Chinese cuisine tends to have three main characteristics particularly when the Chinese cuisine is paired with wine.
The main characteristics that can puzzle a person when pairing wine to Chinese food are sour, sweet, and spicy which are known as proud flavors. Due to these three prominent flavors, selection of wine with your Chinese meal can be little tricky.
With various Chinese cuisines, it is difficult to know which wine is best suited with which regional cuisine. You can adopt two main different approaches of pairing Chinese food and wine. This altogether depends upon your choice and mood of your meal. One approach is “similarity”, the other one is by “contrast”.
The “Similarity” approach means the heavier the food, the heavier the wine it should be. One such pairing can be Szechuan dishes which tends to be spicy can go with a very tannic Bordeaux or Languedoc red wine. This pair matches the astringency of the tannins with the spice of the food. An Australian Shiraz (red wine) with spicy aromas can also be an option for this pair.
In this pair, you should watch the alcohol level. High alcohol along with spicy dishes results in horrible burning sensations in the mouth, throat, and nose areas. The other way of the “Similarity” approach is the combination of lighter food with lighter wine such as Gewurztraminer or a Sauvignon Blanc with Cantonese dim sum. The Gewurztraminer has the Asian fruit aromas which often go with lighter Chinese food.
The “Contrast” is another approach pairing wine with spicy food. Gewurztraminers, Rieslings, or sweet wines like Muscat Baumes de Venise can also offer a good match to Hunan or Szechuan food. This combination is pairing sweet notes wine with spicy food. You can try a rather heavy but not spicy Beijing duck with a light Burgundy Pinot Noir.
Different types of wine that goes with Chinese food
Following are few combinations of make a pair of different types of wine with Chinese cuisine:
- Szechuan or Hunan cuisine (spicy dishes) goes with Gewürztraminer (White wine). Same cuisine goes with French Languedoc (Red wine) like Saint-Chinian or Corbieres and Muscat Baumes de Venise which are sweet wines.
- Shanghai cuisine (Sweet and Sour dishes which are rich) goes with Chardonnay (white wine). Same cuisine goes with red Bordeaux or Muscat Baumes de Venise (sweet red wine).
- Northern cuisine (starchy dishes) goes with burgundy such as Pinot Noir or a Merlot. With the same cuisine you can go for Chardonnay, Champagne or Sparkling (Cremant, Prosecco or Cava).
- Cantonese dishes go with Riesling (white wine), especially Johannesburg Riesling. With delicate seasoned Cantonese dishes, you can go for Chenin Blanc. You can try Gewurztraminer (white) wine with dim sum dishes.
Some people prefer to drink white wines with Asian dishes. If you are planning to have one full bottle of wine with different regional cuisines, you should go for Chardonnay white, fruity wine. You should not be too adventurous.
Links to buy online
Buying wine online from Internet websites is one of the great options. Here are a few links to buy online that will provide the details and various options to selecting and buying wine online:
Enjoy Chinese food and other foods of the world? Visit our other site, Recipes for the Family and enjoy the many different recipes and how to pair wine and food.