Chinese New Year Wine Pairings

What to drink with a new-year feast


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Dumplings are a traditional element in a Chinese New Year’s feast, not to mention a staple on most restaurant menus. The combination of garlic, ginger and soy that one typically encounters in dumplings can make them tricky to pair with wine. This is a great spot for an off-dry sparkling wine. A sparkling Gewürztraminer (there are some out there) or a Cremant d’Alsace that may include some spice in the blend would be ideal, but even an excellent Moscato d’Asti or Prosecco can be a fun match for unpretentious dumplings.

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  • Snooth User: tjgriffin
    601667 21

    Hi Gregory. Nice article as Chinese food is always a challenging cuisine to pair with wine. Couple of notes: Gewurztraminer is not allowed in the blend for a Cremant d'Alsace and Torrontes is misspelled. Keep up the good work!

    Jan 31, 2011 at 3:22 PM

  • Snooth User: PC2
    752573 1

    I'm from Grove Estate Wines in Young Australia. Tim Kirk makes our Shiraz Viognier. Any ideas on who I can speak to regarding importing to USA?

    Regards Brian Mullany

    Jan 31, 2011 at 7:04 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 4,942

    Some good combos here, Greg, but a few stretches. Afraid you lost me on the Lambrusco with lettuce wraps. What's wrong with a beer?

    And glad you recognized that NYC (or San Fran or....) Chinese is a different animal from Chinese across the Pacific. Would be fun to bring a large winelist to Canton and do some matchings there.

    Feb 01, 2011 at 2:11 AM

  • Prosecco was a surprising hit with Thai Food. In general Alsace wine goes well with Chinese in my experience, the added grapy flavours lift the combination. Gewurztraminer or prosecco for spicy food, or even off dry eg mosel. Bordeaux might just make it but seems a gamble to use a classed growth, unless host is showing off flamboyant wealth (?) - which is behaviour increasingly likely to denude us of .....classed growth bordeaux

    Feb 01, 2011 at 4:58 AM

  • Brian Mullany Thankyou for the Hilltops Semillon of 2008 and 2007 and 2006 wonderful golden liquid fondly remembered here in London. Am nursing last bottle of the 2006 Shiraz Viognier Grove Estate in my cellar as well. Divert any future shipments to London please

    Feb 01, 2011 at 5:01 AM

  • Snooth User: shermank
    614080 9

    Interesting article. During Chinese New Year banquet (or other Chinese festive), all the dishes are presented almost at the same time (I'm excluding the usual spicy dishes here) Usually, Australian Shiraz, NZ Saug Blanc or even South Africa Pinotage fair well with the combination; while Asti sparkling wine (Italian Brachetto or Australian sparkling Shiraz) will do well with the dessert (Chinee pastries). Oak flavored wine is not a good pairing choice.
    I'm putting together a handbook about wine pairing for the 8 main Chinese cruisines; thus, this is a helpful research material for me.

    Feb 01, 2011 at 12:11 PM

  • Aussie shiraz and chinese food SURELY YOU MEANT roast lamb! But I am keen to hear of suggested chinese dishes that would be lifted by shiraz.....

    The sauces are surely a minefield... Beef yes, but in black bean sauce? What goes well with Kung Po or sweet and sour? Noodles and lobster yes with chardonnay, but thats the lobster. What if noodles are spicy?

    Tea , hot green and cutting through the fats with tannins and heat, surely best with chinese food?

    Puzzled no one fancies Alsace eg pinot blancs, gewurz, with this cuisine

    Feb 02, 2011 at 5:42 AM

  • Snooth User: manan1
    1188025 24

    William Simpson and Sherman K are spot on.

    I am a Chinese ex restaurateur and lived in France for over 15 years. Grape wines are not a common part of Chinese cuisine. Tea and a lager type beer is universally drunk in China by most people at meals so why not do as the Chinese do? You can't go wrong.
    For banquets, hard grain liquor grain liquor (40 degrees proof or more) and yellow rice wine is served. Chinese food does not go with great bordeaux wines but does with great rice wines.

    If I prepare a banquet or buffet with more than 10 dishes for my western friends and need wine, I recommend to keep things very simple. Four wines I have found go well are an Alsace pinot blanc ( 1-3 yrs) and an Alsace pinot noir (1-3yrs) which have enough acidity and dryness to cut through the fat and spices of many dishes and clean the palate. For guests who prefer a bit more body an alsation gewurztraminer ( (1-5yrs regular is ok, no need for a v.t. or s.g.n. )plus an aged (4-7 yrs) red gigondas work well. Last week we had a 3 hour complex New Year banquet for 18 people; A vintage champagne opener (before serious eating started) was followed by a Gewurtz. and a Gigondas.
    For non drinkers and drivers, tea and sparkling mineral water were fine non alcoholic alternatives and in China you will commonly find watermelon or cucumber juice commonly available in restaurants. Everyone was happy with the choice.

    Feb 13, 2013 at 5:55 PM

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