There are a number reasons I'm effectively "over" Los Angeles. It's mostly that I grew up forty-five minutes away and have only managed to ever get this far, and the constant grind of the ever-present "industry" has finally worn me down. But if there's one reason I love Los Angeles, and am hesitant to leave, it is because of the amazing wine and food community that is here. Not only because of how delicious it all is, but because of how complimentary they are and how they work together, even when the status quo says "NAH."
Night + Market has been one of the most innovative and important restaurants in Los Angeles not only for its incredible Thai street food, but for its integration of natural wines. Thai food by all 1990's Robert Parker standards was deemed notoriously "unpairable" with wine, and yeah, that makes sense. Big-ass Cabernets do not pair with much outside of big-ass steaks. But we don't eat that way anymore. Food is not governed by French classics, but by freshness and a certain litheness that emphasizes flavor without forcefulness. And Chef Kris Yenbamroong's graceful and creative yet commanding cuisine at Night + Market embodies all of that. But more importantly for our current subject, is that he recognized how well those same qualities in natural wines work with his food. His wine list is jam-packed full of natural wine fan favorites and straight up unicorns I've legit peed my pants a little over, each working with the entire span of a meal from Party Wings to Burmese curry to the Pad Thai you ordered for the sheltered one in the group (but it's so fucking good you can't believe you're about to say you love Pad Thai).
And the rest is a bit of history. No one questions whether wine pairs with Thai food anymore-- you order the spiciest thing on Night + Market Song's hot pink menu with a Clos Roche Blanche and you're in heaven. Or at least I am, as I am lucky enough to live walking distance (but far enough not to be too embarrassed to Postmates) from Night + Market Song.
So when Jill Bernheimer of Domaine LA told me that she and Kris Yenbamroong came together on a release with winemakers Thierry Puzelat and Pierre-O Bonhomme it made perfect sense. Because for me, great wine and great food have always gone hand in hand, but in a way, so do Jill and Kris. Each of them is a Los Angeles purveyor of the best god damn shit the worlds of wine and food have to offer, and it's not like you don't see them reveling in each other's respected work. It is not uncommon to find Kris at Domaine or Jill at Night + Market Song. It's the law of attraction: like attracts like. And I really, really like their release, "Golden Salope."
Essentially Night + Market's house wine, this Loire Pet-Nat is exclusively poured at the Night + Markets and sold exclusively by Domaine LA and is exclusively the Pet-Nat of all my Crispy Rice Salad dreams. No shit, I crave Night + Market's Crispy Rice Salad on the regular, and I can't think of anything that I would rather enjoy with it (or any of N+M's dishes) than this sparkling Chenin Blanc.
"Golden Salope" has a bouquet candied ginger, the glitzy sugared ones, dipped in honey with a side of basil and vased peonies across the table. Breezy but so damn classy, it is reminiscent of wafting, rich, and numbered perfume drifting on the wake into the sunset. It smells like I imagine it feels like to be hitting the high seas with Rihanna, like you're not entirely sure if you're qualified to be there and keep looking around for someone to tell you to fuck on outta here, but she keeps passing you blunts and complementing you on your bikini, and you've never felt more at home.
For how good it smells, it tastes that much better, like an aspirational best friend. Bubbly but not overwhelming, this Pet-Nat is the perfect tag-teamer whether you're crushing Thai food or breaking hearts. Bright and stunning acidity with plenty of green apples, savory pears and Sour Patch Kids powder, it's impossible not to drink the entire thing. It's as intoxicating as new friends named Rihanna, and Night + Market's food. You only want more.
But it hits another note. It's so fun, but it is also a grand gesture. This wine is a gift. While it is rousing in many ways, what I mostly take away from it is its ability to bring everything together. It is the outstretched arms welcoming you to the table of Kris Yenbamroong, but also the love of those around you. My obsession with wine comes partly from its ability to bring people together, and this is a wine you and those you love can congregate around. It is so versatile and delicious, and warm and infectious. I want dinner to last four more hours with this wine. It makes me miss the old times, and clamor for new ones. Clean but hearty, it is all that I want and all that I have, all at once.
This wine makes me feel golden and grateful, for life, love, and Los Angeles.
Tasting Notes: Please see above
Ross Test: PASS. BEST BUBBLES ROSS TEST IN RECENT MEMORY. LITERALLY DRANK EVERY DROP.