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Matching Wine with Chinese Food

This coming Friday marks the start of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Dog. If you're celebrating the occasion with a big Chinese dinner, don't forget the wine!

Wine experts and sommeliers often broadly sum up the Chinese food wine pairing experience (and pairing with any Asian cuisine, really) by suggesting an off-dry, aromatic white such as a Riesling or Gewürztraminer. This can be fine with some dishes, but certainly doesn't cover the vast range of flavors and sensations found in Chinese cooking. I asked Tasting Room's resident wine expert, Jennifer Ingellis, to break it down further and recommend wine matches depending on the flavor. Here are her suggestions.

Soy sauce-based dishes like fried rice and lo mein call for a full-bodied Grenache or Syrah to tame the salt.

Sweet and sour
If the dish is both both sweet and sour, complement it with an aromatic Gewürztraminer or Torrontés.

Sichuan-style dishes that turn up the heat require a sparkling wine or off-dry Riesling to cut through the spice.

Many Chinese dishes feature earthy ingredients such as duck, black beans or mushroom. Pair these with an equally earthy Pinot Noir or Monastrell.

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