The other week my friends were raving about a recent visit to Huynh, the Vietnamese restaurant on the other side of Highway 59 from downtown with the crowd-pleasing BYOB policy. I do like the place, myself. My dinner club feasted there a couple of summers ago for a comparable pittance. An added draw, in addition to the quality of the cooking and its surprising inexpensiveness, is the fact that you can bring bottles of wine (and beer) into the restaurant for a very small charge per person. The two terrific Thai restaurants, Vieng Thai and Kanomwan have similar diner-friendly BYOB policies.
A wine I had the other day should work well for most visits – and likely most dishes – to each of these three restaurants. It is the Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2011 from Washington.
Riesling is the great underappreciated varietal that can be an excellent food wine, especially the German and French versions. This New World version from a winery known for its excellent values does admirable duty with piquant and even spicy food. It is dry, though not bone dry, and its slight sweetness along with decent acidity will do well with a range of Vietnamese and Thai preparations. At 12% alcohol, it is also easy to drink.
I imagine most non-Riesling drinkers will enjoy the wine when it has been pulled straight from the refrigerator and the apricot, peach and tangerine flavors I found are somewhat muted. For those whose white wine consumption consists solely of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinto Grigio, Riesling might be a little too different. With food, especially of Southeast Asian heritage, the typical Riesling flavors found in this wine will likely be amendable to most palates. “This is an incredibly versatile food wine” according to the winemaker.