kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Swirl, Sniff and Sip Your Zen

Recognizing that Asian flavors can be a bit tricky to pair with wine, and realizing that having custom bottles adds a personal flair to a wine list, DC's OYA Restaurant & Lounge recently launched a custom line of ‘house' wines. Director of Wine Marketing & Sommelier, Andrew Stover, spearheaded the project, which includes 3 wines, appropriately named YIN (red), YANG (white) and YINYANG (rosé) after the ancient Chinese concept of opposing yet complementary phenomenon.

"The idea behind the project was simple. We wanted to create the ultimate food-friendly wines for our cuisine," says Stover, who admits that the sushi rolls in particular can be a bit tough to match with wine.

Stover worked with Stuart Cellars of Temecula, California to create YIN, a silky blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah and Merlot. In June 2008, Stover traveled to Stuart Cellars in Temecula to meet with winemaker/owner Marshall Stuart, who creates red wines of incredible depth and finesse. "We literally used test tubes and beakers to create the final blend from separate lots of different varietal wines," says Stover.

For YANG, Stover reached out to Jennifer McCloud of Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, Virginia to create a white worthy of pairing with sushi. "We blended various lots of Chardonnay and Vidal Blanc in order to create a white similar to those found in Spain-with lots of vibrant acidity, which is crucial for pairing with seafood." YANG will be available in April 2009.

For YINYANG, Stover collaborated with Darcy Pendergrass of Amity Vineyards. During a visit to OYA in June 2008, Darcy fell in love with a Pinot Grigio Rosé from Italy, which was featured on the wine list. "We need to make one of these," said Pendergrass. And thus the idea for YINGYANG Rosé was born. YINYANG is a blend of Pinot Gris (Grigio) and Dolcetto and will be available for the summer of 2009. Due to the small case production of YINYANG, the wine will only be available at OYA Restaurant or via the Amity Vineyards Tasting Room in Amity, Oregon.

YIN and YANG are currently available at both OYA and its sister restaurant SEI. Guests can also purchase YIN at the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop at 919 F Street NW in Washington, DC.