Chinese New Year - Year of The Tiger!
Our Top Picks for Chinese Food & Wine Pairing
Firstly Xīnnián hǎo, Happy New Year! Chinese food can be a tricky pairing, it’s not as straight forward as you think. Unlike a lot of European food cultures, China doesn’t have a long history of wine, in many countries like Spain, Italy & France the food and wine culture evolved alongside each other. This makes food & wine matching easy as some wines are literally made to go with certain dishes.
Let’s not forget how diverse and varied Chinese cuisine is, with many regions having their own styles, flavours, ingredients and specialities. There’s said to be eight major regions famous for its food. We found it a rewarding challenge and a tad tricky to do but here are our four favourite cuisines, each with a wine pairing.
Cantonese Cuisine - dishes are typically mild in flavour using fresh ingredients in season. Notable dishes include ‘White Cut Chicken’ which will work perfectly with Le vigne di eli Etna Bianco – a rich, textured and complex wine, lots of weight to match up with the texture of the chicken and plenty of stoned fruits to break up the dish. Le vigne di eli Etna Bianco 2020 £25
Hunan cuisine - Known for big, bold flavours and plenty of spice. This spice-loving province needs the most consideration with all the bold flavours. Not many wines will be able to match up and compliment but Riesling does the job perfectly. We’ve gone for Stein, a Riesling producer from the Mosel – a region in Germany famous for making some of the best Riesling in the world. It’s dry, but incredibly ripe and concentrated which works well with the spice and you’ll keep going back for the flavours of honeycomb, ginger and fresh lemon peel.
Shandong / Lu Cuisine - A lot of sweet & sour flavours are used but we really loved a Shandong Beef dish that we had recently with Bok Choy. A great pairing with this would be a well-made Beaujolais. We’ve gone for the first release from Tyler & Davey by winemaker and sommelier Guy Palmer-Brown. It’s a Beaujolais Village made in the Le Grappin cellars based in Beaune, aged in Dujac barrels. It’s a fresh, well structured bojo with elegant, concentrated tart red cherries. Tyler & Davey Beaujolais Villages 2020 £29
Jiangsu Su Cuisine – Famous for authentic Chinese dishes, umami rich dishes that are mild in flavour. A great dish you could try is Pork Trotter 'Jiangsu Style’, very delicious and packed full of flavour, however other cuts of pork would suit well too. For this pairing we’re heading to Northern Italy in the Alto Adige region, famous for it’s German & Austrian influence with food, wine and culture. We picked the Cantina Valle Isarco made from the Kerner grape – a rare indigenous grape. This is a zippy wine that blind you might confuse for an Alsace wine, making it perfect with pork dishes and especially offal. Cantina Valle Isarco Kerner 2019 £18
All of these brilliant bottles are available from our shop Bottles 'N' Jars in East Finchley or here on our online shop!
Pit Stop Friday, join us every Friday from 4pm as we crack open something delicious to share with you all. Come stroll around the shop, we'll talk you through what we've picked out and why. It's a great way to try something you may not have tried before and we will be pouring till its gone.
Illustration by the brilliant Lily Jane Jackman