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FOOD PAIRING:

Wines for Chinese New Year

Wines to have with Char Sui Pork

Year of the Wood Dragon

2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon; a creature that holds significance as majestic and powerful, unparalleled in talent and excellence. Symbolising power, nobility, luck and success in Chinese culture, 2024 is forecasted to be about opportunities, changes and challenges.

Xīnnián hǎo 新年好

We love any excuse to gather family and friends together and share a meal. Chinese New Year is the perfect reason for creating a Chinese banquet with fabulous wines to match. As with any festival, certain dishes are symbolic: dumplings and spring rolls signify wealth; hearty bowls of noodles represent a long life and happiness, and sweet rice balls are a traditional treat that symbolises family togetherness.

These are some of our favourite family dishes with the wines to bring the dishes to life and truly make for a fantastic New Year’s feast, updated for the Year of the Dragon!

All the wines listed below can be purchased here

Lunar New Year 2024

Szechaun Stir-Fried Greens

Recipe Inspiration: Stir Fried Greens
Credit: diversivore.com

Sweet, sharp, fiery and garlicky, this dish is brilliant solo or accompanying the dishes below. Whilst Riesling might split a room, that’s more to do with the sweetness level of the wine than the actual variety. The 2021 Riesling ‘Marnes et Calcaires’ Cave de Turckheim, Alsace is an aromatic white offering notes of citrus to temper the chili, with a lovely silky viscosity for the mouthfeel. The racy acidity allays any fears about sweetness and an abundance of fruit makes this an excellent partner to the Firecracker sauce.  However, you like your Riesling with a little residual sugar, try the superb 2021 Juliet Riesling from Two Rivers in Marlborough; the acidity, texture and minerality of this wine interplay harmoniously. This super textural Riesling offers lovely weight with an elegant finish, offering a hint of sweetness that lingers without being cloying, and is very moorish!

Sweet and Sour Prawns, Cantonese Style

Recipe Inspiration: Sweet & Sour Prawns (Hong Kong Style)
Credit: mymorningmocha.com

the sweet tangy sauce and crunchy battered covered Prawns are always massively popular. Given the viscosity of the sauce and its sweet/sour nature, we reach for Rosé: wines that are structured, refreshing and plentiful: with the acidity of the wine complementing rather than competing with the acidity of the sauce. This is a bold dish is worthy of full flavoured wines; try the 2022 Coterie Cinsault Rosé by Wildeberg or from the Côtes de Provence, Domaine de Rimauresq Cru Classé Rosé 2021.

Wontons

Recipe Inspiration: Fried Wontons
Credit: bakedbree.com

These delicious parcels have the shape that is based on the Chinese silver ingot and they are believed to bring wealth and treasure to those who eat them. Unsurprisingly they are rather popular come New Year! Often stuffed with pork and shrimp, traditionally they are served boiled in broth or served in soup, but we particularly enjoy them fried crispy and served with Sauvignon Blanc, for an fresh old world version offering intense mineral and citrus notes, try 2022 Sancerre Blanc, Terre de Maimbray, Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy for a really lovely treat. If you prefer your Sauvignon a little more fruit forward, but still vibrant, it’s hard to beat Sileni Estates 2020 The Straits Grand Reserve Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough….deeeelicious!

Beef & Mushroom in Oyster Sauce

Recipe Inspiration: Beef, Mushroom, Ginger & Oyster Sauce Stir-fry
Credit: marionskitchen.com

Gamay reds are brilliant for matching Chinese cuisine, their low tannins, bright acidity, along with earthy, fruity flavours complement the spice and weight brilliantly. We love pairing the Beaujolais Cru, 2020 Saint-Amour, Le Cru des Amoureux, Château de Belleverne, Beaujolais with this dish. The quality of the Saint-Amour cru is a worthy match for beef, whilst the general silky, earthy notes harmonise with the mushrooms and oyster sauce. For a lighter match, go for 2021 Chiroubles Cuvee SB from Domaine La Chapelle de Bizot full of crunchy bright red fruit and a lovely savoury element that will pair beautifully.

Chinese Char Siu Pork Ribs

Recipe Inspiration: BBQ Pork Ribs Cha Siu
Credit: thewoksoflife.com

Pork marinated in a tangy sweet and smoky sauce, then charred. Packing a huge amount of flavour. Pairing with a red grape with lower tannins and lots of flavour such as Grenache is an absolute winner. The 2019 The Songlines Grenache, Smalltown Vineyards from the Barossa Valley offers juicy, spicy red and dark fruit and soft tannins, where you can practically smell the sunshine in the glass. Grenache is probably the most versatile grape variety for pairing with Chinese cuisine. For an intense, complex Rhône, the 2019 Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages ‘La Côte Sauvage’ is a seriously Grenache dominated blend. The sweetness of the concentrated fruit and savoury, gamey character of the wine with be a heavenly pairing with the charred Pork.

Chicken Chow Mein
(鸡肉炒面)

Recipe Inspiration: Chicken Chow Mein 
Credit: omnivorescookbook.com

Stir-fried noodles with slippery chicken, crunchy beansprouts, gutsy garlic, ginger, rice vinegar and soy sauce create a massively flavoursome dish with a salty intensity that needs balancing. Viognier is our absolute favourite grape to pair here: offering vibrant acidity to cut through the greasiness of the dish, whilst the lush exotic fruit balances out of the saltiness. With aromatics of sweet, floral apricot and white peach, the grapes vibrant gooseberry fruit on the palate works brilliantly; try either 2023 Adobe Reserva Viognier from Emiliana in the Casablanca Valley or California’s Cline Cellars 2021 North Coast Viognier, both wines are wonderful companions.

Crispy Aromatic Duck

Recipe Inspiration: Whole Crispy Aromatic Duck
Credit: gressinghamduck.co.uk

In our house, this is traditional Christmas Eve fare, a real treat that everybody devours! This indulgent dish of five-spice marinated duck where the flesh is tender and the skin is crispy, combined with clean cucumber, hot spring onion and tangy hoisin sauce, matches brilliantly with bubbles. Without doubt, it’s a celebratory kind of dish and it seems only fitting to be welcoming in the New Year than with some bubbles! Traditionally crafted, top-quality Sparkling wines are a great pairing for such an iconic dish: the freshness of the fizz cuts through the richness of the duck and emphasizing the complexities of the dish. We love pairing this with Rosé; Mayerling Brut Rosé N.V., Crémant d’Alsace Rosé from Cave de Turckheim is 100% Pinot Noir and offers subtle scents of raspberries and cranberries laced with cream, with a dry, refreshing mouthfeel that pairs brilliantly with this dish, whilst Langham Wine Estate’s Rosé N.V. from Dorset with its bounty of red fruit flavours and crunchy cranberry notes which lingering on the finish is real indulgence and perfect for raising glass of to bring in the New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choy!

All the wines listed above can be purchased here

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