Pairing Wine with Chinese Food; Orient and Occident in Harmony

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Pairing Wine with Chinese Food; Orient and Occident in Harmony

Once preposterous to some, it is now virtually general knowledge that good wine definitely does go well with Chinese food; the trick lies in choosing the right wine.

Cracking open a bottle of your favourite dark red and sipping it along with spicy fried chicken is a mistake (hopefully) only made once. Happily, and especially for us women at the Chinese dinner table, no longer must we choose from corn juice, watery beer, baijiu or a vinegary version of “vintage” Chinese red. These days,  good wine; red, white or pink is abundant and affordable. Learn to select which wines go with which Chinese dishes and we can have a very enjoyable and delicious dining experience.

Understandably, the process is “an acquired taste”; The Nanjinger teamed up with Galia Rautenberg (WeChat ID: Galia999), Co-owner of De’Vine wine shop onMochoulu, who says, “There might some flavours that are more challenging to pair with wine, [but] Chinese cuisine is so diverse and can be paired with many styles of wines from around the world”. 

If new to Nanjing, please note that most restaurants will not provide wine cooling buckets nor ice and you will be hard pressed to find a cork screw, so bring your own or opt for screw top, such as the Sacred Hill pictured.

Spicy:

“Gongbao Jiding” (Kungpao Chicken); “Lazi Ji” (Fried Chicken); “Mapo Doufu” (Mapo Toufu); “Ganguo” (Dry Stirfried Toufu)

Wine Suggestions:

De Bortoli Sacred Hill Pink Moscato, Australia, 2017; served ice cold (8% vol). A frizzante pink wine with freshly crushed grapes aromas, sweet strawberry and musk. Crisp and refreshing. Smart buy for the sweet Moscato fans.

Domaine de Montfaucon Viognier, Rhone Valley, France, 2016 (13% vol). Fresh pear, apricot, white peach aromas with mineral notes. Refreshing acidity and good balance. Good choice for the upcoming summer.

Sweet and Sour:

“Tangcu Paigu” (Pork Ribs); “Gulaorou” (Pork with Pineapple); “Tangcu Guiyu” (Sweet & Sour Trout)

Wine Suggestion:

Villa Yustina Blanc Dry White, Thracian Valley, Bulgaria, 2014 (12.5% vol). Bright golden colour, with grassy undertones. Intense nose of honey, citrus aromas, lime, icing sugar and wet stones. Well balanced with lively acidity and mild fruity aftertaste.

Umami:

“Pa Mogu” (Braised Mushrooms); “Mu’er” (Cold Black Fungi starter); “Yuxiang Eggplant” (Eggplant with Fish Sauce); Beijing Kaoya (Roast Duck)

Wine Suggestion:

Six Foot Six Pinot Noir, Geelong, Australia, 2017 (12.5% vol). Exotic and perfumed, with dark cherry and clove spiced raspberry jam notes; the palate shows bright red berry fruits mixed with smokey, savoury nuances.

Rich & Meaty:

“Tudou Shao Niurou” (Stewed Beef & Potato); “Hongshao Rou” (Braised Pork with Dark Sticky Sauce); “Baicai Chaorou” (Stir-fried Cabbage with Pork); “Mongu Yangrou” (BBQ Spiced Cumin lamb)

Wine Suggestions:

Silver Heights The Last Warrior Red Blend, Ningxia, China, 2015 (14% vol). A Bordeaux style red blend that flaunts fresh, ripe aromas of dark fruits with a lingering and smooth finish.

Contessa Chiara Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy, 2014 (14% vol). Deep ruby colour, full body wine. Bold and fruity with dark cherries, plum and dark chocolate notes. Silky tannins and long finish.

Stir-fried Vegetables:

“Suanrong Bocai” (Garlic Spinach); “Suanrong Xilanhua” (Garlic Broccoli); “Xihongshi Jielancai” (Tomato & Garlic Kale); “Huayecai” (Cauliflower)

Wine Suggestion:

Domaine Constant – Duoquesnoy Les Rizannes, Cotes du Rhone AOC, France, 2017 (13% vol). A South Rhone blend, light bodied with citrus, honeysuckle and mineral aromas. Well balanced and round, this is a wine of great value.

Chinese Appetizers (Cold):

“Huanggua” (Cucumber); “Tangcu Yanyu” (Sweet & Sour Smoked Fish); “Haizhi” (Jellyfish); Leng “Niurou” (Roast Beef)

Wine Suggestion:

Vignerons des Pierres Dorees Beuajolais Terra Iconia, AOP Beaujolais, France, 2017 (12.5% vol). Light body with strawberries, raspberries and bubble gum aromas. Very refreshing with low tannins and bright acidity. Can be served chilled.

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Renée Gray Beaumont
As an Australian journalist living in Nanjing for many years, Renée Gray Beaumont has a background in research, print and online publishing, taking great pleasure in discovering more about Nanjing with every article. 作为在南京居住多年的澳大利亚新闻工作者,Renee Gray Beaumont 有着调研以及印刷品和线上出版物的工作背景。她总是乐于在每篇文章里发现关于南京的内容。