in an outdoor grill or heat a gas grill.

Grill the ribs just long enough to thoroughly sear them on both sides, about 90 seconds per side.

Set the cooked ribs on a platter, slather with the remaining barbecue sauce, scatter the green onions and orange peel on top and enjoy right away.

Korean Barbecue Sauce

Makes 2 cups

1 cup soy sauce, plus more to taste

1/2 cup palm sugar or granulated sugar, plus more or less to taste

3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

8 green onions, minced

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated

4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Pour the soy sauce into a saucepan, add the sugar, set over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Taste and correct the sweet-salt balance. Stir in the garlic, onions, ginger, sesame oil and sesame seeds, remove from the heat and cool. Use immediately or cool, pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at

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