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Wine and Dine

This week: Korean

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Jang Mo Nim Restaurant

6320 N. Lincoln 773-509-0211

Gul Jun (panfried oysters) 1,2

$10.95

Hae Mool Pa Jun (squid-and-scallion pancake) 3,4

$9.95

Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop (rice, beef, and spinach topped with an egg and semispicy bean paste) 2,4

$8.95

Yum So Bo Kum (barbecued goat with sesame leaf, dropwort, and vegetables) 5

$14.95

Hae Mul Jun Gol (seafood and vegetable casserole) 1,2,3

$13.95

Bulgogi (barbecued sliced marinated beef) 5,6

$13.95

Mother and daughter Sun Pak and Sue Hyun have run this Korean dining room for 14 years, Pak cooking with a passion and the personable Hyun expediting service. Each order is accompanied by a vast selection of panchan, small plates of pickled vegetables and other savory nibbles. Most dishes have a good dose of spice, either from the red chili paste used in many of the dipping sauces or from dried, flaked red chilies added to broth. The heat calls for wines that have body, character, and acidity but not overly aggressive flavors or strong tannins, which tend to scour away a dish's milder flavors and enhance more powerful ones. The consulting expert on this trip was Oz Clarke, author of Oz Clarke's New Wine Atlas and columnist for Wine Enthusiast magazine.

1. 2001 Hugues Beaulieu Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul de Pinet (France), $5.99. The picpoul grape, indigenous to the south of France and more commonly used in Armagnac and cognac, is a classic complement to raw oysters, so it works well with the barely cooked gul jun. A lemony essence and dry finish make this wine refreshing, and it's often described as a more neutral version of sauvignon blanc (without the grassy notes). The grape's warm growing area allows it to ripen fully, resulting in a full-bodied beverage with high acidity. The salty black beans and sharp ginger that top the oysters mellow when consumed with this wine; adding a squeeze of lemon to the dish will play up the wine's citrus element. That element also cools the spicy hae mul jun gol, which combines cod, shrimp, giant clam, squid, and crab with pungent green onion and radish (along with mushrooms, carrots, and bean curd) in a chili-spiked broth. (Wine Discount Center)

2. Vinicola Hidalgo Manzanilla "La Gitana" (Spain), $8.99-$10.49. Manzanillas are the lightest and driest of wines produced in the Spanish region of Jerez, more widely known as Sherry. Most sherries are made primarily from the palomino fino grape, which grows in the chalky white soil on the southwest coast of Spain, and aged using the solera system: casks are stored in the sun, and younger wines are blended with progressively older wines to achieve uniform character, quality, and complexity. Served chilled, this sherry is fresh and clean, with green apple on the nose, flavors of almonds, pecans, and caramel, and a mildly salty finish. Traditionally sherry matches well with seafood, especially oysters; the soy in the gul jun's dipping sauce complements the drink's saline finish. Its briny odor makes it a good match to the hae mul jun gol as well. (Binny's, Sam's, Wine Discount Center)

3. 2002 Villa Maria Private Bin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand), $9.99-$17.45. This crisp white--bursting with flavors of passion fruit and tart apple--is a blend of grapes from the Wairau and Awatere valleys, where a warmer-than-average year let the fruit mature to its full flavor. The wine softens the starchiness of the pancake while bringing out the subtle flavor of the squid; it's even got enough body to stand up to the red chili paste in the dipping sauce. Paired with the seafood stew, it acts as a palate cleanser, toning down the heat and preparing you for the next spicy bite. (Binny's, Howard's, Sam's, Wine Discount Center)

4. 2001 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone (France), $10.99-$12.99. This blend of white Rhone varietals marsanne and roussanne has a lingering silkiness and a spicy floral perfume characteristic of wines from the south of France: it includes hints of lavender, violets, and roses, plus figs and apricots. The wine also has a yeasty quality, which works nicely with the starch in the seafood pancake and with the rice that accompanies the dol sot bi bim bop; the dusty, earthy nature of the chili paste in the pancake's dipping sauce brings out the freshness and brightness of the wine, which also cools down the bean paste in the bi bim bop. (Binny's, Sam's)

5. 2000 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve (France), $8.99. This dark ruby red grenache-based southern Rhone wine is syrupy and full of rich raspberry and blueberry notes. It's also got hints of thyme, bay leaf, lavender, and pepper, giving it a full body that more than stands up to the gaminess of the yum so bo kum; in fact, goat meat (and goat cheese) are commonly paired with local wines in the Rhone Valley itself, where the animals graze on herbs such as lavender and bay. The wine's intensity counteracts the bitterness of the dropwort, a stringy green used frequently in Korean cuisine. The rich fruit and moderate acidity also make it a match for the beef in the bulgogi, which is tender and mildly sweet due to the marinade. (Binny's, Sam's, Wine Discount Center)

6. 2000 Trumpeter Merlot Tupungato (Argentina), $6.99. This Bordeaux varietal hails from one of the oldest family-run wineries in Argentina. The vineyard is set in the high-altitude region of Tupungato, in the Andes Mountains, where cool evening temperatures create highly concentrated wines. First on the nose is the aroma of ripe berries, followed by hints of coffee and oak. Well-integrated tannins give a soft finish, which complements the bulgogi's tenderness and its mild sweetness. It's apparent from the wine's aroma that the producer made careful use of good oak barrels. (Wine Discount Center)

Binny's Beverage Depot 3000 N. Clark, 773-935-9400

Howard's Wine Cellar 1244 W. Belmont, 773-248-3766

Sam's 1720 N. Marcey, 312-664-4394

Wine Discount Center 1826 N. Elston, 773-489-3454

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